Magnetic tangle-free USB cables are here

What if your cable could magnetically stick to himself, forming a neat coil that doesn’t get all floppy and tangled in your drawers and bags? What if they were also good cables, capable of charging and syncing everything via USB-C, Lightning, etc. ?

Well… you can now buy USB cables that do the first part! And they’re cool enough that I really wish cable makers understood the rest of that shit.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been testing some really nifty USB cables that can actually go around the magnetically coiled snake. Originally brought to the attention of the English-speaking world by a brand called SuperCalla, they are now sold by a whole host of no-name brands like Amazon and Alibaba. And they’re amazing toys, just as SuperCalla’s Indiegogo campaign promised over two years ago:

Picture: Super Calla

As you can see from my photo below, they totally wrap around like the GIF! They’re not exactly “self-winding” as some sellers claim, but the six-foot ones are really easy to pack.

Your coil may be taller or wider depending on the number of magnets per circle, but only these six-foot cables give you enough to work with.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

They work by threading magnetic beads and silicone sleeves onto a thin cable, like this:

You see, it’s only a magnetic bead when you take off the silicone sleeve. Both float freely on the cable.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

They can also stick to themselves in other ways:

You can make a cable fold back on itself.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

And, of course, you can attach them to all sorts of other ferrous metal objects and reel out as much cable as you need. I currently have one of these cables hanging from my metal microphone stand, another hanging from the corner of my wall, and another that travels neatly along the edge of my keyboard while it charges my phone:

The magnets stick to the steel plate of my Razer keyboard. It wouldn’t work with say an Apple keyboard as they are aluminum.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

Ready for fishing? I bought four different types of these cables, and they suck a lot of time (it’s a technical term) when transferring data, billing or both.

This one, which also has its own built-in blue LED light and interchangeable magnetic tips for USB-C, micro-USB and Lightning, won’t charge most of my USB-C gadgets at all, but I was able to throw some files from an external drive at mediocre USB 2.0 speeds and charge my iPhone via Lightning. It also has super weak coiled magnets and felt even cheaper than the others.

Magnets on magnets.

This USB-C to USB-C was pretty decent for charging, giving me 65W of USB-C PD power and had the best magnets of the bunch, but it didn’t connect at all to a Pixel 4A phone or my external USB-C drive. They just don’t show up on my desktop!

This USB-A to USB-C cable was the worst of the lot. Just wiggling it would disconnect whatever I had plugged in, and it topped out at 10W of charging – not the 15-18W I usually saw with my Pixel.

Finally, this USB-A to Lightning appears to be a SuperCalla cable, appearing in an “Original SuperCalla” box, even though it’s sold by a brand named “Tech”. Slow charging, slow data, but at least it seems to be staying reliably connected to my iPhone so far.

But that’s not the only tangle-free magnetic cable style I’ve found. I also bought this sleek accordion-style accordion, which is perhaps the best of the bunch: I’ve got a 15W load, and it feels better built than the rest.

The accordion cable can twist when you pull it apart.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

But it’s less fun to play with, the magnets aren’t as strong and it has a bit of an odd shape when fully extended because the joints are still sticking out. Additionally, it reaches USB 2.0 speeds of 480 Mbps (or around 42 MB/s in practice). I couldn’t find a C-to-C or Lightning version.

I would absolutely pay big bucks for a solid and reliable six-foot Easy Coil USB-C to USB-C cable with strong magnets, 100W USB-C PD charging, and at least 10 Gbps of USB 3 bandwidth .x.

The flexible tapes and gaskets seem durable, though.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

Or, if I’m really dreaming, how about 40 Gbps for USB 4? Let’s go all out and make the ultimate cable – give it a built-in power meter while you’re at it.

Right now all I’ve found are these cheap $10 novelty cables, and that’s such a shame. The magnet design deserves better, and so do we.

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