Some USB charging cables can’t tell the difference between a wall port and a USB port
If you buy a cheap generic micro USB charging cable from the internet or the guy on the market stall it might come as a surprise to you to discover that it may not actually be able to tell the difference between a wall port and a USB port. This in itself isn’t usually a problem, unless you want a surge of juice from your wall power charger and you’re limited to 500mAh USB speed.
A cheap USB charging cable can actually cause your device to charge more slowly
Most USB charging cables have both a data wire and a charging wire. But not all are the same. Buying a cheap USB charging cable will usually result in a low quality 28/28 gauge cable, not the 28/24 gauge cable that you will usually get when you buy a phone or tablet. This 24 gauge cable can handle up to 2amps, not only the 500mAh that the 28/28 can, meaning your phone should charge faster.
The Daily Mirror reported that devices can take around 5 hours to charge with authentic chargers but more than 19 hours to charge with a fake. We’re not saying all cheap cables are fakes but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on what you’re buying.
They’re rumoured to be able to break your phone
It was reported back in 2014 that cheap USB Lightening cables were actually damaging iPhone 5’s by breaking a logic board component called the U2 IC chip – the chip that controlled the battery, sleep button and USB port. That’s an expensive piece of kit to break by saving a few quid on a cheaper cable. And who’s to say it won’t happen again?
They could ruin your phone’s battery
When you charge your battery you want your charger to have the correct circuitry that “understands” that your battery is full and stops sending power to it. If the charger doesn’t have this circuitry – or indeed has any other faults – this could seriously damage your device’s battery and therefore the life of your device. Needless to say, most replacement batteries don’t come cheap.
They may even be able to kill you
We’re always warned that cheap or fake charging cables could cause a fire. There have been stories of fake chargers exploding in hands, causing serious burns and electrical shocks. But in 2014 in Sydney it was reported that a woman actually died after an apparent electrocution from a cheap, uncertified USB charger.
We think it’s worth buying the best USB charging cable you can afford, specifically built for your device. Buying cheap cables at best slows down your device’s charging time and at worst actually become a serious hazard. Always check the packaging to make sure that the charging cables you’re buying are certified and are designed for your particular device.