ARE USB-C CABLES ALL THE SAME?
PCWorld|August 2021
WE COMPARE $9 AND $19 AMAZON BASICS CABLES
GORDON MAH UNG

SPOILER: THE CHEAP CABLE HAS SOME LIMITATIONS.

Are all USB-C cables the same? That’s what we wondered when we found two different Amazon Basics models, one priced at about $9 and the other at $19. Is the cheaper USB-C cable just as good, or are we getting something extra with the more expensive one?

To complement our related story on how to buy a USB-C cable (go.pcworld. comh2uc/), we tested the $8.62 Amazon Basics cable as well as the $18.99 upgrade to find out what you get and what you give up. We applied the same rules for the two Amazon Basics cables in charging speed, data transfer speed, and connecting to a display. In the end, we did find reasons why the more expensive cable might be worth it—and a few scenarios where the cheaper cable would be just as good. Keep reading to learn more.

OBVIOUS PHYSICAL DIFFERENCES

There are a few significant physical differences in the cables themselves. The weight and thickness of each cable is hard to see unless you have both, as we do. The $8.62, 6-foot cable weighs just 38 grams, versus 86 grams for the $18.99, 6-foot Amazon Basics cable. Although the sheathing adds to that weight, some of the weight also comes from the additional wires inside, and the thickness (or gauge) of those wires. When they’re coiled up, you can see the difference (image below with the cheap cable on the left, and the expensive one on the right).

CHARGING PERFORMANCE

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