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The Price:

  • $20

The Pros:

  • Easy to travel with
  • Charges using your computer's USB port
  • Requires no drivers
  • Syncs Fast


The Cons:

  • Cable Length is a little strange
  • Sparse Documentation


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*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms
HotLink USB Cable
By Davy Fields
12/31/2001


Overview
The LandWare HotLink USB Cable can both charge and HotSync a Palm m500 or m505 and HotSync an m125 on any computer with a USB port, Windows or Mac.

Installation
The HotLink USB cable comes in a small box, with no CD for drivers, and only brief instructions on the back. Of course, since this is simply a cable, it's pretty self-explanatory. To install, plug it into a computer's USB port. It's run with the USB drivers that come with Palm desktop, which come with all three of the Palm models supported. It's quick and simple.

Impressions
Quite frankly, this is going to be a short review, because it works great, and there's not too much to say. I plugged in the cable into my OS X computer (thank you Palm for finally making that), connected it to my m505, and pressed the sync button. It started almost immediately and successfully Hotsynced in what for me seemed to be a normal time. I've never had a problem syncing with my m505 using it's cradle and after a dozen trial syncs the cable always works too. I ran a few sample speed tests and I found it to be almost identical speed-wise. You remove the cable by pushing the connection joint forward then pulling it off.

So why get it, if it's so similar? Well, the main reason, of course, is for travel. Anyone who's ever had to take their Palm and it's cradle on a trip knows what a pain it is. Especially with Palm's new cradle design, consisting of a heavy cradle, a USB and a power cord, plus the power transformer, and you've got yourself a monster. This cable is, well, just a cable, so it's quite easy to pack and use. If you've ever had to go overseas, just sorting out your laptop's power can be a pain, so charging of the laptop or desktop itself is a welcome feature.

It charges at about the same rate as the normal Hotsync cradle, which can be a drain on a laptop's battery because it can take an hour or so. Fortunately, most laptops still power the USB port while they're sleeping so it's not an issue. Overall, this is a great product, and it's a Palming Roadwarrior's must-have.

I only had a few minor problems with the cable, but they're all outside the realm of what it's advertised to do. One, if you don't have a laptop, you can't charge it away from a computer. Of course, if you didn't have a computer, you wouldn't need to sync your Palm either, so it's kind of a moot point.

It doesn't charge while your computer is off, but that's the computer's fault for not powering USB either.

My final quibble is with the cable length. It's three feet, if you're wondering, but it seems like an odd length to me. It's too long to be easily used on an airline tray-table, or any small surface, because the cable might fall over the edge and drag the Palm with it. On a desk, the cable's too short for having all the way around the back of your computer to the front where you'd typically put your Palm. But, it's a minor issue in an otherwise great product.

Conclusion
So, if you travel, or if you find Palm's standard cradle to be a pain, get this. For twenty dollars, it's well worth the money, especially if you travel. The cable length problems are heavily outweighed by this products ease of use and capabilities. If you're shopping for a new way to HotSync, this is the method for you.

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Charges the same rate as the hotsync cradle ????

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 11:10:48 AM #
Are you sure about this ???? Lets see how many milli-amps the cradle delivers vs the USB port. That is the very negative side of cable like this in my opinion is their inability to deliver enough current and provide a reasonable charging rate.

RE: Charges the same rate as the hotsync cradle ????
dstrauss @ 12/31/2001 11:28:00 AM #
I've been using the cable a few weeks, and subjectively it seems to take a little longer than the hotsync cradle, but not a burden (using with a Toshiba 3480 ultralite). Anyway, I'd give it "two thumbs up" for convenience and usefulness.

RE: Charges the same rate as the hotsync cradle ????
Davy @ 12/31/2001 12:41:05 PM #
I've only had this cable a few days, but it only took me an hour with my cradle to charge it from 0% tp 100%, and with the cable it took about an hour and 15. I kept unplugging it to check, which may have hurt the time, but it was close.

