Cables, in our modern battery powered and data-driven lives they are both a necessity and a source of much pain, or at least they can be. Unfortunately, most contemporary smartphones simply don’t give you enough battery power to confidently get through every day without the need for a top up.
To achieve this we need cables, lots, and lots of cables. If I ever took a stocktake of just my USB cables I could only imagine how many I have between my Office, Car and multiple locations around my house.
The problem is getting a good cable, at a reasonable cost that will:
- Provide fast charging speeds
- Have good data connectivity
- Last more than 5 uses
We looked at one potential cable a few weeks back, the ZUS Kevlar Cable. I’ve had a production quality USB Type C review unit for a few weeks now, so how did it do? Let’s find out.
The ZUS come in 3 styles, Micro USB, USB Type-C and a lightning for any iOS users out there. All cables are 1.2m long, which is longer than the typical 90cm, but shorter than the 1.8m – which is the typical next size up. Nonda thinks this makes it the perfect left as an in-car cable. The ZUS also features a right angle USB A connector which ended up being equally useful and annoying depending on the application – more on that later.
The premium build of the cable is one of Nonda’s big selling points for the ZUS. The cable is reinforced with Kevlar fibers running the length of the cable, both surrounding each wire core and as reinforcement between the 4 wires.
According to Nonda this provides enhanced protection against damaged from stretching, curling or crimping, they are so confident of this they provide a lifetime guarantee on the cable. The whole cable is then encased in PVC and protected in a sturdy Nylon braiding that gives the cable a tough premium finish.
Quality is more than skin deep, and the ZUS aims to impress with the rest of the package. The cable has both grounded and shielded for improved reduction in transmission interference. Nonda has used high-quality wire to reduce resistance and has ensured that their cable meets all USB standards, including the latest USB Type-C specification – including the 56K Ohm resistor needed to stop our devices blowing each other up.
Looking at the rest of the cable the molded USB ends are excellent quality and the connectors snap in and out with the right mix of resistance and ease. The packaging is one area where Nonda have paid extra attention. The beautiful cardboard retail package slides out to reveal a perfectly recessed foam holder for the cable. The cable even includes it’s own velcro strap to make cable management easy.
Nonda is so engaged in the quality of the ZUS that they have been in contact with Benson Leung to get feedback on their cables from him. It would be unfair to Mr. Leung to quote him or say the cable had his endorsement, however, what I will say is I’m happy to plug this cable into my devices.
One quibble I have with the cable is the right angle USB A port. In some circumstances it is actually handy, fitting into a low clearance space, in others it makes no difference. If however, you wanted to plug two of these into a side by side port you couldn’t. The right angle connection from the port obscures the port next to it leaving it unusable.
The ZUS seems to be marketed as an in-car cable and as such I don’t think they considered this use case. However before you run out and replace ALL your cables with these, just check how you would use them.
Charging and Data speeds
The proof of the pudding is in the eating or something like that. As we have previously discussed getting a completely accurate engineering level analysis of a cable requires more equipment than we have available to us. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get a relative idea of how a cable functions compared to one considered to be high quality.
To test a cable’s charging speed we connect the cable to a Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 outlet whilst in airplane mode, give the cable one minute on charge and then record the charging speeds using Ampere. To provide a comparison we have bought a Belkin 90cm USB Type-C cable to compare with. At $40 AUD and with Belkin’s good reputation we figure if the ZUS can get close to the Belkin for half the price (and with 30 cm more resistance) it should be a good performer.
And perform it did, I would call theses results a dead heat, 20 mA difference measured in this type of test is close enough for me to rule the ZUS cable a dead-on competitor for the Belkin, and at least in out test worthy of serious consideration for you charging needs.
Try as I may I couldn’t get a reliable data transfer speed test. What I will say is when plugged into the correct port it gave me just as good data transfer as I typically get from a USB 2.0 device.
The ZUS Kevlar Cable is a solid, well built and packaged USB Cable with a premium finish and solid quality. Coming in USB A to Micro USB, USB C, and Lightning connectors mean that there should be a ZUS to suit any of your needs. The cable certainly looks and feels like it will stand up to whatever typical punishment you put your cables through and come out in better condition than you are used to.
If charging speed is your concern then the ZUS should also perform for you there, with our tests both comparison and in daily use indicate that the cable provides as fast and reliable charging as you’re going to get out of your charger. If data speed is a major consideration for you AND you have a USB 3.0 device you may need to look harder at the ZUS.
If you could walk into a JB HiFi or order one direct from the Android Shop for $20 I would have no issues in recommending the ZUS cable to anyone.
If you do want to get your hands on a ZUS cable you’ll have to preorder them from Indiegogo for around $20 AUD each with $15 flat-rate shipping to Australia. If you’re getting just one that makes this a fairly expensive cable, although still not as much as some Belkin branded cables.
If you want more than one, then teaming up with a group of friends to grab a package is your best bet with the price per unit quickly dropping the more you buy. So the only question is, are you in the market for more cables?
Will you be getting some ZUS cables? Let us know below.