We’ve all been there. It’s late in the day and you’re away from home when your phone – that vital, indispensable conduit to the world – starts to grumble about its battery being low. This is quickly followed by that familiar and altogether awful feeling of anxiety; will your phone die before you reach your doorstep, and will you then miss out on important calls? And what the heck are you going to do on the bus ride home without your phone to keep you entertained? It’s a first world problem if ever there was one, but a problem all the same.
Despite the inexorable march of progress, mobile phone makers still haven’t quite solved the issue of having to charge your handset each and every day, and as a result many of us run the risk of being phone-less in the evenings simply because we have no means of topping up the juice when we’re outside the house. Until better batteries are developed this is the reality we live in.
This is the sticky issue that the makers of the Torro Bracelet range are trying to solve. The bracelet is a USB charging cable that can be worn on your wrist and therefore gives you a means of charging your phone no matter where you might be. The bracelet clips together via a metal fixture, in which you’ll find a standard USB connection on one end and the required phone connection (Micro USB, USB Type-C or Lightning) on the other. Simply find a USB socket or borrow someone’s USB-based wall charger and you’re sorted.
You might think that without a trusty wall-mounted PSU, tracking down a means of charging would be difficult, but think about how many USB-based power supply options are out there these days – laptops, computers, TVs, games consoles, car stereos… heck, there are even USB sockets on some buses and trains, and portable battery packs are also quite common. Finding a USB port out in the wild shouldn’t be a massive problem.
What’s really appealing about the Torro Bracelet is that it’s more than just a functional item; the cable is covered in faux leather and the metalwork looks great; when it’s on your wrist it actually looks like a proper bracelet and not some geeky accessory. It’s also available in a wide range of colour schemes (to suit him and her) so you can get the look you desire.
Having used the Torro for a few days we have to say that we’re impressed on many levels. It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear, and we actually received some positive comments from friends and family about our swanky new fashion item. The only issues we found in this department related to the size of the bracelet; it’s available in Small, Medium and Large, and while we have quite slim wrists, the medium-sized bracelet was quite tight.
This was fine when we were wearing it as the snug fit prevented it from sliding up and down our arm, but actually putting the bracelet on is fiddly; the way the metal clasps together means you often accidentally pinch your skin, which isn’t pleasant. After a while though, the process becomes second nature.
When it came to using the Torro to charge our phone, we found the USB connector was a little tight and it took some effort to insert it into the nearest USB port. Because of the way the metalwork is shaped (it curves to fit the contour of your wrist) it almost looks as if it’s bent when you plug it into your phone. Still, it works perfectly fine.
The Torro we were sent has a USB Type-C connection on one end that wouldn’t fast-charge our Pixel 3, which is a bit of a shame. It’s worth noting that every other standard USB to Type-C cable we tried also only charged the phone at the normal speed, so it’s not the fault of the Torro Bracelet as such; it’s the rather maddening number of different connection standards that are around at the moment.
Perhaps in the future, Torro will create a bracelet that has Type-C at both ends, and therefore can support fast-charging on the Pixel 3. While we weren’t able to test it, we assume that the cable will fast-charge other Android phones providing that the correct charger is used (we couldn’t use our Pixel 3 charger as it has a Type-C connector, and using the USB-to-Type C adapter that comes with the phone still only charged the device at the slower speed).
The moral of this story? Well, there is none really; obviously picking the correct Torro Bracelet is easy as you simply need to select the one which has the correct connection for your handset. However, you may not be able to achieve fast-charging speeds, which – when you’re looking to top-up in a hurry – could be seen as a significant negative. It’s also not waterproof, so you’ll have to remember to remove it when you take a dip or have a shower.
At around $40 / £30, the Torro Bracelet isn’t cheap for what is essentially a charging cable, but you have to keep in mind that it’s a lot better-looking than your typical power lead. It’s also a reasonable price to pay for peace of mind; you never have to worry about being caught short when you’re out and about again.