Review: MicFlip, Titan M and Choetech cables
Don't switch off, cables are something we all need in the smartphone world. Moreover, at least two of these have unique features that might well have you reaching for your wallet: reversibility and indestructibility. No, really....
First off, it's the MicFlip, with a big 'Don't Care!' legend across the packaging. Essentially, the manufacturers have had a look at the traditional microUSB connector and worked out that, with some lateral thinking, it can be made fully reversible, for both data and power, compatible with all existing devices.
This reversible magic is made possible by the USB spec itself, which apparently has enough flexibility that the pin assignments can work either way round (with the electronics working out what to do) - meaning that the folks at WinnerGear just needed to worry about the physical aspects of the microUSB jack.
The magic happens thanks to the usually supported internal pins in a traditional jack being replaced by pairs of strongly sprung independent pins - pairs, because the 'blade' in a microUSB socket needs to pass through the middle of each connected pair.
The cable works as advertised, in that you really can plug it into any phone either way round and everything just works. I'd raise just one note of caution - the sprung pins take a few 'insertions' to wear in, or at least loosen up, meaning that you'll have to apply more force than usual the first few times. I was a bit dubious, but after two weeks in use the connector now goes in more smoothly and no microUSB ports have broken.
It's also worth noting that the USB-A (i.e. the large 'desktop' end of the cable ISN'T reversible. You'd have thought that doing a similar number on the other end would make sense too. Maybe one for the MicFlip 2? Or maybe the electronics would get confused by a potential double reversal?
You can find the MicFlip here. It comes in two sizes, 20cm and 200cm, and the prices are very reasonable.
Next up it's the 'Titan M', claimed to be 'the toughest cable on earth. Encased in 'reinforced flexible steel', it'll take any punishment, any accidents. The promos show people trying (and failing) to cut it with power tools!
The packaging is very heavy duty too. I had to spend 5 minutes with an old swiss army knife before the cable could be prised loose. Of course, unlike with other accessories, there was no danger whatsoever of cutting through the cable itself. Phew!
The feel in the hand is like the stems of those miniature desk lamps that stay in the position you put them in. The Titan M does the same, you twist and position it as you want it, and it'll basically stay put. It's all wonderfully over the top for a humble microUSB cable and, as with the MicFlip above, the price is very reasonable considering the materials.
You have to hold the Titan M in the hand to appreciate it - the connectors are extra-durable too, leaving just the potential weak point of the phone microUSB socket and its mounting on the motherboard.
So, over the top, but oh-so-magnificently done! Around 1m long, you can find the Titan M here.
Third, a pair of USB Type C cables from Choetech - Type C to Type C and Type A ('old' USB) to Type C. You just know that you're going to lose the one that came with your Lumia 950 or 950 XL, so these are a decent replacement at a nominal cost (each £6 including VAT in the UK).
The mouldings are very solid and I tested these cables with my Lumias and with Continuum, with no issues. Each is a metre long and in black. Definitely no frills, but a great choice if you're replacing an original manufacturer charging/data sync cable.
Something a little different for Christmas then - I don't always prattle on about smartphones! And the first two items would make pretty good gifts for the geek in your life?
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at