USB-C is a new standard that is definitely working toward moving the industry toward standardized ports, but that doesn’t mean the new tech doesn’t have its growing pains. While most manufacturer-made USB-C cables are fine to use with your devices, it gets hairy when you want to buy third-party cables to place around your home.
Google engineer Benson Leung stepped up to the challenge of making sure third-party cables are up to spec by testing every single type of USB-C cable he could find on Amazon and reporting the results in a comprehensive review. The result is a huge spreadsheet that you should consult before you buy any USB-C cables on Amazon.
To help alleviate that problem, Satechi has a new $30 accessory that acts like a pass-through adapter between the cable and the USB-C device. The screen on the adapter provides real-time data about the connection including its power draw in both directions, voltage, amps, and the amount of energy transferred since the device was plugged in.
Using the device with an external battery pack will even let you know if it’s supplying the proper amount of power to a smartphone based on the manufacturer claims. It’s not a surge protector though, so don’t buy this device thinking it’ll protect you from faulty cables. It’s merely a tool to see how much power your devices are drawing. It’s up to you to know the limits of your device.