A growing number of smartphones, tablets, and laptops are shipping with USB Type-C ports. These connectors allow faster charging and on some devices they also enable speedier data transfers and support for video output with the help of an adapter.

In fact, Apple thinks the USB Type-C port is so useful, it’s the only port on the 2015 MacBook.

But USB Type-C is still a new technology… and while you can find plenty of cables and adapters available for purchase, it turns out not all of them work the the way you’d expect. Not sure which one to buy? A Google employee is here to help.

usb c

Benson Leung is a Googler who helped develop two products using USB Type-C cables, the new Chromebook Pixel and the upcoming Pixel C (he doesn’t actually name the products he’s worked on, but says he’s worked on two, and those are the only two that fit the description).

He’s found that some USB Type-C accessories don’t comply with the official specifications and could fail to charge some devices. In fact, some cables and adapters could even damage your charger, USB hub, or your computer.

So Leung started testing USB Type-C adapters available from Amazon.com and posting detailed notes. Odds are that the cables and adapters that came with your device will work, but you might want to check out Leung’s reviews before buying a third-party cable.

One thing you won’t find in his Amazon reviews is Leung’s verdict on the cheap USB Type-C cable offered by OnePlus, because it’s not sold through Amazon. But is it any good? According to Leung it uses an incorrect 3A configuration, which means it could damage older USB hubs, chargers, or other devices.

via Android Police

Support Liliputing

Liliputing's primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the "Shop" button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we'll get a small commission).

But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you're using an ad blocker* and hate online shopping.

Contribute to our Patreon campaign


Contribute via PayPal

* If you are using an ad blocker like uBlock Origin and seeing a pop-up message at the bottom of the screen, we have a guide that may help you disable it.

Subscribe to Liliputing via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,547 other subscribers

11 replies on “Not all USB Type C cables are equal: A Googler tells you which to avoid”

  1. “In fact, Apple thinks the USB Type-C port is so useful, it’s the only port on the 2015 MacBook.”
    If you can stomach this apparent Apple Engineer’s laugh, and you can spare 3:40 of your life, watch this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHZ8ek-6ccc he makes fun of the 2015 MacBook having only one port…Even I was laughing eventually.

  2. I read some of the responses from the manufacturers/sellers. Wow, they don’t seem to understand the underlying issue of not being spec compliant.

    1. Not surprising, though. Low end no-name manufacturers want to spend as little as possible on their products to make them just good enough that most customers will be satisfied (if not happy) with their purchase.

  3. I don’t know if this is still true with 3.0, but you elegidly were not allowed to put the USB logo on your connector if it wasn’t compliant with the USB 2.0 spec. Of course if you purchased a generic cable/connector from China all bets are off.

  4. So where’s the content? I click the link where I’m taken to a crummy Google+ page which has a couple of unexplained links, one going to another Google+ page with a small bit of realated (but essentially useless) information and the second link takes me to an Amazon shopping list page with some comments shown. If that’s how this guy has us “covered” with respect to this issue, I’ll pass…

    1. If you click on the “Read More” you will see that it has more than just “some comments”. The reviews explain exactly what is wrong with the off-spec cables and adapters.

  5. What Grant said – i thought this would be a bit more informative, “tells you which to avoid” made me feel like there would be some actual advice here.

    1. The Amazon reviews are pretty specific in stating what each manufacturer is doing wrong. You need to click on the “Read More” to see everything in full.

  6. I wish he actually went into some detail, and not simply said, “some cables are good, some will kill your children, that’s all I’m going to say”

    Edit: nevermind. Looks like he is posting amazon reviews, i just skipped past the link that Brad provided

Comments are closed.