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Is That Knock-Off Charging Cable Going to Fry Your Smartphone?

Satechi’s new USB-C power meter can tell you.

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We’ve all lost a charging cable. And in our dire need to prevent our smartphones, tablets or laptops from dying, we purchased a third-party cable — probably from the local bodega or pharmacy. But are those cables as good? And are they safe for your laptop or smartphone?

Satechi — the San Diego-based tech company know for laptop and smartphone accessories and cables — released a USB-C Power Meter ($30) that’s designed to tell people if their charging cables (USB-C only) are working safely and up to standards. The small device measures power input and output (volts, amps and mAh) from USB Type-C cables.

At first glance, the power meter seems like a good way for people to know that their MacBook Pro or Google Pixel won’t get fried. But it’s still recommended to go to a trusted electrical engineer for confirmation. And ultimately, the best course of action is to buy a charging cable from the device’s manufacturer, or a trusted third party like Belkin, Anker or Satechi. The extra cost is worth the peace of mind.

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Buy Now: $30

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