Charging devices is one of the unpleasant and time-consuming tasks that we gadget addicts must endure, thanks to the primitive state of electrochemical energy storage. While ultracapacitors have not yet set us free from the torturous charging wait time, there are products that purport to make that wait time shorter. Bench Soft sent us this cable, which they claim will charge your Android device twice as fast as a standard USB cable when plugged into a desktop or laptop USB port. There is a caveat that you cannot use this in a hub, it has to be plugged directly into your computer.
The reason that regular USB cables fall short on charging when plugged into a computer is, according to the product page, that the USB is busy communicating with your computer, which limits the amount of throughput available for charging. This is plainly seen when trying to hook an iPad up to the computer…it will sync but there isn’t enough left to support charging.
This cable can be used in either Charge mode (which disables the data connection but allows a 2000 mA current to flow unimpeded to your device) or in USB mode, where it will trickle charge but allow you to use the data connection. A switch on the side of the cable activates or deactivates the charge mode.
In the forward position, the cable is in charge mode and a small orange LED illuminates on the end of the cable.
In the reverse position, the cable is in data mode but I do not recommend trying to connect it to your cat’s nose.
The cable itself is one meter in length and is very sturdy. Should my cat Jack attempt to chew through it, it should withstand at least the initial attempts. Then again, Jack decided to chew the corner of my LG IPS monitor this morning and one bite destroyed the display:
So he has the bite pressure of a Great White shark. Still, this cable should hold up relatively well.
So does this cable do what the manufacturer says it does? I ran six tests, using my Google Nexus 7 as the test device. I used Battery Monitor Widget (a free app) to keep track of the charge status for each test. In the first set of tests, I tried the Bench Soft cable both in the on and off positions as well as a random USB cable I plucked out of my cable drawer plugged into an iPad USB charger plugged into the wall. Then I repeated the three tests plugging into the USB port on my MacBook Pro Retina 13. Here are the results. All charge times are based on charging the Nexus 7 from 23% to 100%.
Bench Soft 2X cable in the ON position plugged into the iPad AC-USB charger: 170 minutes
Bench Soft 2X cable in the OFF position plugged into the iPad AC-USB charger: 160 minutes
Random USB cable plugged into the iPad AC-USB charger: 150 minutes
So you will get no benefit from using this cable with your USB charger as the whole conductor is used for charging and not for data connection. So I repeated the exercise as directed, into the USB port of my sleeping MacBook Pro 13.
Bench Soft 2X cable in the ON position plugged into the MacBook Pro USB port: 160 minutes
Bench Soft 2X cable in the OFF position plugged into the MacBook Pro USB port: 405 minutes
Random USB cable plugged into the MacBook Pro USB port: 390 minutes
This is a VERY dramatic difference in charge times. Now, I don’t ever charge through the USB port of my computer but if you have to, this cable will definitely perform as advertised!
I don’t know if this cable will have similar performance on other USB Micro-charged devices but I suspect if they can connect to your computer for data transfer, the impact of this cable should be comparable. It is marketed specifically as an Android device charger and, for the very specific conditions it is designed for, it really works well. Whether it is worth the $15 Pyramid Distribution is asking for it will depend entirely on how often you charge your devices through your computer’s USB port.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Pyramid Distribution. Please visit their site for more info.