Reviews: Other

BoxWave Complete Essentials Kit
miniSync, Car Charger, Wall Charger, Battery Adapter, & Clear Touch

     As everyone should realize by now, PDA's are all about mobility.  Wireless internet is one of the main avenues where we see mobility come into play, but often we forget about the mobility for the even more essential aspects of PDA's.  Three important aspects to supporting mobility are screen protection, synchronization connectivity, and power connectivity.  BoxWave has the solution for them all and has put them all in a kit they call the Complete Essentials Kit.  For screen protection, the kit includes a ClearTouch three pack.  Now I have already done a review of the ClearTouch, and since completing the review, I am still using the ClearTouch system.  So while ClearTouch is part of the kit, you can read the other review because I cannot find anything better to say about them other than I have stopped looking for a good screen protector because ClearTouch is the best.  For synchronization, BoxWave includes the miniSync.  The miniSync is basically a USB cable for your device like that of the one from the device manufacture only it retracts to only be a couple inches long.  For power, BoxWave has three solutions, all of which interface with the miniSync to power your device.  The Car Charger connects USB to your car power adapter, the Wall Charger to a connect to a standard power outlet, and finally one of BoxWave's most impressive solutions, a Battery Adapter which recharges your device with batteries.
     The miniSync is the first thing that caught my attention in the kit.  The miniSync is only a couple inches long but holds enough cable to reach 35 inches.  No more bundling cables, the miniSync packs them away quickly and easily.  I have a set of headphones that do the same thing and have found this system makes it really easy to put away your cables quickly in a mobile setting.  Also, the retraction system can lock in seven different points making the cable effectively seven different lengths.  One end of the miniSync is a standard USB cable for connecting to your computer (or as I will talk about soon, connecting to one of the other BoxWave adapters).   The other end of the cable connects to the sync port of you device.  In the case of the miniSync in this kit, it connects only to the Dell Axim X5.  While it is bad that you can only connect the miniSync to one device (in some rare cases more than one), it isn't really the fault of BoxWave, but of device manufactures for not having standard sync ports.  The cable connecting to the two ends is similar to that of a headphone cable being that it is much smaller than a standard USB cable.  My problem with the miniSync is that there is on locking mechanism on the sync connection.  This may be a Axim X5 problem, but the biggest problem I have with the miniSync is it falling out.  Alone, the miniSync for the X5 is $15 on a web special.  Compare that to $19 for a "travel" cable from Dell (travel is in quotes because the miniSync is much more travel oriented with its retraction system) or $30 for the cradle.
     Since I don't smoke, I don't use my car lighter adapter, but I hate to leave something plugged into it because usually that means there is some cord hanging around in my car.  One of the coolest things about the BoxWave Car Charger is that it, in essence, changes my car lighter into a USB power port.  What would be even cooler is if the Car Charger would power any device, but it only will power those devices you have a miniSync to use with it.  Since it does use the miniSync, that means you get the feature of having a retracted cable.  If nothing else, you could leave the Car Charger in your car and the miniSync plugged in and only have a couple inches to deal with instead of a couple feet.  Another nice thing is if you have multiple devices or someone else wants to plug into your Car Charger, they just need a miniSync, not another Car Charger.  Interestingly, for my device Dell doesn't even offer a Car Changer, so I checked out Belkin's website and their Car Charger is $20.  BoxWave's is only $10 on a web special and is compatible with a devices miniSync cable.
      In similar for of the Car Charger, the BoxWave Wall Charger allows you to connect your device to a power outlet via a miniSync cable.  The Wall Charger plugs in horizontally so it is out of the way of for other devices.  Again, it would be nice if this charger could charge other USB devices, but at least it allows for connection to multiple devices though the use of the miniSync as opposed to having a cable that may only work for one device.  The other device thing is Wall Charger is $15 on a web special instead of $21 for the standard Dell adapter.  While you still must purchase a miniSync to make it work, in the setting of my office, it is a much cheaper alternative than buying standard Dell adapters and allows more flexibility in how I can connect my devices.
     The final part of the Complete Essentials Kit is what I would consider BoxWave's most interesting item in their power product line.  The Battery Adapter allows you to charge your PDA with four standard AA batteries.  The unit connects to your device via the miniSync via a USB connection.  It is an innovative way to recharge your PDA while on the go.  BoxWave also included a switch to allow the unit to be turned on or off so the batteries won't discharge themselves and you can level it connected while you use your device (and don't want your device to charge).  Since having the Battery Adapter I have used it a number of times to refill my device from a partial to the full charge, and haven't had to change the batteries.  BoxWave states you should be able to charge a device five times, which I think is pretty good, though number of charges will depend on how powerful a battery you have.  Especially extended batteries will take more "juice" out of the batteries.
     The BoxWave Complete Essentials Kit is something any user on the go should consider getting.  Priced at just under $75, it may be out of reach for some, but the power user that needs their device to be charged at all times will pay more to buy each item in the Kit individually elsewhere.  Not to mention, you would have cables running everywhere.  If you bought just a travel sync cable, wall adapter, and car charger elsewhere it would cost $60.  From BoxWave, for $15 more, you get all of those as well as the last screen protectors you will ever buy and the Battery Adapter which is a great addition to anyone's PDA arsenal.  I have been taking both the Battery Adapter and the miniSync with me to work almost daily incase my Pocket PC needs an extra bit of juice or I need to sync with my PDA.  The best part is, when I decide to upgrade, I can just get a new miniSync and use all other power adapters in the kit.  The Complete Essentials Kit from BoxWave has everything you will need to keep you PDA's screen safe, memory synced, and battery charged.

Dave's Score - 9.0
This means, this product is about as close to "the best" as you can get.  This product embodies quality in its design and application, and is something I would use.  Though you still should consider it for yourself, most would probably be happy with this product even if they were unable to try it prior to purchase.

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