-Davy Fields

Charging w/out a computer

PFloyd @ 12/31/2001 11:11:05 AM #
BTW, I saw an ad for a power-only USB car lighter adapter. I think it was pretty cheap. That would give auto users a place to charge using this cable.

RE: Charging w/out a computer
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/1/2002 3:44:03 PM #
Where did you see this ad that allows a USB plug to end up in a car lighter? Thanks.

RE: Charging w/out a computer
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/1/2002 8:53:53 PM #
RE: Charging w/out a computer
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/4/2002 10:38:17 AM #
Try www.expansys.com they do a cable + cigarette lighter + mains adapter for the cable.

I've got the similar one from Brando

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 11:28:07 AM #
and it is not charging at all. The charge current is too low to charge the PalmPilot.

RE: I've got the similar one from Brando
PFloyd @ 12/31/2001 1:50:33 PM #
The one I use is from Brando too. It seems to charge ok. I haven't totally tested it by draining my battery and then timing the recharge but when the battery is down to 50% or so and I hotsync, and leave it attached while I do other stuff the battery indicator has moved up quite a bit (perhaps 85%) and stays there when I detach the unit. My two cents is ask 'em to replace it.

Does it solve the m505 USB Problem?

antonboq @ 12/31/2001 11:33:16 AM #
Or does it provide a workaround?

RE: Does it solve the m505 USB Problem?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 12:05:23 PM #
No, my USB problems continue. A serial cable solves the problem.

www.expansys.com di the cable + connectors to connect it to the mains or a car (cigarette lighter)


the m125?

I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 2:15:31 PM #
How does it charge the m125 that uses AAA batteries?

RE: the m125?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 2:32:19 PM #
Elfin magic?

RE: the m125?
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/31/2001 2:35:24 PM #
it doesn't.

RE: the m125?
I.M. Anonymous @ 1/2/2002 7:15:53 PM #
You, you plug it in.. Fry your M125... admit you bought a piece of garbage, throw the m125 away, and go buy yourself a PocketPC!

I AM A TRRRROOLLLLLLLL!

TROLL! TROLL!!!!!!


same thing for a Vx?

I.M. Anonymous @ 1/12/2002 10:22:26 PM #
I'm looking for this exact product, but for the Vx, not the m505. Does anyone know of one of these -- a USB charger/hotsync cable for the Vx?

Thanks,
dan

RE: same thing for a Vx?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/4/2002 12:32:45 AM #
upgrade to a m500

RE: same thing for a Vx?
I.M. Anonymous @ 3/13/2002 3:04:29 AM #
This is what i asked myself too. As i visited New York recently i found a cable that fits into the Vx and has a USB end, but when i came home i could not syncronise with my Imac. I don't know what's wrong, for the cable fits correctly, but the Imac systemprofile does not mention the palmtop as one of the connected items (such as the printer or keyboard).
Because i live on the other end of the atlantic i cannot retrun easily to the shop where i bougt it, but if you can, go to Barnett Computer Wharehouse 417 5th Av New York NY 10016. The cable costed me $54.11
Does anyone has a tip how to work with this cable?

RE: same thing for a Vx?
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/1/2002 2:51:43 PM #
There are cables out there. Also for less than $55.
Your mac issue may well be driver based. The cable needs them to be recognized and you didn't mention installing them.
Here is one... (and if you download the OS9 Driver, yours might work)
http://www.gethightech.com/item.jhtml?UCIDs=467354%7C1177715&PRID=986395
This store has loads of goodies for the Vx
My only issue is that no-one claims to make it work in OS X
Oh well, I will live in hope
The Cap'n

M505 and this cable

vincenzosi @ 1/18/2002 8:21:04 AM #
Every time I charge my M505 with this cable, I get a shock while touching it. Just be careful with it, because I think its a possibility that it can trigger the NO USB hotsync bug in the m series. So much do I think its a possibility that I went out and bought another cradle for work and stopped using this one altogether.

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