Meet the Hassle-Solving USB Cable

USB: a blessing and a curse, am I right? Love the plug-and-play simplicity, hate the lack of standards for USB connectors. Between your digital camera, e-book reader, and iPhone, you could end up needing three different cables. Hassle city!

So here's an idea whose time has definitely come: the Magic Cable Trio. It's a 3-in-1 USB charge/sync cable with connectors for micro USB, mini USB, and Apple iDevices. Be still my heart.

The Trio measures a travel-friendly eight inches and sports three tips--two of which daisy-chain in behind the third. In other words, the cable has an Apple connector at its far end, but you can slide that forward to reveal a micro-USB plug. Slide the micro-USB plug forward and you get mini USB.

What's especially brilliant here is the hinged design of each connector; the plugs you remove stay attached to the cable so they can't go missing.

Now for the bad news: the Magic Cable Trio is a bit pricey at $19.99--though when you consider you're getting the equivalent of three cables (which might run you $10 apiece if purchased separately at, say, Best Buy), the deal doesn't seem so bad.

Indeed, put me down for one of these babies. I love convenience, and this is one of the most convenient (and head-smackingly obvious!) accessories I've seen all year.

Contributing Editor Rick Broida writes about business and consumer technology. Ask for help with your PC hassles at, or try the treasure trove of helpful folks in the PC World Community Forums. Sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

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