We offered to answer a question that many users ask themselves when buying a new USB C cable to charge their mobile or transmit files to the computer. Are there real differences between the cheapest and the most expensive?
From the start, we make you a discloseSince we found that the cheapest cable always has a lot more limitations. Although the cables compared may belong to the Amazon Basics family, there are some differences between them.
For the test, we chose a USB C cable a basic whose selling price is around 9 $ and another USB-C model which can double this figure and reach 19 $. Both belong to the company’s Amazon Basics family of products, arguably the most purchased.
In order to get valid results, we applied the same rules for both Amazon Basics cables regarding download speed, data transfer speed, and connection to a display.
Ultimately, we found reasons why the more expensive cable might be worth it, and in some scenarios, the cheaper cable would be just as good. Read on to learn everything in detail.
There are some important physical differences between the cables that we have discussed. Weight and thickness are aspects of every cable that are difficult to assess unless you have both, as we do.
We see that the cheapest cable of less than 2 meters weighs only 38 grams, against 86 grams for the Amazon Basics cable of the same length which costs twice as much. While the coating adds weight, the increase also comes from the extra wires inside and the gauge of the wires.
Rolled up it is possible to see the difference between the two models, with the cheaper one located on the left side of the image, and the more expensive one located on the right.
Performance under load
In order to verify the operation of the cables during the process of charging a device, we used a typical 100 watt Aukey brand multiport GaN charger to charge an Asus ROG Strix G15 gaming laptop via its USB-C port.
Take a look at our special ranking of best gaming laptops of the year.
Most of these lightweight and lightweight laptop types don’t beat the current 100-watt maximum charge rates of a USB C cable, but the gaming-centric Asus ROG Strix clearly outperforms it.
Well, within this section it has to be said that the Amazon Basics USB C cable disappointed us, because despite its specifications, the maximum charge rate of the cable is only 20 volts at 3 amps, which gives us a final value of 60 watts.
This actually matches your specific internal microchip marker and what Amazon advertises on its datasheet. However, we’ve seen a number of unnamed brands surpass the standard 60-watt charge rate at lower prices, so that’s a surprise.
With the more expensive cable not offering a real difference in the charging speed of a mobile or laptop, it’s hard to justify its price increase over the cheapest option, at least. ‘after what we have seen in this section.
Winner: Amazon’s Inexpensive Cable
If you’re looking for a cable to disconnect from the charger and transfer data files in a timely manner, the big winner is Amazon’s most expensive and heaviest cable. Some of that extra bulk and weight goes into the cables that allow the cable to reach higher speeds.
To test the transfer speeds, we used an Asus ROG Strix Arion external enclosure with a WD Black NVMe SSD installed inside, and we used the software that serves as the Crystal D isk Mark 8.0 benchmark to measure performance and speeds. .
The Arion is rated at 10 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen2, which is double the cheaper 5 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 1 type cable.
We were quickly able to verify that the cheaper cable was running at a slower speed of 480 Mbps. This is a read speed of 43 Mbps, which is what you would expect from all the cheap cables that don’t have extra cables and the E-Marker chip. . .
Most inexpensive USB-C to USB-C cables transfer content at a low USB 2.0 speed of 480 Mbps, which is paltry compared to one that can reach USB 3.2 speeds of 5 or 10 Gbps.
For its part, we have seen that Amazon’s most expensive cable can reach the full potential of our ROG Strix Arion, with a performance of over 1000 Mbps. This 5 Gbps rating seems very conservative.
There is another differentiating aspect between the two that we must highlight. And it is that the most expensive USB C cable supports compatibility with Thunderbolt ports, which is not highlighted among the product specifications.
We were able to connect an external G Drive Thunderbolt 3 drive and run the same Crystal Disk Mark 8 test, this time using an MSI Prestige 14 laptop. The throughput was around 1.8 Gbps. . Not bad, although below the 2.8 Gbps that a 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 achieves.
Winner: Amazon Basics’ most expensive cable
The cable as a monitor
One of the most interesting features of USB-C is its ability to be used to connect your PC to a monitor in “alternate mode”, using the same set of additional cables on a USB-C cable used for the. data transfer. .
So the very cheap and slow performance USB-C cable does not work as a monitor cable. But the one with a higher price tag allowed us to use it to connect an external monitor to a laptop in 1080p quality, handling its native resolution of 240Hz. These are basically 4K UHD data rates.
Winner: Amazon Basics’ most expensive cable
As demonstrated, the more capable of the two USB C cable is the more expensive $ 18 Amazon Basics model that works in all use cases.
You won’t be able to achieve charge rates of up to 100 watts, which limits its usefulness with more powerful laptops that support it. This is the case with a 16-inch MacBook Pro or a Dell XPS 15. However, it will work well with other laptops that require less power.
The dolphin, the cheapest cable at less than 9 $, also has its audience. If all you need is a USB C charger cable to charge your battery Tablet O smartphone while you sleep at night, for its low price, it’s not a bad choice.
Original article published in PCWorld United States.