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Sirmyself

Are Volta charging cables a scam? Magnetic cables comparison and review

Which option do you or would you prefer?  

4 members have voted

  1. 1. Which option do you or would you prefer?

    • Volta
      2
    • Plugies
      1
    • First2savvv
      1


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Posted · Original PosterOP

The concept of the product is probably a well know one within this community but basically, they sell phone charging cables where the connector tip and the cable are separated and connect together with magnets.

 

I could test first hand these awesome cables along with different options I could find on massdrop (v3 plugies) and amazon (First2savvv) and here's my personal thoughts about those products. Before I go with my review of the 3 options, note that all 3 support bidirectional plugging and data transfer and boast to support fast-charging, like most magnet cables on the market.

 

First, the cheapest option : First2savvv is a company based in china that sells pretty much a knockoff version of Volta's cables. The magnet connector is similar (basically the same as I can use them interchangeably) and the options are the same as Volta's. The cables support fast-charge when the LED faces the same way as the screen, they are braided as well and have pretty much the same feel than Volta albeit being slightly more flimsy. The difference with this one is that sweet sweet price tag : 20.98$ CAD for a pair of cable and connector. The connection can easily disconnected if the cable tilts, so you can barely lift your phone and I would recommend to lie the phone on a flat surface or have a kickstand to be able to give a bit of a vertical angle to strengthen the magnet's connection. The cables were sent in a thick felt envelope with an elastic band to close it. It didn't feel cheap nor premium, but it was a nice touch to have a good reception experience. My only issue with this company is that the right angled cable do not fit the plugs for the straight cables making this company actually two options at a time... You either get a straight cable or a right angled one, but both are hardly compatible. The magnets are also on the fragile side. I dropped my phone from a foot high and managed to break the connector. Their return policy is acceptable and they have a limited warranty of 18 months.

 

Now comes the middle range. I bought the v3 plugies on Massdrop for 31.88$ USD (41.71$ CAD at the time of purchase) with an additional cable. The cable supports bidirectional connection with it's 5 pin cable and 5 pin connector tip configuration. The connector is kind of ugly looking on a device though since the connection part is sort of a notch sticking out of the magnet by about 1mm. The connection with the magnets is strong enough when the cable still lies on a surface, but if the edge of the surface, the weight of the cable may sometimes disconnect the cable from the connector. The cables are braided and solid and have a beautiful and shiny silver color if you're into it. I could select between micro-usb / usb type c / lightning connectors and like I said, there was an option to add a cable. On the website, there is an option for a right angled cable which seems to be totally compatible with their straight version,  but I can't test them. I could find no warranty information whatsoever either on the massdrop page nor on the website, so I would assume their offer is either similar to first2savvv or inexistant in that matter for now. I didn't like them much compared to the First2savvv cables, so I gave them to my mother and she is using on her tablet and she does like the product. Their main strong point compared to the other ones though is that it have a really good grip even if the cable dangles with an angle.

 

Finally comes the main attraction : Volta. Those cable cost 23.00$ USD (31.02$ CAD) for a single cable with 2 connector tips with an option to add a cable for 16$ USD (for a total of 52.59$ CAD). That price tag is justified by their lifetime warranty where you only pay for shipping fees (other conditions apply, but most of the time, you pay for shipping each first time you replace something). the rest is basically the same as First2Savvv, but a little better: Bidirectional 5 pin cables on a 10 pin magnet connector tip, same 3 connector options, braided cables, fast charge support, interchangeability between the connector tips and both the right angled cable and straight cable. They also have a super nice customer service since they have an actual web site unlike first2savvv which will communicate through amazon. My only complain is that it had pretty much the same issue than First2savvv's cable : the magnet has a hard time holding its grip when the force applied to the cable is not absolutely straight inline with the connector. The connection is stronger than First2savvv's, but the cable still disconnects if it does not lie on a flat surface or if it doesn't have a vertical angle.

 

Bottom line, Are the Volta cable a scam compared to other options? I'd say no. You pay a bigger price for a bigger user experience. Buying from first2savvv will save you  a buck, but with their shorter warranty and slightly lower product quality for their connector, you may end up buying more cables rather than cheaply replacing your faulty parts, which may result in a higher amount of many spent. I also broke 2 connectors from my First2savvv set and when I came to buy the tips, I HAD to buy the cables as well, so there is no replacement options here. Volta has a better customer service and more flexibility for your orders and you pay for both the product and the customer experience. For the Plugies, I didn't like them but my mother did, so basically it depends on your personal taste, but don't rely on the computer generated pictures where the connector is flat, the connection part is not and you can see actual pictures of the connector on the product page.


first2savvv : amazon canada amazon US (I could only find the straight cable on the US site and there seem to only have a USB type C connector option. Maybe wil will have more time or luck than me to check)
Plugies : Massdrop official plugies website
Volta : Volta official website

 

Note : 

  • All prices above include taxes and shipping fees if applicable (shown price is actual price I paid)
  • I will update this review in a while, I just got my fast-charging block and I could not test the fast-charge support for the cables yet.

Dear diary: Today was not tomorrow and not yesterday, which I think is nice...

//Overengineering example:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>

using namespace std;

int main()
{
  string s = "Hello World";
  for (int i = 0; i < s.length(); ++i)
  {
      cout << s[i];
  }
  return 0;
}

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
Just now, Origami Cactus said:

Do the Volta cables also support data transfer, or are they power only?

Yes they do (I'll add it to the post)


Dear diary: Today was not tomorrow and not yesterday, which I think is nice...

//Overengineering example:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>

using namespace std;

int main()
{
  string s = "Hello World";
  for (int i = 0; i < s.length(); ++i)
  {
      cout << s[i];
  }
  return 0;
}

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I just updated my review. Turns out I forgot to talk about the magnet capabilities to hold their grip at an angle.


Dear diary: Today was not tomorrow and not yesterday, which I think is nice...

//Overengineering example:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>

using namespace std;

int main()
{
  string s = "Hello World";
  for (int i = 0; i < s.length(); ++i)
  {
      cout << s[i];
  }
  return 0;
}

 

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You should try reviewing 1 of the original creators before Volta as they were quite late to the game. You can find many on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. 

The biggest company that's still around is Chargeasap who have like a 5th new version (and the world's first) that also works with PD charge, great for Macbook users like myself: 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP
6 hours ago, Ryan Leigh said:

You should try reviewing 1 of the original creators before Volta as they were quite late to the game. You can find many on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. 

The biggest company that's still around is Chargeasap who have like a 5th new version (and the world's first) that also works with PD charge, great for Macbook users like myself: 

 

I would gladly include an additional review if you can provide one! I reviewed what I had purchased.


Dear diary: Today was not tomorrow and not yesterday, which I think is nice...

//Overengineering example:

#include <iostream>
#include <string>

using namespace std;

int main()
{
  string s = "Hello World";
  for (int i = 0; i < s.length(); ++i)
  {
      cout << s[i];
  }
  return 0;
}

 

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