Some USB TYPE C cables from third-party vendors may harm your devices. Fortunately, an engineer at Google is testing them for everyone.
If you are asking why on earth someone is testing USB connectors? Does he have so much free time? The answer is because the connector is important and no, he does not have so much free time.
Benson Leung is a senior software engineer at Google. He has worked on Google’s latest Chromebook Pixel laptop and Pixel C tablet. A part of his team’s job involved the latest USB Type C connector and its related technologies. Since working with an “amazing little connector”, he was frustrated when realizing most USB Type C cables from third-party vendors failed to meet many specifications. This means they may not be able to charge your devices, or worse, they may damage your charger, USB hub or your device.
Explain why he started reviewing USB cables on Amazon, Leung wrote in a Google+ post “Because I have gotten fed up with the early cables from 3rd party vendors that so blatantly flaunt the specification” so he decided to reviewing USB connectors because he wants “to hold them to task.” Leung has been reviewing up to 19 USB Type C connectors on Amazon. Most of them got 2 stars for failing some tests. The bad cables come from vendors like CableCreation, Monba, Kupx, Juiced Systems, Orzly, and TechMatte.
Some might wonder how consumers can define a non-compliant cable when making purchases. Leung and his fellow worker, Vincent Palatin, have provided an instruction on how to test if a USB cable is specification compliant. Unfortunately, the instruction is for Chromebook Pixel 2015 laptops only. The test runs in developer mode. So if you don’t have a Chromebook Pixel laptop, the instruction doesn’t work for you. If you own one, click here to know how to test a USB connector.
The instruction also includes a method for owners of Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P to test USB Type C to USB Type A cable compliance with their devices. The test also runs in developer options. It was submitted to Leung by a user and will be tested by Google’s Nexus team soon.
For now, you can check Leung’s reviews on some cables sold on Amazon. Though most of them got bad reviews, there are some receiving 5 stars from Leung such as cables from FRiEQ, Belkin and iOrange. Another option is to spend a little bit more to buy from your device manufacturers. They know what is good their devices.
USB cable is small but a non-compliant one can cause serious damage so let choose a good one for your device. While many vendors in the market do not put standard first, consumers need to be very careful when choosing for their own good. And to Benson Leung, thank you for your work!