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Is this 6-in-1 keychain charging cable a gimmick or pure genius? I tested it and found out

Multi-connector charging cables on your keychain have been gaining popularity lately, but are they actually useful?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Zeus-X Go 6-in-1 universal cable by Futurizta
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Zeus-X Go 6-in-1 universal cable is available from Futurizta for $39.
  • It's a well-made universal cable that features every combination most people will ever need while supporting a 240W power transfer.
  • It's bulky, and the powder-coated finish isn't all that durable. Plus, if you primarily use USB-C, you probably don't need it.

When I shared details about my keychain EDC (Every Day Carry), several readers inquired why my setup lacked a multi-connector x-in-1 "universal" keychain charge cable, like the widely-advertised Zeus-X Go Ultra 6-in-1 universal cable by Futurizta, which I've seen all across social media lately.

Also: 10 tiny 'everyday carry' tools and gadgets I keep on my keychain

Here's the honest truth -- we have a bit of a complicated history. I actually did carry one for several years, and it turned out to be quite bulky and unwieldy, so over time I found myself using it less and less. But in the spirit of science, and in an attempt to reignite my affection for such gadgets, I got my hands on the Zeus-X Go Ultra for testing. I was ready to give it another go with a fresh perspective.

View at Futurizta

Zeus-X Go Ultra tech specs

  • Features USB-C/USB-A to USB-C/Lightning/microUSB
  • Zinc alloy shell
  • Ergonomic 180° swivel & 360° rotate mechanism
  • 240W Power Delivery and USB 3.1 support
  • Built-in E-Mark smart chip
  • Compact
  • Anti-tangle

The Zeus-X Go Ultra, a 6-in-1 cable, features a versatile connector on one end that switches between USB-A and USB-C. On the other end, it offers a multi-purpose connector that alternates among USB-C, Lightning, and microUSB.

This end transforms from USB-C to Lightning and microUSB.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Connecting the two ends is a 2-inch (5 cm) flexible ribbon cable, with ends crafted from zinc alloy and finished with powder coating. It has the look and feel of a gadget designed by someone who grew up watching Transformers. 

However, the durability of the powder coating has been less impressive than I anticipated, showing considerable chipping after just a few weeks of use. While this wear is purely cosmetic and may not bother everyone, it could be a significant drawback for those who prioritize aesthetics.

The powder coating is showing signs of significant chipping after only a few weeks of light use.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The two ends are secured with strong neodymium magnets, and a non-detachable rubberized cap covers the connectors when they're not in use.

Also: Why I limit my iPhone 15's charge capacity to 80% (and you should you too)

Overall, the cable lives up to its promises. It comes equipped with all the advertised connectors, which function reliably. The USB-C to USB-C portion is indeed equipped with an E-Mark smart chip, and it supports up to 240W of power transfer. Additionally, it is indeed very hard to tangle.

But there are downsides.

In addition to the powder coating issue, the fit and finish of the screws and screw holes leave something to be desired. I know that it's a cable and not a Fabergé egg, but when I carry this thing in my pocket, the screws have a tendency to catch on my skin. Not something you want to be carrying around all day.

Ultimately, these are just minor nit-picks. It's a good cable, it works well, and if you want to simplify your load out of gear, it's a good option. 

But, there's one final issue I have with this device: it's just so bulky.

This is bulky!
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

And it adds a lot of extra bulk to a keychain, and as you can see, I'm not resistant to having a bulky keychain.

That's a lot of extra bulk on my keychain.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Considering that approximately 99% of my cable requirements are for a USB-C to USB-C connection, and I seldom need a microUSB connector, opting for a smaller cable makes more sense for me. something where I can get two cables for under $10, for example. If I lose one of these or leave it at a job, no big deal!

If I need something more fancy, there are options such as a small, flexible ribbon USB-C cable that supports 100W power transfer for under $10 too. 

In my tool bag, these keychain cables prove to be too compact for my liking, so I prefer carrying something longer, something in the three-foot or even six-foot size range. 

ZDNET's buying advice

If you're someone who appreciates having a Swiss Army Knife of cables, especially if you frequently use devices with microUSB and Lightning ports (yes, Apple's Lightning ports are now considered legacy), then a Zeus-X Go 6-in-1 universal cable might be exactly what you need. And at $39, it's hardly going to break the bank.

However, if you find the world around you has shifted over to USB-C, then you might be better off just grabbing yourself a few cheap cables, such as those found in the Amazon Basics line.  

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