the cable from all dangers?
USB 1, 2 and 3, Mini, Micro and now Type-C, in the big world of cables, the client sometimes struggles to find it. In order to be the future reference for recharging its smartphone, the USB Type-C still has difficulty imposing itself on the manufacturers. Some cables are even accused of damaging computers.
Reversible, allowing ultra fast transfers when it is to the USB standard 3.1, capable of delivering an electric power of 100 Watt, but also versatile able to send video for example: the USB port Type-C cumulates The advantages in front of its big brothers . Moreover, the only way to plug it in both directions makes it the perfect companion to recharge a smartphone without having to fumble. Despite these qualities, the USB port Type-C hardly still has to impose more than a year and a half after the validation of its specifications.
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, smartphone manufacturers did not show a great enthusiasm for the new take. The famous Samsung Galxy S7 is always equipped with a micro USB plug, officially for it to be compatible with some accessories like the virtual reality helmet Gear VR. Others have chosen to quickly bet on the USB Type-C in the image of the LG G5, OnePlus 2. or Nexus 5 x and 6 p. On the computer side, Apple, big accustomed to proprietary cables has yet chosen the universal cable C as the only connection of its 12 inch MacBook. But not everything is pink in the cable kingdom. At the beginning of February, the Apple firm launched a reminder of some Type-C load, supplied with its computers until June 2015 and “likely to present a failure due to a design problem”. This reminder of Apple is not the first controversy that touches USB type C.
When the cable kills the computer
Since late 2015, Benson Leung, an engineer at Google, publishes on his page opinions on USB cables Type-C. According to him, the cable provided by OnePlus, used with another smartphone, would present a danger to the computer on which it is plugged or the charger. In theory, it should only deliver 2.2 amps, but would go up to 3a. OnePlus immediately responded by explaining that there was no problem when the cable was used with a OnePlus, while reimbursing some customers.
Since then, the engineer has been in the lead to test several Type-C USB cables, including low-end models, and puts its own devices at risk. During an operation, a cable for example damaged its Chromebook while it was however announced as compatible. He then discovered that the resistance present inside the cable was not the right one: 10kΩ while it must be 56kΩ. This cable did not have superspeed wires, which does not really make it a model C. Benson Leung continues his experiments today, advising or not the products he can find and not hesitating to publish his opinions on Amazon.com to alert the Consumers. The balance sheet is not very glorious for the builders: The models below $10 are often to flee.
Dry failure and undetermined ecological impact
Another problem, from the order of practice, smartphones with USB-C require their owner to always have a charger and a compatible cable on them to avoid the dry failure. Still uncommon, it is sometimes difficult to find one in the office or at the hotel. Another question that has not yet been addressed is: what is the ecological impact of this change in standards? We sometimes have a dozen micro USB cables in the drawers, are they, eventually, all doomed to finish in the trash? Same fate for micro USB accessories, fortunately more rare than those compatible with IPhone or IPad sockets.
Beyond these considerations and limitations, the USB Type-C is not to run away for as much and its benefits are very real. The most important thing is probably this reversible aspect that will avoid damaging the fragile grips of our smartphones. In any case, it will be necessary to simply choose the right cable, with the resistance 56kΩ and avoid the Type-C low cost. The next few months will allow for more models tested by users like Benson Leung and above all more transparency on the part of the manufacturers. These are today the essential conditions to consider serenely the future of the USB Type-C.