June 16, 2024

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Tangle-free magnetic USB cables are available here

Tangle-free magnetic USB cables are available here

What if your cable could magnetically stick ItselfAnd form a neat file that doesn’t get tangled up in drawers and bags? What if they were good cables too, capable of charging and syncing all things via USB-C, Lightning, and more?

Well… you can now buy USB cables that extend part One! And it’s cool enough that I really wish the cable manufacturers would figure out the rest of this crap.

For the past few weeks I’ve been testing some seriously neat USB cables that can really do the magnetic coil trick. The attention of the English-speaking world was originally captured by a brand called SuperCalla, and is now sold by a whole host of no-name brands in the likes of Amazon and Alibaba. And they are great fidget toys, just like SuperCalla Indiegogo Campaign Promised More than two years ago:

Photo: SuperCalla

As you can see in my picture below, they wrap just like a GIF! It’s not quite as “self-packing” as some sellers claim, but the six-foot-tall sellers are certainly easy to wrap.

The coil can be longer or wider depending on the number of magnets in each circuit – but these six-foot cables only give you enough to work with.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

It works by stringing magnetic beads and a silicone sleeve over a thin cable, like this:

See, it’s just a magnetic bead when you pull the silicone sleeve away. Both float freely on the cable.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

They can stick to themselves in other ways, too:

You can make a double cable back on the same.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

And of course, you can attach it to all kinds of other ferrous metal objects and push the same amount of cable as you need. I’ve got one of these cables hanging from my metal microphone stand now, another dangling from the corner of my wall, and another one that goes neatly under the edge of the keyboard while my phone is charging:

The magnet sticks to the steel surface of the Razer keyboard. This will not work, for example, with an Apple keyboard because it is made of aluminum.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

Ready to catch? I have purchased four different types of these cables, and they are all sucks big time (This is a technical term) when transferring data, charging, or both.

This, which also has a built-in blue LED light and interchangeable magnetic tips for USB-C, micro-USB and Lightning, won’t charge most of my USB-C gadgets at all, but I was able to trap some files from an external drive at USB 2.0 speeds Dimmer and charges your iPhone via Lightning. It also had very weak coil magnets and felt cheaper than the rest.

magnet on magnet.

This is a single USB-C to USB-C It was pretty decent on charging, giving me 65W of USB-C PD power And It had the best magnets of the bunch — but it wouldn’t connect to the Pixel 4A or the external USB-C drive at all. They just didn’t show up on my desktop!

This is a USB-A to USB-C cable It was the worst of it. Just moving it around would disconnect whatever I had plugged in, and you get up to 10W of charge – not the 15-18W I usually see with the Pixel.

finally, This is USB-A to Lightning One It appears to be a SuperCalla cable, shown in the “Original SuperCalla” box, despite being sold by a brand called “Tech”. Slow charging, slow data, but at least it seems to stay connected reliably to my iPhone for now.

But that’s not the only pattern of untangled magnetic cable I’ve found. I also bought This is elegant accordion styleWhich is probably the best of the bunch: It got a 15W charge, and it felt better built than the rest.

The accordion cable can warp when separated.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

But playing with it is a lot less fun, the magnets aren’t as strong, and it’s a little weird in shape when fully extended because the joints will always stick out. Additionally, it beats USB 2.0 speeds of 480MB/s (or about 42MB/s in practice). I couldn’t find a C-to-C or Lightning version.

I would absolutely pay good money for a robust, reliable six-foot USB-C to easy-coil USB-C cable with strong magnets, 100W USB-C PD charging, and at least 10Gbps USB 3.x bandwidth.

Despite this, the flexible strips and joints look durable.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

Or, if I’m really dreaming, how about 40 Gbps for USB 4? Let’s break and make the ultimate cable – give it a go Built-in power meter while you are at it.

Now, all I’ve found are these cheap new $10 cables, which is a real shame. The magnet design deserves the best, and so do we.

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