USB-C promised to solve our connector confusion, but USB-C created more confusion than any other USB standard before. The connector type is both USB 3.1 and Thunderbolt, meaning you’re able to transfer video and power through the same port and even the same cable. While we don’t worry about which way to plug our cables in, we do need to worry about how much power can a cable transfer to our phone, laptop, or other devices. If the cable is sending too much power through a port, it could and will destroy the device.
Because of the broad variety voltages, amperages, and mAh outputs supplied and required for different laptops, phones, and accessories not every cable are one size fits all. You could have your new MacBook Pro which is a high-draw device, which will need a high-power charger. That same high-power charger shouldn’t be used with a USB-C pair of headphones which most often will be a low-draw device. The high-power cable will send too many voltages through the cable, destroying your headphones.
There are standards and safety features built into USB Type-C, but the deluge of cheap cables on the market have confused customers and lead to unsafe cables being sold. In short, don’t spend $5 on a cable to charge your MacBook Pro or your Google Pixel. Instead, buy from a reputable brand or store to ensure your devices are safe.
Still, a brand name USB-C cable can be confusing when there are five different power profiles from 10W to 100W. Luckily, accessory company Satechi understands theirs a need for testing or monitoring of these USB Type-C cables. Their new Type-C Power Meter is a go-between for your MacBook Pro and the new USB accessories you may have gotten. The little gadget reads volts, amps, and mAh and will keep track of the power transfer during the whole usages.
At $29.99, it’s frustrating to think USB has failed to a point this gadget has become a necessity. Until USB has resolved this little problem, you may want to invest in the Type-C Power Meter to keep your devices safe and see how fast they’re charging. I for one will be picking one up in the come days! I don’t want to have my Dell XPS or Nexus 6P being fried by a cheap cable.
Tell us in the comments below if you’ve had any problems with USB-C cables or if you’re going to play it safe and invest in the Power Meter!