As practical as the USB standard is, the plug cannot completely save looking for the connection socket. Worse still: Since a USB-C cable (USB Type C) can transmit up to 100 W, 10 GBit / s, audio, video and much more at the same time, many manufacturers have reduced the number of connections. It is precisely then that it is important that the ports function reliably. From our own experience, this is often only the case with new hardware. Due to the regular plugging and unplugging and pulling forces on the cable, the sockets wear out after a while. In addition, it can happen that dust and dirt collect in the USB port. The USB connector is then no longer tight and in the worst case scenario, no power or data transmission is possible.
Magnetic data and charging cables promise a remedy against dirt and wear and tear. These consist of a USB-A cable with a magnetic end and a corresponding Maget connector. The scope of delivery usually includes three magnetic adapters with USB-C, micro-USB and Lightning plugs.
To connect the two nylon magnets only have to be brought together. Usually it is enough to bring the adapter close to the cable. The magnetic connection is so strong that the cable is then automatically attracted and clicks into place in the correct position.
But not only the connection is very convenient. In addition, the adapters protect the often sensitive USB port. They prevent dirt from penetrating and reduce mechanical stress. A good application example is our privately used RC remote control, which is charged via a micro USB cable. Here the USB socket was torn off the circuit board when trying to plug in the charging cable. Reloading is no longer possible. A magnetic charging cable with a permanently plugged adapter in the remote control would have prevented this damage.
Differences and variants
As with classic USB cables, however, there are big differences between the various offers. Already the Diversity in the Amazon online shop is almost unmanageable. For example, some cables are only intended for charging – data transfer is not possible with them. There are differences here, as not all variants are also designed for fast charging. This is often enough, but it limits the benefits. These inexpensive models can be recognized by the only two contact points on the magnetic connection.
An example of such a model is the magnetic USB cable, which we got at Amazon from the retailer AUFU-Store. Although this is referred to as a data cable in the heading, the small print then states that it is neither suitable for data transmission nor for fast charging. After all, these cables are the cheapest. The specific offer includes a total of six cables in lengths between 0.5 and 3 m and four adapters each to Micro-USB, Lightning and USB-C.
The second variant is also suitable for fast charging, but the data port is also missing here. Here it only helps to look carefully into the specifications of the data sheet.
The best, as they are suitable for all applications, are cables that allow both Quick Charge and the transmission of a high data rate. An example of this is this VAFOTON 3in1 USB C Magnet Kabel.
When it comes to cable specifications, however, the differences are far from over. For example, the magnetic adapters are available in different shapes and dimensions. The round adapters usually require the least space. These also have the advantage that they rotate 360 degrees. However, the round adapters are not always the same – even with the same specification, the contact surfaces can differ.
The processing also differs from cable to cable. In addition to simply insulated cables, these are available with a hard-wearing fabric sheathing, for example. It is the same with the plugs, which are sometimes made of cheap plastic and sometimes made of aluminum.
Another distinguishing feature is the cable end. With some cables this is rigid, with others it can be pivoted. Such a flexible end is particularly useful when the connected device is not just lying around, but is being used. For example, if you charge your smartphone while gaming, you should pay attention. Even with headphones, the rotating and swiveling mechanism is much more comfortable than a rigid cable.
There are also cables with an additional LED. An unnecessary gimmick? No, in the dark living room the cable from the charger can be found quickly and easily at hand at any time. However, we would prefer cables with a small LED light at the magnetic end to completely illuminated cables. These look funky, but the glowing effect is distracting.
When buying, you should ideally choose a cable for which the magnetic adapters are also available individually. If an adapter is lost or an additional device comes into the house, it can then be retrofitted without having to buy new cables. We use about two Cafele magnetic charging cable from Amazon for around 12 euros, for which the adapters are also available individually. A Package with 5 USB-C adapters costs 13 euros here. If you want to charge your Apple iPhone, you can choose the version with a Lightning connector.
Whether such an adapter can be used always depends on the hardware used. In our outdoor smartphone, the charging port is placed so deep in the housing that the adapter is simply too short. With true wireless headphones, the magnetic adapter can block the lid’s folding mechanism. In the case of smartphones, the protruding adapter can also interfere with the haptics. Since we use a case, the adapter is hardly noticeable.
In addition to the magnetic data and charging cables, the magnetic lock is also available for retrofitting. This is very practical with the Macbook Pro or other notebooks, for example. The adapter Xtreme Mac Not only does it protect the sensitive USB port, it also enables the original charging cable to be used without impairing its function. Should you stumble over the charging cable of the notebook, the magnetic connection is released and the device itself remains safely on the table. However, the adapter has one disadvantage. The dimensions of the rectangular adapter are so large that the USB-C port next to it is blocked. According to the manufacturer, the adapter allows data transfer of up to 10 GBit / s and a charging power of up to 100W. The transmission of 4K resolution via HDMI is also supported.
A magnetic USB cable and adapter are available from around 8 euros. Then it is usually a charging cable that does not allow data transfer. That Set with a total of six charging cables of different lengths and four adapters each is available from around 28 euros.
From our point of view it is better to invest a little more and buy a cable including a data port. The model of coffees costs 12 euros in a double pack. The adapters for Lightning, Micro-USB and USB-C are also available individually for this purpose.
Magnetic data and charging cables are not only convenient to use, they also protect the USB ports of the connected hardware. With the appropriate adapters, even energy-hungry devices such as notebooks can be retrofitted and the acquisition costs are even kept within limits. However, you should retrofit the magnetic adapter before the USB port is worn out.
However, if you decide to use it, you should pay close attention to the technical specifications. Not all cables are suitable for fast charging or data transfer. You should also make sure that the magnetic adapters are also available individually. If you need several cables and adapters, you should buy them from the same manufacturer to avoid compatibility problems.
Whether the cable or the plug is lit is less important than whether the adapter fits into the device at all. Problems can arise here with connections that are deep in the housing or with connections that are close to each other.