Earlier this month, we covered the exploits of Benson Leung — an engineer at Google who has been reviewing new USB Type-C cables on Amazon to find out which manufacturers are reliable. Up until now, Leung has mainly been criticizing no-name resellers, but recently called out smartphone manufacturer OnePlus, which offers a USB Type-C port on its flagship OnePlus 2 handset. In a post on Google Plus, Leung says users shouldn't buy the company's Type-C to Type-A cable as it might damage other manufacturers' gadgets, and he notes in a review on Amazon that the company's Type-C adapter for microUSB is similarly defective.
Leung's reviews highlight an important problem for Type-C users. Although the standard is certainly the future of USB (it offers fast data speeds, high power output, and — more importantly — a reversible design), it seems at the moment there are plenty of manufacturers who just want to sell the Type-C brand without the actual benefits.
For some manufacturers, USB Type-C is just a port
To use OnePlus's Type-C adapter as an example, Leung explains that the product doesn't follow the standard's rules for delivering power. "By using this cable, your phone, tablet, or laptop computer may attempt to draw 3A [of power], writes Leung. "Which may be more than the micro-b to A cable you attach to this adapter may be able to handle. This may cause damage to whatever cable, hub, PC, or charger you plug into this."
Leung adds that this won't have an affect on the OnePlus 2 itself as the handset doesn't support Type-C fast charging, and that the warning is more for owners of the Type-C compliant Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X, and Chromebook Pixel. "However, it's still not cool to keep that cable around because the next phone or tablet or laptop computer you buy might support 3A fast charging, and if you forget that cable is bad, you may damage a charger sometime in the future," says Leung. "If you want to keep the cable, mark it with a tag so you don't forget it's special." But not special in a good way.
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