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Visor and Clié USB HotSync & Charger Cables Review
By Robert Zach
Brando just doesn't stop! His latest gadgets are USB HotSyncing and Charging cables - this time for the Handspring Visor and the Sony Clié series. These special cables have the appropriate clip-on ends for the two handheld devices. The other ends have gold-plated USB connectors.
Installation is identical to the Palm V cable I reviewed, simple and efficient - the software provides an emulated COM port.
As with the original Palm V cable, the green button launches a HotSync operation and houses a green LED that indicates the Palm is recharging. However, the original two red LEDs (that has indicated "TX" (transmit) and "RX" receive) are now gone. I must say I'm happy about this. I never did need them for "troubleshooting" - this thing just works! - and they make the "dongle" portion of the cable much smaller and compact. See my other review for a size comparison.
My mileage varied on charge length but on average I think you're looking at 3-4 hours to top off or freshen on a normal day. According to Brando, these cables require about 10 hours to fully charge a completely flat battery.
In the last review, the green charging indicator didn't work, this was not a problem with either of these two cables. This must have been an isolated manufacturing defect (Brando did offer to replace the original - but I didn't see the need).
I do however still have the same issues (and one is the the reason I say "I didn't see the need" above). The first issue is that the charge light does not indicate any status. It is green when charging...all the time. I would still like to see a light that would glow green when charging then turn off when complete - or indicate nothing then glow green when fully charged. The other issue I still have is in the driver software - when not using the cable every time HotSync starts up it remembers the last port selected and you get the "COM5 [in my case] unavailable" warning.
All in all, these type of cables are and extremely convenient, all-in-one, way to carry a HotSync cable and charger in a highly portable fashion. The Visor version, at $18.00 US, is an especially great value - a must have for travelers.
If you don't have one - get one!
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