Satechi’s $30 Power Meter is designed to weed out bad USB-C cables

Satechi couldn’t have picked a better time to announce its USB-C Power Meter. Early last year, Benson Leung of Google’s Chromebook Pixel team discovered some troubling results when he systematically tested a number of cheap cords purchased off of Amazon, ultimately wreaking havoc on his own equipment. In November, Google issued a strongly worded advisement against third party fast charging.

Earlier this week, Dell recalled 101,000 batteries (bringing the total number north of 140,000) due to overheating concerns. And then, of course, there’s Samsung, whose train wreck of a phablet really cemented the potential threat of exploding devices in mainstream consciousness through a pair of high profile recalls and constant reminders from flight attendants.

All of which is to say that now is a great time capitalize on things by releasing a $30 peripheral that measures how much power your USB-C cable is transferring – a legit concern given what the technology is capable of. The product is pretty simplistic: plug the connected cable into one end and plug the other into a laptop port, and it will tell you the voltage, amps, and direction in real time.

It’s probably more peace of mind than serious research tool – and certainly it won’t stand in for the manner of data Leung compiled. And at the end of the day, your best bet it probably just going ahead and spending a little extra to pick up a USB-C cable from a reputable manufacturer.