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Be careful about which USB-C cables you buy off the Internet

by Brandon Russell | November 16, 2015November 16, 2015 5:02 pm PST

Be careful about which USB-C cable you stick in your phone, as using one without the right specs could result in failure.

Google engineer Benson Leung has been doing unsung work by buying third-party cables off Amazon and reviewing them for compliance. Some are good, but most, according to Leung, are pretty terrible, and could wind up damaging your shiny new device.

One cable in particular, from OnePlus, is called out by Leung as being non-compliant with the standard’s rules for delivering power.

“By using this cable, your phone, tablet, or laptop computer may attempt to draw 3A [of power],” Leung said of the cheap USB-C cable OnePlus offers. “This may cause damage to whatever cable, hub, PC, or charger you plug this into.”

Using a OnePlus cable with a OnePlus 2 is just fine, Leung notes, but using it with a device that supports fast-charging—devices like the Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X—is not a good idea.

Leung has been leading a trail of poor reviews all over Amazon, attempting to bring awareness to customers looking to stock up. Even cables that are listed as compatible with all USB-C devices can damage your device or USB hub, Leung says, so be cautious about what you purchase.

Looking through Leung’s review history, there are several that aren’t compliant, though there are a few that Leung recommends, including cables from Anker, FRiEQ, Belkin, and more.

Let this serve as a PSA for all of you looking to pick up extra USB-C cables for your new device. There aren’t many USB-C devices on the market, but that could change in the coming years, which means you’ll need to start stocking up at some point.

Check out the video above to learn more about what Leung is doing, and how you can protect your device from non-compliant USB-C cables.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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