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My favorite USB-C accessory of all time has a magnetic superpower (and it's up to 25% off)

USB-C ports can be fragile and susceptible to damage. This MagSafe-like accessory addresses that problem, and is currently on sale.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
A magnetic breakaway USB-C connector on a blue background

Magnetic breakaway USB-C connector - right angle configuration.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • These 140W and 240W USB-C connectors have a MagSafe-type mechanism that makes it more secure and powerful to use than traditional adapters.
  • With prices starting at less than $22 for a pack of two, this accessory is a must-have for travelers, tech enthusiasts, and folks who often switch between different cables and ports.
  • Just be mindful of where you store the connector, as they are small and potentially easy to misplace.

This might be one of the best USB-C accessories I've ever purchased. Although simple and straightforward, it has protected my USB-C ports from damage numerous times and prevented laptops from being pulled to the floor by people (usually me) tripping over the charging cable.

Also: The most flexible USB-C cable I've tested can also deliver 240W of power

It's a magnetic breakaway USB-C connector similar to Apple's MagSafe connector, compatible with all your devices, from smartphones and tablets to power banks, docks and laptops, including MacBooks that lack MagSafe. I've got a good handful of these connectors and I use them daily. 

View at Amazon

And the best thing of all is that it doesn't slow down data transfer or charging. The connector has 24 pins, so every channel on the USB-C cable is carried through the connector, resulting in no comprises to speed.

The magnetic breakaway connector carried all 24-pins, ensuring full speed and power transfer

The magnetic breakaway connector carried all 24-pins, ensuring full speed and power transfer

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

And I know this, because I've been busy testing a bunch of them to find you the best and cheapest model.

A magnetic breakaway USB-C connector consists of two parts: the first part is the USB-C port that plugs into the device you want to protect -- be that a laptop, smartphone, charger, power bank, or otherwise -- and the other part that goes on the end of the cable you're going to use.

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A super-strong neodymium magnet keeps the two parts together when in use until there's a pull on the connector, and then the two parts come apart. The magnets are very strong and pull the two parts together with a very decisive snap. It's a simple idea, yet brilliantly designed.

The magnetic USB-C connector snapping into place.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Magnetic breakaway USB-C connector tech specs

  • Power: 140W and 240W versions
  • Data transfer: Up to 40Gb/s
  • Video output: Up to 8K@60Hz
  • Connection type: 24-pin
  • LED indicator: Yes
  • Dustproof: Yes 

Just a note on the different versions of this product: I've tested both the 140W and 240W versions of this connector, and both reacted identically in the thermal and resistance tests. This make sense, as these are just pass-through connectors, with the only active element being the LED light, leading me to conclude that the 140W versions just have the older branding. 

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I've used similar breakaway USB-C connectors before, back when Apple removed the MagSafe charging port from the MacBook Pro. But things have come a long way since then: These connectors have been given a revamp, improving the design and the magnet, and bringing them up to date with support for features such as 140W charging.

These breakaway connectors come in three different types -- straight, 90° elbow, and right-angle.

The magnet on the breakaway connector is strong.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Personally, I like the elbow design. It feels like the most versatile and secure. In my testing, I found that the straight and right-angled connectors were easier to pull apart, resulting in more accidental breakaways. Still, I'd much prefer to deal with an accidental breakaway than a laptop that's been dragged to the ground.

The connectors also feature a handy LED light, so you can tell if a device is charging. 

The part of the connector that goes into the USB-C port can sometimes be a bit hard to remove, especially if like me you have rubbish fingernails, so this pack comes with a loop of string to aid in removal. I find this to be a really nice touch. 

Handy loop of string for removal

Handy loop of string for removal.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's buying advice

The good news is that these connectors are cheaper than ever. I remember paying well over $20 for a single connector, but now you can get a 2-pack for around $22 with a coupon on Amazon.

They're a simple, yet effective way to protect ports from damage and prevent laptops from being pulled to the floor. Investing a few dollars in a couple of these could save you thousands down the line.

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