USB will finally live up to the Universal part of its acronym with the mainstreaming of USB C; the latest Android phones come with it, laptops come with it, and soon, even iPhones may toss the dinosaur Lightning port, no cap (thanks EU regulation)!
However, not every USB C cable is made equal- some are more equal than others and it is important to buy the right one for what we need, for now and to future-proof. The transition to a single cable will be upon us in the blink of technology's advancing eye and with that, let's take a quick look at the most important parts of a USB C cable.
Reliable Brands: Apple and Aukey USB Cable
Interesting Feature: Baseus LED USB C Cable
Ease of Use: Baseus Right-Angled USB C Cable
Reliably Built: Baseus Nylon Braided USB C Cable
USB C Charging Standards
Don't worry if you're confused by the countless number of charging jargons out there now- we'll go through each of them quickly and simply so that for whichever device you use, rest assured that the cables recommended later will work for you. Whether it's your new and fancy iPad Pro, Sony Camera, or even a Nintendo Switch, they'll be compatible.
In general, there are a number of charging standards but to keep it simple, these four are highlighted as they're the more widely supported standards:
1. Quick Charge (Android Phones)
2. USB Power Delivery (iPhone, Laptops)
3. Adaptive Fast Charging/Super Fast Charging (Samsung)
Buying any of the USB C cables listed below allows the phone to charge using Quick Charge, USB Power Delivery, or Adaptive Fast Charging/Super Fast Charging. This is because phone manufacturers can integrate multiple types of fast charging protocols such that it works according to consumer's requirements.
If you're using an Oppo/OnePlus, Vivo, or Huawei's phones, they support fast charging but on their own proprietary protocol rather than universal standards like USB Power Delivery.
While it is possible to achieve higher charging speeds with the included USB C cable and a compatible GaN Charger like the ones in this article that recommends a number of good options, but it will not be as powerful as their own method of charging.
USB Charging Speeds
Right now, USB C will be able to hit 240W but there are no cables or chargers out for it yet. That being said, I doubt anyone wants to charge their phones at such high power so we'll be focusing on cables that deliver a minimum of 60W, ideally 100W as it can also power modern laptops too!
Eventually, like micro USB, Lightning, and other old connectors, charging standards will coalesce into one or two major standards for consumers. My bet is one USB Power Delivery (PD), as it's a universally recognised standard and more companies are hopping onto to this on every device that's being shipped out now.
But before I recommend some stuff- do consider a few simple things:
1. How long of a cable do I need?
2. How many devices need USB C?
3. What material should the cable be made of?
For number 1 and 2, that's pretty easy to consider but if you want a cable that lasts, some manufacturers create the cables using fabric to lengthen the lifespan and prevent more damage to the wires within. While that means higher cost, it also means less worry about longevity.
Great USB C Cables - For Now and the Future!
Reliable Brand - Apple and Aukey
If you like a reliable or well-known brand to carry around, then Apple or Aukey's USB C cable is just the right option for you. While Apple's cables are pricier, their 1m cables are much thinner and can carry data and charge at 100W.
The same goes for Aukey- 100W max, black colored and suitable for your needs.
Interesting Feature - Baseus 100W LED
This is my favourite and I own one, but basically, it's a USB C braided cable that has a rather interesting feature: it can show the charging speeds from 1 to 100W on the LED!
It's one way to show the power being drawn to charge your device, and it works across all popular devices that uses USB C to charge as well.
Useful - Right-Angled UGREEN 100W USB C Cable
It's common for us to use our laptop or phone, and charge it at the same time. The cable can get in the way but with UGREEN's right-angled Type C braided cable, this should make gaming sessions on your phone easier and plugging into laptops more ergonomic!
Longevity - UGREEN Braided USB C Cable
If you need something simple and lasts long, then this is pretty much the cable- USB C, nylon braided, simple and very, very affordable.