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This retractable USB-C cable is my favorite charging cable now
I hate cable messes but my job practically requires me to live in an eternal tangle of cables, wires, and an impossible-to-manage proprietary and universal charging hell. USB-C made a lot of things simpler for me, but despite the many cables on my desk and in my bag, I always find myself with a cable that’s either too long or too short.
At my desk, for example, I want something that stows away easily to keep the clean look of my new Satechi Dock 5, but can still extend on demand to allow me to use the phone in my chair. In my living room, I want a cable that lets me use my phone or tablet on the sofa while they charge, but that doesn’t leave a long snakey wire behind when not in use.
I’ve tried different cable strategies over the last years — buying a mix of short and long cables to limit messes where I can, various types of cable ties and organizers, and simply wrapping the cable on itself — but none of them were really ideal.
Enter the 100W retractable cable from Baseus ($19.99 at Amazon), a brand that specializes in anything and everything USB-C. I’ve been using both their desk lamp and monitor light for three years, I often grab their USB-C docks when I need extra ports, and their 20,000mAh power bank is currently powering the Google Pixelbook I’m writing this on. Suffice it to say that I love these products, and the retractable cable is joining a long list of winners in my book.
The simplicity of the Baseus retractable cable is in its name. It’s a normal-length cable — 1m or 3.3ft in this case — that winds down on itself inside a small round puck. When not in use, all I see is the round plastic with the two USB-C extremities on each side. Great to stuff into a backpack, leave on the desk, or attach near the sofa.
Pull the extremities out and the cable extends to four different preset lengths — 1.1ft, 1.9ft, 2.7ft, and 3.3ft. That kind of versatility is awesome because I can get the exact cable length I need, with no extra dangling or tangling wires, and then put it all away when I no longer need it.
I’ve thrown the Baseus 100W retractable USB-C cable in my backpack, and it’s been good when I wanted a short cable between my power bank and my phone, just as it’s served me well when I needed a long cable between the wall charger and my laptop.
There are two other impressive things about Baseus’ implementation. The first is the very solid build quality with sturdy polycarbonate plastic and a flat cable, which reduces the risk of potential tangling inside the retraction puck. Having used retractable cables and earphones in the past, they always feel cheap and the mechanism often gives away after a while. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, and I’m more confident in the longevity of this retraction system.
The second is the 100W USB-C PD charging speed it supports. I’ve used this cable to power up everything from my Pixel 8 Pro (30W) to my Nothing Phone 2 (45W) and Google Pixelbook (45W), and all of them registered near-maximum speeds when empty. I don’t have any devices that support 100W charging now, but when I do, I know this cable will handle them too.
The only downside is the data transfer speed, which seems to be capped at 480mbps — i.e. USB 2.0 speeds! At least Baseus isn’t claiming that this cable can do anything extra; it clearly says “charging cable” right on top, so you know what you’re getting. On a personal level, I very, very, very rarely transfer data over USB-C, so this isn’t something I’m concerned about, but do keep it in mind if you plan on using this cable to frequently move over large files. USB-C is still a mess and you’ll need other types of USB-C cables if your primary use case isn’t charging.
Well, there’s also the fact that it’s only a 1m (3.3ft) cable, and I’d love to see an option with double that length for hotel rooms and far-away wall sockets.
Other than that, the Baseus 100W retractable USB-C cable has quickly topped the list of USB-C cables I use, and replaced the one at my desk, in my living room, and in my backpack. Just be wary of the price and grab it when it’s discounted if you can. The $21.99 MSRP is very steep, but you can find it at $14.99 ($2 off plus a 25% coupon) right now on Amazon. That’s very realistic given the specs, build quality, and brand.