The ideal USB cable

August 26, 2016 | 06:00
The ideal USB cable
The ideal USB cable
A few weeks ago we posted an item here about the many crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo for a wide variety of USB charging cables. There were quite a few responses to that item, with many readers questioning the need for adding new versions to the already broad assortment of USB cables, resulting in even more waste.

Of course, some cables have clever integrated features that nobody else has thought of before and are especially handy or convenient. Recently I saw a USB cable which in my opinion should have been developed 20 years ago, when USB first saw the light of day. Ever since 1996, countless people have been irritated by the fact that USB plugs can be inserted into mating sockets in only one way. With USB 3.1, somebody finally had the idea of making the plug work either way round, at least at one end of the cable.

However, most devices still have USB 2.0 connectors (take a look at your mobile phone). A few manufacturers are now making fully reversible micro USB cables, so both Type A and micro USB plugs can be mated either way at the other end. For this purpose, each connector has a thin insulating plate with conductive strips on both sides for the terminals. The metal sleeve of the micro USB connector is also shaped to allow it to fit into mating connectors – for example, on a smartphone or a tablet – in either orientation. That’s truly a very convenient sort of cable, for which I would gladly pay a bit extra. Several manufacturers, including Winnergear and Silverstone, now make cables of this sort. I have also see made-in-China versions on eBay.
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