The buzz continues around USB A to USB-C cables as consumers are scrambling to adopt the new USB-C technology. Google is using the USB-C standard on the latest Nexus devices and cable manufacturers are hurrying to hop onboard and produce USB Type C cables. The market is being flooded with cables from all sorts of companies… but are they good quality?!
Charging is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to USB-C… but it seems to be the major concern around most of the cables on the market today. Will this cable work with my device? Can I fast charge with a USB A to USB-C cable? Will this cable hurt my charger? How about my device?!
Luckily we have Benson Leung, Google Engineer on the Pixel team, leading a crusade against poor cable manufacturers on Amazon. He is testing a number of cables to determine whether the appropriate USB-C spec was followed. The main target of testing are USB A to USB-C cables and MicroUSB to USB-C adapters. He provides the following explanation:
Some USB A to USB-C cables that you can buy on Amazon (and other sellers) claim that they support 3A charging, however be very careful of those cables as they may not conform to the USB Type C specification, setting the identification resistor such that it looks to the Type C device that it can support 3A charging while the Type-A connector on the other end and any device you plug into cannot possibly support 3A. Any A-C cable that you find that claims to support 3A charging may cause damage to legacy USB Hub, PCs, and chargers.
To summarize, poor quality cables will pose risk of damaging AC chargers, USB ports, USB hubs, etc. The risk of damaging the connected device is very low but still exists. I personally plan to stick with cables that follow the USB-C spec with appropriate resistors and circuit design. More technical details on this topic can be found on Benson’s Amazon Profile or Google Plus.
What cables are OK to use?
The top USB A to USB-C cables on the market are outlined below:
- Official Google Cable – $12.99
- Anker Cable – $19.99
- Belkin Cable – $17.99
- Monoprice Cable – $12.05
- iOrange-E Cable – $16.99
Take a look at my Google Spreadsheet for a full list of tested cables and USB-C accessories.