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VoltaXL USB SnagSafe connector reviewed


VoltaXL USB SnagSafe connector

VoltaXL USB-C SnagSafe (MagSafe) cable reviewed.

With Apple’s move to USB-C on MacBooks in recent years, there has been dismay at the demise of the MagSafe connector, with several attempts by third parties to replicate the function with USB-C connectors.

The recently released iPad Pro 3rd Gen series has also moved to USB-C with added potential for accidental damage.

On the MacBook and iPad Pro, the standard USB-C connects with a satisfying ‘click’ ensuring it is fully inserted, however, this has a significant downside. An accidental trip is a recipe for smashed MacBook or iPad, which if you don’t have AC+, or other insurance, means significant cost.

Volta XL

The theory is simple. Stick a magnetic connector on the cable near one USB-C connector and all will be good with the world. – Not so easy. I’ve seen a previous attempt by another company that was okay for power delivery, though not data and was criticised for too low a release point.

XLred2

Volta, having experience with a previous Indiegogo project, the Volta, refocussed for this USB-C specific design Volta XL and almost hit it out of the park.

What it does well

This is one well-designed product, with good moulding at the strain relief, a solid 1.8M braided cable that seems to be very tangle resistant and of sufficient cross section to handle a decent current flow. Used on a MacBook Pro 15” with an almost flat battery, there was no sign of heat buildup in the cable.

Tests with both MacBook Pro and iPad Pro showed a strong connection between the two components, though a good ‘break’ with a tug that might be expected to pull the lighter iPad off of a desk. It seems to strike the right balance between a secure connection and peace of mind.

The power LED at the MagSafe end of the cable is great for a quick glance to confirm a connection.

The whole unit is packaged in a tidy circular case with a velcro cable management tie included. Presentation is definitely in line with other premium accessories.

Minor Niggle

IMG 2235

This really is quite a minor niggle. When fully inserted, there is a slight unsightly gap between the connector and the body of the device. Most people may not notice, however, I felt the fit  (pictured) was not quite in the same league as Apple or Belkin. That said, it is a minor point.

Summary

Overall, this is the cable Apple should have shipped with their USB-C products, so kudos to the team at Volta for pulling this off.

With the well designed magnetic connector, professionally packaged, this is an item that should be in a good number of Mac and iPad owner’s Christmas stockings, though from feedback, it’s a little late to be ordering for delivery this year.

This great product is not just for we Apple aficionados, but also the ever-increasing number of USB-C equipped devices in the Android and Win worlds.

As with any Indiegogo project, there are risks, though Volta has had previous experience. Looking at feedback on the site, there is a mix of very happy customers who have received theirs, and those frustrated at the delay. It must be pointed out, the number of orders received far exceeds the initial project target, so I fully expect the guys to be flat out supplying. I do notice the Volta team are responding to questions on delivery and are advising customers of product being shipped out to them.

So close to a 5, but restricted to 4.5 Thumbs due to that gap.

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