Are These Tangle-Free USB Cables Worth Buying?

As long as there are cables, there are confusions . There’s nothing worse than reaching into your pocket or bag for a charging cable for your smartphone that’s about to fail, only to waste time, energy, and sanity unraveling a lot of knots like a dolt. Well, stop kidding, cable makers are getting smarter by offering solutions to this age-old problem—with some unfortunate compromises.

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Sean Hollister of Verge has dived into this new market for tangle-free cables , and the results are generally tangle-free (if not perfect). Let’s start with the good news: these cables are awesome . They are designed to fold on their own, even if some of them don’t necessarily live up to the advertised “self-winding” name. The cables are made from flexible silicone with small magnets all around, resulting in a seamless winding pattern when you fold them.

The idea started with SuperCalla, as you can see in their March 2020 launch video . However, the design has spread: there are multiple versions of this product available for purchase, making tangle-free cables a viable and affordable reality. You can also imagine several use cases for this type of “self-winding” construction. Sure, it packs well, but it also ensures that cables on desks or desks don’t end up in the clutter we’re used to.

It’s a good news. Badly? These cables are n’t prime-time ready, at least not in the way we expect. While they’re great at folding neatly, they’re terrible at charging and/or transferring data. Hollister tested three different versions of these magnetically wound cables, and all three had some sort of problem. One charged fine , but didn’t connect the Pixel to the computer at all; the other turned off at the slightest touch and, moreover, charged very slowly; the latter was the best balance , but it meant slow charging and slow connection, just without the risk of being disconnected.

In fact, Hollister’s favorite cable he talked about didn’t have this type of winding at all. He points to an accordion-style foldable magnetic cable that charges decently fast and looks well made. If you’re interested in one of these cables, based on Hollister’s experience, I’d advise you to go for the accordion or, if you really want the original “self-winding” design, the SuperCalla.

It’s frustrating that these cables aren’t a complete set right now, but to be honest, that’s okay. This is new technology, and the fact that so many third-party companies are trying their hand is reassuring. Someone is going to crack the code and find a way to make a cable that not only bends well, but also charges very quickly and provides stable and fast data transfer.

Until then, it remains true that you can buy a cable that won’t leave your backpack tangled beyond recognition. As someone who hates to untangle cables and isn’t into wired data these days, I’m certainly tempted to get my hands on one, even if its primary purpose is to be a neat trick at a party.

[ Fringe ]

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