One of the biggest threats to the Gemini PDA is damage to the device or one of its USB ports should a connected charging cable be knocked or pulled. It’s for this reason that Apple previously released a special, detachable, maglock charging cable for its Mac laptops. The idea behind the cable was that it would detach the power cable from the plug that was connected to the laptop if the cable was pulled, thus preventing precious laptops from suddenly and sharply hitting the floor. Microsoft use a similar system with their Surface devices, though it is the socket itself that contains the magnets, holding the charging cable in place.
When Apple introduced USB-C charging for their laptops, they dropped the maglock chargers, but other companies sprung up in their place with compatible products. One of those companies is Griffin, a highly respected technology brand, with their Breaksafe USB-C charging cable. The Breaksafe cable is a good choice for Gemini owners as, while it’s not cheap, Griffin ship all around the world, and it’s also regularly found for sale on websites such as Amazon.
The good news straight away is that this is just a regular 1.8 metre USB-C charging cable, and not something specific for the Mac, so you can use it to charge anything that charges over USB-C, including the Gemini PDA. I recently bought two of these cables, so what are they like?
It’s quite a well-built, chunky cable, with large plugs. This does immediately present an issue that the cable itself is quite stiff, and doesn’t rest or coil easily. It’s possible the cable will soften with time, but it’s also a shame to see a rubberised coating instead of the more hard-wearing, and very flexible, fabric sleeves high-end cables now often come with.
If you have a look online for reviews of the Griffin, and almost any other type of magnetic charging cable, you will almost universally see criticisms that the magnets, holding the USB-C plug to the rest of the cable, aren’t very strong. It doesn’t take too much of a tug to detach the cable on the Griffin Breaksafe, but it’s still strong enough that I would regularly drag my phone six inches across a table before it detached. Not once in testing though did my smartphone hit the floor, as the cable always safely detached before this could happen.
This is a good sign, that the magnet won’t detach too easily, unplugging your device from the mains electricity. The possible downside with this is the non-flexible cable. Move your device to the wrong position and the cable might not move with it.
So what else do you need to know about the Griffin Breaksafe. For starters it cannot be used as a data or video cable. The limitations of connecting the USB-C plug via magnets is that they take a lot of space. This means there’s physically nowhere to put all the connectors needed for a fully-functional data plug. If you use the Breaksafe, or any compatible third-party magnetic power cable, this will be for charging your device only!
The other thing you need to know is that this cable has USB-C plugs at both ends. This means that if you want to plug it into a charger that has a standard USB-A port, you will need an adapter. You will also need to make sure that adapter can carry the correct wattage, and can be trusted, more on this shortly.
So would I recommend the Griffin Breaksafe? It’s a shame the cable is stiff, though I’m hoping it will eventually loosen, and it’s also a shame not to have a fabric coated cable. They’re better looking, as well as being hard-wearing, and flexible. On the whole though I’m convinced I made a great purchase, and I feel reassured that damage to the precious USB ports in my Gemini will be prevented.
There are other cables on the market, but you should always be careful of unbranded power cables of all types, as they can sometimes carry too low, or too high a wattage that can result in your device either charging very slowly, or suffering electrical damage. Always read reviews on tech websites, and don’t just believe what user reviews tell you as these can sometimes be faked.
Whichever magnetic charging cable you choose however, they’re certainly a sound investment, and something I would recommend is on the “to buy” list for every Gemini owner. You can find out more about the Griffin Breaksafe on the product website.