Benson Leung, the Googler who went on a crusade against bad USB Type-C cables, now finds himself as a martyr: a bad cable finally fried one of his devices. This was the cable in question if you’re curious, and it was responsible for the death of a $1,500 Chromebook Pixel laptop.
Leung has warned before that out-of-spec USB Type-C cables could potentially damage devices. Many people questioned his claims and insisted the risk couldn’t be that terrible, but now he has tangible evidence that you should only look to buy high-quality cables.
This incident will serve to urge the importance of quality from cable manufacturers. Many manufacturers opt not to follow the USB Type-C standard, either by way of ignorance or because they’d rather cut corners to save money. This is bad, and when expensive devices start breaking because of it, it’s a problem that seriously needs addressing.
Unfortunately for Google, Apple and all the other high-profile companies who back the standard, there’s no good way to ensure manufacturers are building these cables the right way, because the specifications are out there for anyone to use.
The worst part of all this is that there’s also no real way to make cable manufacturers accountable for these incidents: they don’t have to pay for repairs on your broken devices because you probably should have stuck to official cables in the first place. It’s a sad reality, but it is reality.
The best thing you can do is to keep following Benson Leung’s reviews here on Amazon. He’ll be slowed thanks to this incident, naturally, but he seems adamant in continuing his quest to review all the cables that turn up.
Spend the extra money to make sure that amazingly cheap $5 cable doesn’t destroy hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Don’t be hasty in your purchases. Do your research. Be sure you’re buying a cable that he rated 5 stars because that’s the only real way to ensure the cable is safe enough to use.