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Chargers - HP
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  • Chargers Overview
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A compatible charger is an essential device for any cell phone user. No surprise there. But less obvious are the differences between charger types and the terminology used to describe them:

Since it's introduction in the mid 1990's, USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become the standard mode of connection for a host of consumer electronics, mobile phones being no exception.

Many phones manufactured in the last decade feature Mini-USB connections. Mini-USBs are approximately 3 x 7 mm in size and have recently fallen out of favor among manufacturers.

Micro-USB was introduced in 2007, and by 2009 was accepted by the vast majority of cell phone manufacturers as the standard mode of connection. Micro-USB is somewhat smaller than its mini counterpart (1.8 x 6.8 mm), and is also rated for higher transfer speeds.

A number of manufacturers have, at one point or another, developed there own unique USB connection ports and cables. In recent years, however, the vast majority have switched to some variety of universal USB connection, with Apple being the one notable exception. Apple's cables and ports feature proprietary 30-pin connections, which, in addition to providing USB connectivity, also feature HDMI and Analog Audio transfer.

A compatible charger is an essential device for any cell phone user. No surprise there. But less obvious are the differences between charger types and the terminology used to describe them. Here we'll look at the few common variations, and outline what you'll need to know when purchasing a replacement:

Charging Ports and Connections

Since it's introduction in the mid 1990's, USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become the standard mode of connection for a host of consumer electronics, mobile phones being no exception. The reasoning is simple; USB allows for the transfer of both data and power, often simultaneously, so a single port will take care of all of the major transfer requirements of a phone. While plug size and shape varies, USB cables almost always feature the same receptacle:

Mini-USB

Many phones manufactured in the last decade feature Mini-USB connections. Mini-USBs are approximately 3 x 7 mm in size and have recently fallen out of favor among manufacturers.

Micro-USB

Micro-USB was introduced in 2007, and by 2009 was accepted by the vast majority of cell phone manufacturers as the standard mode of connection. Micro-USB is somewhat smaller than its mini counterpart (1.8 x 6.8 mm), and is also rated for higher transfer speeds.

Unique or Proprietary Connections

A number of manufacturers have, at one point or another, developed there own unique USB connection ports and cables. In recent years, however, the vast majority have switched to some variety of universal USB connection, with Apple being the one notable exception. Apple's cables and ports feature proprietary 30-pin connections, which, in addition to providing USB connectivity, also feature HDMI and Analog Audio transfer. If you use an Apple device (an iPhone, iPod, or iPad), you'll need a charger designed specifically for Apple products, or an Apple-specific adapter. Certain older phones from Samsung, LG, and others also feature unique connections, and will require brand-specific connectors.

Other Charging Solutions

Charging Pads

Relatively new among charging technologies are charging pads (commonly known as Powermats), which employ wireless energy transfer technology to eliminate the need for wires and efficiently charge a number of devices simultaneously. Charging pads also tend to include a mechanism that cuts off the transfer of energy once a battery has reached full capacity, so you won't need to worry about overcharging your devices.

In the next few years, charging pads will likely begin appearing in a number of automobiles, eliminating the need for conventional chargers and potentially increasing the number of devices that may be charged simultaneously. Of course, until then, standard car chargers provide a simple way charging on the go. Car chargers are available in specific and universal models, and those designed for USB charging devices often feature a removable cable, allowing for easy substitution and broad compatibility.

Portable Chargers and Charging Cases

Also relatively new are charging cases--smart cases designed with built-in battery technology to both increase the life of your phone's battery as well as prevent capacity loss from over- and under-charging. Portable chargers, too, offer a simple way of adding to your phone's life when you're travelling or simply too busy to plug it in. Typically small and lightweight, they charge through the same mechanism as your phone, and often store enough energy to more than double your phone's life.

Solar Chargers

For those who really don't want to rely on a typical electrical connection to keep their phone alive, solar chargers offer another creative charging solution. Solar chargers feature one or more small solar panels, typically attached via a dock, that collect and store energy garnered from sunlight. Solar chargers can, for this reason, provide a sustainable source of energy for those who need to stay connected on trips deep into the wilderness, or for anyone looking to save a little on energy costs.

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