Googler rips into “dangerous” USB-C cables: Benson Leung (aka LaughingMan)

LaughingMan takes to Amazon reviews to vent his spleen

USB-C Google Benson Leung laughingman
Credit: Amazon

USB-C is super-cool. But some cables and adaptors can be “downright dangerous.”

So says a Google employee, who’s been buying them on Amazon and testing to see if they meet the specs or not. A surprising number do not.

Benson Leung is extremely polite in his reviews, but doesn't hold back from calling out products that “blatantly flaunt the spec.”

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers tread carefully.

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Quentyn Kennemer is no fan of dodgy wires:

USB Type-C is an exciting new standard...but some of the accessories...aren’t all great.

In fact, some seem to be dangerous, or so says one Googler. [He] has done his part to list the exact issues in each review

If you’re in need of a USB Type-C accessory soon then you’ll want to see if he has reviewed it to make sure it’s up to par.  MORE

Benson Leung explains himself:

My team at Google has been very big proponents and innovators of USB Type-C. ... It really is an amazing little connector.

I have started reviewing USB cables on Amazon because I have gotten fed up with the early cables from 3rd party vendors that so blatantly flaunt the specification. ... What some...vendors are doing is downright dangerous.

Type-A to Type-C cable from Orzly is not within USB specification, and may cause damage.

TechMatte USB-C to Micro USB not compliant...and will not properly charge Chromebook Pixel.

Juiced Systems...USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable does not follow the USB specification; may cause damage.

Monba USB Micro-B receptacle to Type-C adapter does NOT follow the USB spec, will not charge Chromebook Pixel.

Kupx Micro USB-B receptacle to USB Type-C adapter is not within USB Spec; may cause damage.

CableCreation Micro-B receptacle to Type-C plug adapter is out of spec. May cause damage.  MORE

Kwame Opam churns out this reminder:

USB Type-C is undoubtedly the future, thanks to its reversible design, super-fast speed and high power output.

[But] there's a whole world of third-party cables out there...just waiting to destroy your new device.  MORE

So Kif Leswing draws this conclusion:

Knockoff gadget cables aren’t worth it.

USB-C is very exciting. ... It’s reversible, so there’s no fumbling for the right way to plug it in. It transfers data quickly and can even be plug a monitor into your desktop.

Leung has taken to calling out bad cable vendors in Amazon reviews under the username LaughingMan.  MORE

Sebastian Anthony expands on that theme:

The USB Type C 1.1 specification allows for power delivery of up to 3A, which is enough juice to charge a laptop.

According to Leung, the problem is mostly related to how the cables deal with going from older Type A...connectors to the new Type C connector.

For the time being, until cheap third-party USB Type C cables and adaptors become a little more mature, it's probably a good idea to stick to official products.  MORE

Meanwhile, Todd Townsend has this suggestion for Leung and Google:

You are becoming a minor celebrity on the net.

Would be great if Google could do this for some other products/accessories that work with Google products. Can have a "Verified by Google Engineering" badge or something similar.  MORE

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by , who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
View Comments
Join the discussion
Be the first to comment on this article. Our Commenting Policies