… but we don’t live in a perfect world.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a growing number of laptops, smartphones, and other devices ship with USB Type-C connectors. The new standard brings a lot of advantages including reversible cables and fast charging support. But there’s also some risk: using a USB-C cable that’s non-compliant with official specs could damage your gadgets.
While the USB Implementers Forum has rolled out a certification program to help you identify accessories that are safe to use, there are still plenty of non-compliant USB cables on the market. So Satechi has launched an accessory that will help you detect dangerous USB cables on your own.
It’s called the Satechi USB-C Power Meter, and it’s available from Amazon for $25.
Plug the power meter into a USB Type-C port and then connect a charging cable to the other end of the meter and it will show you the voltage of your power source in real-time. If the voltage exceeds the amount that your device can safely handle, it’s probably a good idea to stop using that cable.
The power meter displays Volts, Amps, and mAh. It won’t disable a bad cable from working, but it should give you the data you need to know if you’re putting your hardware at risk.
Or you could just buy USB Type-C cables from a source you trust. You might spend a few bucks more on good cables than on cheap ones that haven’t been certified. But buying a good cable or two is probably cheaper than buying bad cables and a power meter.
One good place to start your quest for spec-compliant USB Type-C accessories is Benson Leung’s Amazon review history. The Google employee has been on a mission to test USB-C products since 2015 in order to identify which products compliant and which are not.