How To: Buy a USB Type-C Cable That Won't Fry the Battery on Your Nexus, MacBook, or Pixel

Buy a USB Type-C Cable That Won't Fry the Battery on Your Nexus, MacBook, or Pixel

Ready or not, the USB-C cable is about to take over your electronics.

The new industry standard is fully reversible and packed with enough power to serve as a laptop charger or an HDMI cable, so it actually has the potential to replace every cord, wire, and connector in your house. In fact, the conversion has already started: The latest MacBook, Chromebook Pixel, and Nexus phones are sporting USB-C connectors out of the box.

But considering how new the technology is, there have been some predictable bumps in the road with USB-C cables. As Google employee Benson Leung has pointed out, many adapter cables that bridge the gap between the newer USB-C and the older USB-A are not fully compliant with the USB-C standard.

To add to the confusion, there are even some "USB-C" cables on the market that are really just Micro-USB with a different plug, so you really have to be careful about which cable you buy.

What to Look for When Buying a USB-C Cable

For the most part, cables with a USB-C connector on both ends are up to spec, meaning they will charge your device and transfer data at the proper rates.

The cables you should be careful with are the ones that have the newer USB-C connector on one end and the older USB-A connector on the other end, which are designed to connect a newer device to an older computer or power supply.

Top: USB C connector; Bottom: USB A connector

Many times, these types of USB-A to USB-C cables (as well as Micro-USB to USB-C adapters) are missing a regulator chip or are simply not wired to properly power your USB-C device.

This could have long-term repercussions on your battery, and will slow charging and data transfer on your device. Before purchasing one of these cords, definitely do your research.

Where to Find Compatible Cables

Google's Lueng has been purchasing and testing all types of USB-C cables and adapters for the past few months, and he's already compiled a lengthy list of compliant cables.

To make things even easier, Lueng has published his list of recommended cables and adapters on Amazon, which you can find at the link below:

Any cable listed on that page will do the trick, but we can personally recommend a few of them, as we've already purchased many of Lueng's recommended cables here at Gadget Hacks.

Here are some direct links to our favorite USB Type-C cables so far:

iOrange-E 6.6 ft. Braided USB Type-C to USB Type-A cable.

And if you have a bunch of standard USB-A to Micro-USB cables already, Tech Matte has a 2-pack of adapters that are also highly recommended by us and Lueng.

TechMatte USB-C to Micro-USB adapter.

In the end, which USB-C cables did you purchase for your new device? Let us know in the comment section below.

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1 Comment

I really like the FRIEQ cables. They are also approved by Lueng and seem to be very high quality. I have two of them and they work very well.

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