We’ve all known the frustration of our tablet or phone battery going dead and not having a charging cable. USB wall chargers are surprisingly easy to find–just about every house, office, and airport has them available–but they’re no help without a compatible cable.
The German company equinux has a solution: its tizi Schlingel is a clip-on accessory that opens up into a short charging/data cable. It comes in two versions: micro-USB ($19.99) and Lightning ($34.99).
Build and Design
The basic design of this accessory is a small main section with a cable loop. This loop can be hooked to a keychain, backpack, purse, or even a belt loop. That said, we took a poll on the appearance of the Schlingel and virtually everyone agreed that the black plastic design isn’t something they’d want to prominently display–it’s useful, not pretty.
The item seems reasonably sturdy, but the exposed cable means that it isn’t tremendously rugged. It’s not likely to wear out quickly with normal use, however.
Pulling open the main section of the Schlingel exposes a full-size USB-A jack. The equinux designers included a very innovative feature: this jack will go into a USB port either way, so it’s never necessary to flip it over to plug it in. We wish every USB-A jack had worked this way for decades.
The cable is 4 inches long, which is useful in a pinch, but short enough that this isn’t something most people will use every day as part of their primary charging solution.
What’s on the opposite end of the cable depends on the version, of course. equinux makes a micro-USB version for Android and Windows tablets and phones, plus there’s a Lightning version compatible with iPad and iPhone.
We tested both versions of the tizi Schlingel with a variety of devices over several weeks and were quite satisfied. The Lightning model worked well to charge an Apple tablet and phone, as well as connect to iTunes running on a Windows laptop. The micro-USB version was used many times to charge both an Android tablet and a phone.
The version of this product for iPad and iPhone is $34.99, reflecting the fact that accessories officially certified for use with Apple products often come at premium prices. It’s currently available from Amazon.com for $24.99, however. People looking for an even cheaper option can find one, of course, with retractable Lightning cables going for as little as $12.99, but these don’t have some of the extra features of equinux’s offering.
The micro-USB version has a list price of $19.99 but can be found at Amazon.com for $14.99. Again, retractable cables that use this standard often go for just a few dollars, but these might not be as well made as the equinux product.
Schlingel is German for “rascal” but this accessory is anything but mischevious. It’s a innovative, convenient, and very portable, just not the lowest cost option.