USB ports too close together?

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Two USB ports on the MacBook Pro

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Here’s my SanDisk SDHC USB card reader and as you can see it’s just wide enough to block the second port a bit.

One of the things I’ve had to adjust to on the New MacBook Pro is the fact that the two USB ports on the 15″ model are right next to each ohter. They are not only right next to each other, they are insanely close together. So close in fact that it makes it impossible to plug in some devices and still acess the second port. On the previous MacBook Pro the two ports were located one on each side of the computer. So even if you had a device that was wider than it should be, you still had access to the second port because it was all the way on the other side of the computer.

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As you can see, with the USBconnect in place the second USB port is blocked.

I use my AT&T 3G USBconnect card when I travel. I have one of the older models that has a USB plug that flips down. It’s designed so that when its inserted into your laptop the antenna/card sticks up. This is fine provided that you don’t need to use the port next to it because it almost completely blocks. While I have on occasion wedged another USB cable into the second port, this is not advised and causes the USB cables not to sit properly.

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Although the Synchrotech cable certainly solves the problem with my USBconnect 3G modem it’s a little long for this.

I decided that enough was enough and started looking for USB extenion cables that would solve this issue. I wanted the shortest cable I could get. The first one I tried (thanks to the guys at Sychrotech) was the AirQueue, which was initially designed for the MacBook Air. The MacBook Air’s USB port can also be cramped if you are plugging in a large accessory. The AirQueue is a simple Male on one end Female on the other end 19cm cable. It’s a short extension cable. Simple as that. While the AirQueue certainly solves the problem for most connections, I was looking for something even shorter and more rigid.

That leads me to the Cables-to-Go FlexUSB adapter

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The Cables-To-Go (great company for all kinds of cable/hub solutions) FlexUSB adapter is much shorter than the Synchrotech model and although not as riged as I would like, it’s good enough for what I want to do. This adapter is great because you can angle it and turn it in the direction you need depending on the accessory you’re plugging in. Again, there’s not much to say here. It’s a USB extension that helps overcome (what I consider to be) a design flaw in the new MacBook Pros.

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The Bottom Line

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Here’s the FlexUSB connector angled up holding a SanDisk SDHC card reader

If your USB ports are too close together, you certainly can’t go wrong with either one of these extension adapters. Either one does the trick. However, if you going to want the device (like a 3G card ) to stand up on its own when plugged in or if you want the device to be a little closer to your laptop then I would go with the Cables-T0-Go FlexUSB adapter.

Synchrotech AirQueue $6.00

Cables-To-Go FlexUSB $4.64. (look on the right side of the page for this price)

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