Gadget Review: SubbyTech Magnetic Charge & Sync Cables

by @edent | , , | 4 comments

I've been raving about how magnetic chargers are the future.

Paul from SubbyTech offered to send me some of their cables to review:

These are slightly different from the ones I've used before. These charge at a faster rate and they allow for data transfer.

So, how do they compare?

Photos

The cables have five small pins on their head.
Five small pins on the head of a cable.
The connector can rotate 360° and bends a full 180°.

The nubbins have USB-C, micro USB, or Lightning connectors on one end, and a small magnetic disk on the other.
A small disk protuding from a device.
When plugged in, the do protrude a little big - but not so much as to be annoying.

Magnets, how do they work?

The magnets are pretty strong and maintain a tight connection. Here they are in action:

Charging

They seem to charge pretty quickly - if you have a sufficiently powerful plug. The cables and magnets don't get noticeably warm.

They are remarkably boring - and that's a good thing! Plug the nubbin into your device and the magnet automatically attaches and delivers power.

Data

Copying files off the phone via MTP was a speedy 25MB/s - which is plenty fast enough for me. Again, they are just like normal USB cables.

Downsides

The big issue with these is that they're incompatible with the old magnetic chargers I have. Because of the shape of the charging pin, they simply won't fit. That's the price that I pay for being an early adopter, eh?

The light up cable is... disco?

I can't quite see the appeal of this. A distraction if you're doing something within its eyeline. But the regular cables are a lot less flashy. You may want to cover up the blue LEDs if you're sensitive to bright lights.

Cost

Individual 1m cables cost a tenner, or you can get a four-pack for £30. The 2m cables are £14 for one and £34 for 4.

Extra nubbins - available in USB-C, Micro USB, and Apple's Lightning - cost ~£2 each.

That's pretty reasonable, I think.

Are they worth it?

It's tough. I'm biased because I have the older version. I can't remember when I last tethered my laptop to my phone via cable. Bluetooth and WiFi covers my data transfer needs. Similarly, it is rare that I need to charge rapidly - I'm either by a plug or have a big battery with me.

If you're new to the world of magnetic charging, I highly recommend them. It really is a more convenient way to charge your devices. If you've already got some of the older standard - it's only worth upgrading if you need the speed + data.

And, don't buy the flashing ones unless you're dressing the set for a sci-fi film!

4 thoughts on “Gadget Review: SubbyTech Magnetic Charge & Sync Cables

  1. The prior ones you recommended only work for low power devices, so no luck with iPads or MacBooks.

    1. @edent says:

      They charge my Android tablets just fine.

  2. Paul mccaw says:

    Thanks for that chap. Good to get your thoughts 👌🏻

    Paul @ Subbytech

  3. All this charging stuff is a mess. From what I can tell, QC 3.0 is supported by Samsung and most android devices. QC 3.0 also works with USB-A connectors and all the 'magnetic' cables are USB-A.

    Apple supports PD 3.0, with higher wattages, up to 100 watts I believe. With PD 3.0 you can quick charge an iPhone, iPad or even a MacBook. But PD 3.0 is not available with USB-A connectors -- only USB-C works with PD 3.0. So none of the magnetic connectors work under PD 3.0.

    The magnetic connectors may charge an iPhone but good luck trying to charge an iPad (or a MacBook.)

    I'm waiting to see if USB-C magnetic cables are released or even possible -- although Apple has had high wattage magnetic cables with their older laptops!)

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