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    Ultra ULT31434 Connector Kit
    Author: jonnyGURU
    Date Posted:24/11/2004
    SLRating: SLRating: 7/10
    Bottom Line: SLCentral reviewed the Ultra ULT31434 13-piece ZipCord Laptop Connector Kit. If you need RJ11, USB and Firewire cables plus adapters to fit many connections then maybe its for you. Although it could come in handy there are risks as JonnyGuru found out.

    Find the lowest price for this product
    Pages: 1 2 3
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    Conclusions

    I somewhat question the durability of the ZipCords. Currently, my headset ZipCord doesn't stay unzipped. The concept of retractable cords is not a new one. I actually have had an optical USB mouse with a retractable cable for nearly two years. The construction of the retractable cable is clearly superior and I've never had a problem zipping it or unzipping it.

    The damn headset has zipped itself up and whacked me in the face about three times in the last 30 minutes, and I've only used the thing for about 2 hours total! My other 12 ZipCords seem to be doing fine in this respect, but I've only used any one of them for an average of a couple hours. On one hand, these aren't the kind of cables you're going to find yourself using for long periods at a time, but on the other hand you want them to work when you need them. Perhaps the broken ratchet in my headset is an isolated incident. I'm sure it's something Ultra would be happy to warranty. But another thing I've noticed with ALL of the cables is that they are difficult to zip back up. You're supposed to go just a tad bit past a click and the cable should zip itself back up, but this wasn't always the case. Often, the cable would just lock in the position and I'd have to go to the next click to try to retract the cable again.

    The kit retails for $49.95 and sells for as much at TigerDirect. I found the kit for $36 at ZipZoomFly, which seemed to be the cheapest price out there. $36 is a decent price for what you get here. If you were a mobile PC technician, the kit could be a steal at $36 considering you may actually use all of the connectors at different customer's sites. But it is very unlikely most of us would ever need ALL of these connectors in one kit.

    Look at the way Ron Popeil sells the Six Star cutlery set. You buy the Showtime knife for $40 and you get 15 extra knives, a pair of scissors and a knife block for free. Ok.. You're really not getting 15 knives for free. The knives really are that cheap, but they're good enough knives and easy to justify paying $40 for perhaps one or two. It's perceived value. This kit has no hook. Maybe if it was the travel mouse and a mini USB hub and everything else could be perceived as "free" it would seem like a good deal.

    I suppose If you're willing to give out $15 for a portable optical mouse (the going rate) and $10 for the Firewire or USB cables and another $10 to $20 for the adapters that you may use and you get a pleather case to carry it around in, it may seem like a good deal. But from now until Christmas, you can get a lot of the seperate connectors for free, after rebate, from TigerDirect! So I suggest looking at my description of each connector, determine if you'll ever use that connector, and then see if you can get it for free from Tiger, add the items you may actually have to pay for (like the mouse or Firewire cable) and see if it's cheaper than $36! Maybe give yourself a $5 ceiling for the pleather case. It is a pretty nice case, after all.


    Everything comes packaged in this nice little case.

    Now, the next paragraph was tough. When I'm given something to review, it's my duty to find as much fault in that product as possible. I know a lot of guys at a lot of other review sites say, "Well, I got this item for free and it does this and it does that so I'm giving it Editor's Choice" but I don't work that way. I always grade on a hell of a curve.


    Here I have the entore collection of ZipCords, minus four unused adapters (shown far right) plugged into my laptop.
    No, the mouse did not work well on the carpet. ;)

    I'm taking half of a point away from a 10 rating for every time I was whacked in the face by the headset ZipCord zipping itself up. I'm going to take a whole point away because they cables wouldn't always zip up properly. There shouldn't be a "trick" to zipping the cables back up. I'm taking another half of a point away for not making the headset so it would sound good with music, despite the supposed target audience for this kit. I realize it's adequate for VoIP or voice recognition, but it doesn't take much to add some more dynamic range to a pair of ear-buds. I'm taking a half of a point away for only terminating 2 out of 4 ends of the RJ11 cable too, because I'm the one writing this review and I'm still pissed off about being bopped in the nose by a little plastic disc with the words "Ultra Retractable Cable" on it. I'm going to take another half of a point away for making the Firewire cable 6-pin Male to Male and instead of 6-pin to 4-pin and then including a 4-pin to 6-pin adapter instead of a 6-pin to 4-pin adapter. I'm going to take a point away for the price of the unit. I like look at this package and think $29.95. I will give a point back for the nice pleather case, though. My rating is an 7 out of 10, which isn't that bad at all. The kit is very useful. I will be using several elements of this kit personally from here on in, but would I pay $36 to $50 for it? Probably not. Will I continue to use the headset? No. If another ZipCord messes up and starts zipping itself back up, will I attempt to get a warranty replacement? Yes.

    Pros:

    • Almost any connector you could possibly need in one kit.
    • Cable retraction makes for very clean, portable cables.
    • Nice case makes it easy to store everything in a small, organized area.
    • Mouse works well and is ambidextrous.
    • Good value considering how many pieces you get, assuming you would ever actually need ALL of these pieces.

    Cons:

    • Question about quality. Ratchet gave up on headset after minimal use.
    • Difficult to zip back up. Wouldn't alway zip up on demand.
    • Only 2 of the 4 wires on the RJ11 are terminated.
    • Headset only really good for voice quality audio.
    • A little pricey considering most people wont ever need ALL of the pieces included in the kit.
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    1. Introduction
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    3. Conclusions

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