I've lost count of the number of times I've snagged the power cord on a laptop and either forcibly yanked the cord out of the power socket or sent it on a quick trip earthward in the not-so-gentle hands of Sir Isaac Newton (or, on a really bad day, both). The day I moved to a MacBook was the day that I thought that this problem was in my past, thanks to the MagSafe break-away connector. And let me tell you that the connector helped save my expensive laptop quite a few times over the years.
But as Apple has transitioned away from the magnetically-coupled MagSafe connector to USB-C, the problem has returned to haunt me.
Briefly, at least.
Over the past few days, I've been testing out a prototype of a product called ThunderMag, which is a magnetic break-away connector designed specifically for USB-C ports. Developed by innerexile, the ThunderMag is a small two-piece adapter that connects to a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port on your MacBook.
One part of the detachable plug goes into a free USB-C port on the Mac itself, and the other goes on the end of the USB-C cable. You can use this on both charging cables or any other USB-C cable you have attached to your Mac.
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Here's what ThunderMag promises:
- Strong magnetic latching
- Supports 100W fast power charge
- 4K/5K video & audio transmission
- Up to 40G/bps data transfer
- Reversible 24 pin plug design
- Dust resistant and yank-safe
- Short circuit and over-current protection
- Suitable for USB-C MacBook Pro and other Type C devices
Does ThunderMag live up to these promises? In a word, yes. The magnetic connection is reliable, but also detaches in a controlled manner when the power cable is handled roughly, and it has no detrimental effect on either charging speed or data transfer.
I can't see a reason to not use ThunderMag.
The project is currently in the crowdfunding stage on Kickstarter, so I'm breaking with my usual position to cover it. But having used the prototype for a few days, I have to say that I'm hooked (I have to send the prototype I'm using back, so I have to go back to being careful when I use my new MacBook Pro!). It brings security and peace-of-mind to MacBook owners (or those who own any laptop that used USB-C), and dramatically reduced the risk of damaging the port – or the laptop – through a moment's lack of attention.
The ThunderMag, once it is released, will be a must-have for all MacBook owners and anyone with a laptop that uses USB-C.
Highly recommended! I can't wait for the final product to launch.
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