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Knowing Your Cables

For all digital natives, our phones can never leave our sight and we expect that they are charged throughout the day for that extra bit of scrolling through Instagram or catching up on the latest bit of celebrity gossip.

Earlier, we have written about what to look out for in your portable chargers. 

Do you know that your choice in the charging cable matters as well?

You may think that almost all USB cables look alike from their external appearance. So, how different can they be? The contents inside the cable may be different and probably that is the reason why certain USB cables are unable to charge your mobile phone despite you buying the correct power bank. Here is a mini crash course of what you should know about these cables.

Physical Construction

First, you might want to consider the physical construction of your cable. Most charging cables are constructed with either a Kevlar construction surrounded by a rubber outer shell or a nylon-braided cable

Kevlar construction is a good heavy-duty option for those instances where the outside of the cable can be easily torn apart. This can be for trekkers or those who bring around their cables with them everwhere they go. The cable will still function because of the protective Kevlar construction around the data and power wires. 

Nylon Cable

If you decided to opt for a nylon-braided cable, it gives extra protection to the outside rubber material of a charging cable as it encompasses your power and data wires securely. This benefits the longevity of a cable because the nylon acts as a first layer of protection for the cable. The second layer of protection would then be the base rubber casing. Therefore, with two layers of protection, you would not need to worry about it wearing out.

Charging Head

Second, you might want to consider the charging head housing. It is the spot of the cable that can have the most stress on it because of its inflexibility. When something is not flexible, it breaks. When the head of the cable base is flexible, pressure can spread out, allowing many parts of the head to take pressure easily without sustained damage. You can tell if the base is flexible by the length of the tip extending from either the USB-port end or the charging-port end.

Type of Cable

Thirdly, there are two types of cables: fully-rated or sub-channel cable. The main difference between these two cables is that the former cable can operate at the rate of 480 Mbps (high speed) signalling, while the latter can only afford to be used at the rate of 1.5 Mbps (standard speed) signalling. The former also boasts an additional shield property such an aluminium foil with a drainage wire. This helps prevent short-circuiting and hence, safer for the user.

Cable Output

It is also important to consider the output of the cables. Between the most popular and common option of USB Type A (also known as USB) and an uprising challenger of USB Type C (also known as USB-C), we think that the latter is a better-informed choice. Here are some of the perks and advancements of the USB Type C cable.  

USB Type C Cable

1. Reversible shape 

  • can be inserted in any direction

2. Supports new USB standards

3. Rapid data transfer (up to 10Gbps)

4. 100W Power Delivery

5. Bidirectional - can send and receive power


MFi Certification

If you are looking for cables that are specifically for your Apple products, you might want to consider those with Apple MFi Certification. This is referring to "Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad", a licensing program for developers of hardware and software peripherals that work with Apple's iPod, iPad and iPhone. This is important because non-certified, or knock-off, lightning cables can be very dangerous to your device. If you would like to check whether the product you have bought is MFi-certified, you can head over to this site to search for the product or brand.

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