Are Cheap MagSafe-Like Adapters for USB-C Worthwhile?

Originally published at: Are Cheap MagSafe-Like Adapters for USB-C Worthwhile? - TidBITS

Adam Engst loves his M1-based MacBook Air but is missing the stellar user experience of the old MagSafe charging technology from his old 2012 MacBook Air. He found a cheap magnetic charging solution from various Chinese manufacturers.

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Glad I could inspire you to write this, Adam!

And I agree exactly with your conclusions – never use a magnetic connector for data, and while these nubbins aren’t perfect, they’re quite nice for the price.

One tiny niggle to add. While I love that they connect with any orientation (convenient depending on the direction of your power cable), mine only have an LED charging indicator on one side, so sometimes it ends up upside-down and you can’t see it. In those cases I tend to listen for the Mac’s “connected” charging ping, but sometimes that’s hard to hear, and the lightning bolt on the menubar icon can be too small to see.

Also, twice I had mine connected (light was on), but my computer didn’t seem to be charging, but that is rare and a tiny adjustment to the connector made it start charging.

Overall I am very pleased with these and they make connecting my Macs to charge much easier, and when I want to grab a laptop and go somewhere else, it’s trivial and I don’t have to muck with USB-C (which tends to plug in quite firmly).

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A good point about the LED, and I should add that in. I actually see it as a feature because there are times (hotel rooms) where I really don’t want the LED to be super bright, and having it pointed down might dim it sufficiently that I don’t have to put a sock over it.

Volta cables are definitely worth checking out as well. I just picked up one of their new 100W Spark cables and usb-c tips and it works great. They also have a lifetime guarantee. The price is a little steep, but overall it’s a quality magsafe alternative.

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I wouldn’t call 20€ cheap. But the MagSafe-Like adaptor was the first accessory I bought for the Air. I use the laptop on the lap so the adaptor is absolutely necessary.

Mine is a bit larger than the ones shown here which means that I can only use one port. The nubbins aren’t easily detachable from the laptop.

The connection to my headset isn’t good and sometimes the headset loses connection.

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Agreed, never understood the calamity of those complaining about the loss of mag-safe charging when you could buy one of the many alternatives.

But looking at the new Apple Silicon SoC power usage, rapid charging and all day and then some battery life; makes me wonder if it’s only ever going to be plugged in at night or maybe during lunch and that is it. Reports of 20 hours on the 13" MBP M1 while under load even. Reports of the battery lasting days with casual usage patterns. The need to plug it in to use it will be virtually gone.

When the next generation of processors ship and Apple delivers even more performance while maintaining the same power efficiency I won’t be able to pull my wallet out fast enough. I was going to build an AMD Threadripper workstation but decided to wait for GPU’s. Well that was a mistake and now the CPU’s are 2-3X MSRP as well. I bet Apple won’t have any problems delivering product when they ship.

From what I’ve seen, we are witnessing a massive disruption on par with the iPhone and iPad. It will take a long time for PC’s to catch up. Merely using an ARM design won’t be enough. Apple has at least a decade head start and the Apple Silicon is not an ARM design but merely an ARM clone that can run the ARM instruction set and it does it better than most other designs.

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Right after I bought my new MacBook Air M1 I almost pulled it off a table by tripping over the power cable. I decided that I was going to figure out a MagSafe solution. I ended up buying a two Ansbell Magnetic USB C Adapter, 9Pins Magnetic Adapter for $19.99 each. I liked the l shape connecter and they work great for both power and USB. I also bought a two-pack of USB-c to USB adaptors for my legacy headphones and other older USB accessories. With the adaptors, they are a bit Rube Goldberg but it’s worth it not worrying about tripping and dropping my new MacBook Air which btw I just love!
Here’s what I bought:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0831KYRD2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CVX3516/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I’ve had two of these adapters. Both stopped working in fairly short order for no apparent reason, so I’m reluctant to buy another. My newer Air is superior to my old one in every other way, but I really, really miss the MagSafe charger.

I have backed a number of Magsafe style cables through Kickstarter. The best I have found is from https://chargeasap.com. They stand behind their product, their current cable, the Infinity series, comes with a 15 year warranty. Some of their original cables had some issues with their pins, but this is their fourth incarnation, and they have learned a lot. My favorite feature is you can get different tips, so one cable can be used with lightning (iPhone, iPad), USB-C (new portables), and Micro USB (Android stuff). And the latest iteration has stronger magnets.
Granted, they are not cheap, but in the long run, are less expensive than constantly having to replace cables or accidentally breaking your device due to tripping over a cable.

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For my macbook pro is searched and found on Amazon a great mag adapter tradename Upmely for about $ 20
Has strong magnet, and IF one picks a usb cable carefully, does not block adjacent port.

Magnetic USB C Adapter,Type C Connector, USB 3.1 10 Gb/s PD,100W Quick Charge - 4 K @ 60 Hz High Resolution - Supports High Speed, Compatible with MacBook Pro/Pixelbook/Matebook (Gray)
[Brand: Upmely]

And it works in both directions with with a green light on outside to show charging/use
Have only used it for charging

As an alternative for a M1 MacBook Air, maybe consider a compatible USB-c battery pack. To avoid draping the power cable through an area where it could be kicked or tugged.

A battery pack is also more versatile to charge phones etc.