Reversible USB Type-C Charging / Data Cable Review

USB Type-C has been hailed as the “one cable to connect them all” – a new USB standard that is intended to replace MicroUSB, and be compatible with Windows, Android, and Apple devices for charging and data exchange.

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I’ve covered reversible cables before – last time, I wrote up a reversible MicroUSB cable, and so this time, I have the Type-C reversible cable to show you.

 

The Type-A PC or charger end of this cable is, like the MicroUSB one I reviewed last, able to be plugged in either way up – you don’t need to check the cable’s orientation before connecting it, and so can plug it in “blind”. Type A Male was always intended to be used as the PC end of the cable – Type-B is meant for devices only, and Type-C can be used to do both. More info on Type-C here.

Type-A being reversible is a pretty new innovation for USB, and not officially part of the Type-A standard, though I hope it ends up displacing all the older cables, due to the sheer convenience it offers.

 

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As before, you can see the Type-A plug on the right has a divider inside that hosts the pins – it’s the same on both sides, and has no issues plugging-in either way up on any desktop PCs, Chargers, or Hubs that I’ve tested here in the office. The Type-C plug on the left is reversible by design.

 

LED lighting

The Type-C device end is reversible as per the USB standard, and in this cable the only unusual thing about it is the LED lighting system that’s built in to the end of the plug.

 

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As with the MicroUSB cable, the LED lights up in different colours to tell you what sort of power flow is going on in the cable – green means very little activity, or standby after charging is completed.

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Red indicates a fast-charge flow of current, or a device that is consuming a fair bit of power while it’s transferring data. It’ll show blue when the device is super-charging, and also briefly flickers through all three colours during self-test when first plugged in.

From a usability viewpoint, this LED is a great idea, since you can easily tell at a glance if a connected device is still busy charging/transferring, or has finished – great for Android phones that don’t have any dedicated charging status LEDs, since you won’t need to switch the phone on to find out if it’s finished charging.

 

Do you need it yet?

There’s not many devices out there yet that use Type-C – the ThunderDisk I’ve pictured above (review to come), a couple of bleeding-edge flagship Android phones, and Macbook Airs. If you have any of those, this cable, available in Australia from $14-odd in 20cm, 50cm, and 100cm lengths, will save you a lot of stuffing around.

 

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