While many people think that USB-C is a relatively new method of connectivity the truth is that it’s been available as a connector since 2014. For the past six years, it’s been slowly phased in as the data and charging connector of choice for smartphone designers, computer manufacturers, and accessory makers.
USB-C was actually developed alongside the USB 3.1 specification and until last year, it was only capable of operating at speeds of 10 and 20 GB/s. In 2019, however, USB4 was released as the first USB transfer protocol that is available through USB-C. Now, a USB-C cable enabled with USB4 can transfer at speeds up to 40 GB/s. ACCELL Corporation released a brand new USB4 capable cable that is an all-in-one connector for data, video, and power.
Specifications And Features
The cable comes in a simple plastic zipper pouch. The front of the bag has a sticker on the front that includes all the details of the cable. As far as cable quality goes, it feels exceptionally thick. The cable is still flexible, but it’s stiff at first which isn’t unusual for new cables in my experience. Because it’s only 2.6ft long, you are limited as to what you can use it for as far as placement of devices you are hooking it up to.
As a first test, I decided to plug my iPad Pro in to charge using this new USB-C cable. It connected right away and started charging. Next, I decided to test the cable out by connecting and running speed tests on a couple of external hard drives. Both hard drives are made by G-Technology and are designed for mobile use. The G-Drive Mobile Pro holds an SSD in its case and connects using Thunderbolt 3. The G-Drive Mobile USB-C has a standard 2.5-inch hard drive inside its case and connects using USB-C (USB 3.1, Gen 1).
These should be able to transfer information at 5 GB/s and 40GB/s respectively according to the specs provided by the manufacturer. This is if you’re using Thunderbolt 3 cables.
It is important to note that while Thunderbolt 3 and USB Type-C cables both use a Type-C connector, they are considerably different in a lot of ways. Most people will simply see the Type-C connector and just assume it’s one or the other and not know the real difference.
It’s important to note that even though a cable may be capable of certain speeds, the connected device may not be. You will notice that speed tests might vary depending on device you are using a specific cable with. This is likely because the device will regulate a top speed. The most interesting observation I made during these tests was actually the fact that the G-Drive Mobile Pro drive registered different data transfer speeds in the system profile information. When the USB4 cable was connected, the speed was listed as “up to 20 GB/s” and when it was connected with a Thunderbolt 3 cable, the speed was listed as “up to 40 GB/s”.
I believe the variance in the speed is because the USB4 cable is longer and therefore; passive. According to StarTech.com, active cables can achieve the full 40 GB/s while passive cables can only reach speeds up to 20 GB/s. The difference between the two cables; other than speeds; is their length. The active cables are 0.5m long. While the USB4 cable is only 0.8m in length, it’s still longer than the Thunderbolt 3 cable I used.
The speeds that the Accell cable managed to achieve on the Thunderbolt 3 drive were 1332 MB/s when writing and 1221 MB/s when reading. With a Thunderbolt 3 cable, speeds were roughly 150 MB/s more for both reading and writing.
The speeds on the USB-C drive were considerably lower. With the Accell cable, write speeds were right around 120 MB/s and read speeds were at 131 MB/s. As you can see, the difference between the types of drives makes a world of difference.
The Accell USB4 cable seems to work very well. At a price of $29.99 I’d say it’s a good investment at a decent price range. While I didn’t have any USB4 devices available for testing, the cable did prove to be a better asset than a standard USB-C cable. One thing I’ll note is that a USB4 cable can be very handy to carry around if you are using USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 devices so that you don’t have to carry around multiple cables. I don’t know for sure if this will work with all Thunderbolt 3 devices, but so far it has for me. While we don’t currently have an M1 MacBook Pro in-house once we do, this review will be updated with additional information.