Not all USB leads will charge your phone equally, a comparison test.

Like many people I have acquired several mains USB chargers and a collection of USB leads with a Micro B connector on one end as used for charging so many mobile phones and tablet computers these days.

I realised that the mains chargers had different power outputs and thus charged at different rates, but a USB lead is a USB lead isn’t it? Well I had heard rumours that some USB leads charge better than others. When I came across the Android app Ampere on the Google Play Store which gives shows how fast your device is charging or discharging I realised I could check this out for myself.

Testing USB mains chargers

Having installed Ampere on my Motorola Moto G phone I first tried my three USB mains chargers in turn to be able to conduct the lead experiment using the most powerful. I was not surprised that the lowest powered one was a small charger that came with an Alcatel mobile phone. The other two mains chargers gave similar results to each other, the one that came out on top had been bundled with a Tesco Hudl tablet computer.

Testing USB Leads

So on to testing USB leads, would different leads charge at different rates? The answer is yes, and by a significant amount.

Below are three of the leads I tested that I thought best illustrated this with the results I got from Ampere.


The white Alcatel USB lead

Ironically the the best lead for charging came with the same Alcatel mobile phone which had the lowest powered mains USB charger. As can be seen below Ampere recorded a charging current of 1040mA using a Tesco Hudl charger to charge a Moto G phone.


The 99p red and yellow USB lead

I bought this one on Ebay. I saw it on sale for only 99p including free postage from the far east and thought at that price I will get one just to see how well made it is. Well it looks good but when I tested it with Ampere it only managed 720mA and thus the phone would take noticeably longer to reach full charge.


The flat USB lead

Another one bought on Ebay for 99p and sent from China or Hong Kong, but I have also seen ones that look identical on sale in the Original Factory Shop. Again I had bought this out of curiosity.

This was by far and away the worst performing lead in my charging test. As can be seen below at just 450mA it managed less than half the charging current of the best USB lead.


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