Review: Griffin's BreakSafe Cable Provides Handy Magnetic USB-C Charging, but With a Few Drawbacks

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Although Apple recently refreshed its 12-inch MacBook lineup with a faster SSD, new sixth-generation Skylake processors, and longer battery life, the Retina Macbook's USB Type-C input remains the notebook's single port, apart from a 3.5mm headphone jack. Similar to the launch of the first generation device in 2015, many fans lament not only the inability to use traditional USB 3.0 inputs without carrying around an adapter, but the safety issues present in a charging cable lacking Apple's trusty MagSafe technology.

To that end, at CES this year Griffin Technology introduced a third-party solution to the lack of a magnetic charging cable on the 12-inch MacBook, called the BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable. The $39.99 kit comes with a six-foot cable and small metal dongle, which is about 3/4 of an inch long. Setup is simple: the cable is capped by a USB-C output, which users plug into Apple's packaged-in wall outlet brick. The dongle is plugged into the USB-C slot on the MacBook, so users can then charge the notebook using BreakSafe's quick-release magnetic connection.


Similar to MagSafe, BreakSafe's purpose is largely to prevent the MacBook from tumbling down off of furniture -- or kicked along the floor -- when something snags the charging cable connected to a wall outlet and the computer itself. The messaging is focused on computers (and charging power only, as data and video are not supported), but the company does note that the idea transfers to USB-C supported smartphones and tablets as well.


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Article Link: Review: Griffin's BreakSafe Cable Provides Handy Magnetic USB-C Charging, but With a Few Drawbacks
 

nt5672

macrumors 68000
Jun 30, 2007
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4,144
This only works if we don't have to carry an accessory. It sucks that Apple moved away from the magsafe technology. It saved our powerbook and MacBook devices on many occasions. But I guess now it is more important to Apple that your laptop crash to the floor and has to be replaced.
 

Four by Six

macrumors member
Mar 13, 2015
35
5
As I posted in the product announcement thread, I had the same issue as this reviewer:

"but the thickness of BreakSafe's cable seems to generate one negative in this regard, occasionally pulling on the slightly-weaker-than-MagSafe connection and disrupting charge to the MacBook."

For me, the deal breaker was the thick, stiff cable. Remember, Apple's cable has to carry all the signals. This only has to carry power. And it is thicker and stiffer. So much so, that it keeps disengaging the magnetic connection. A smaller diameter, limper power cable would have solved this issue.
 
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Michael Scrip

macrumors 603
Mar 4, 2011
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If the Macbook gets 10 hours of battery life... how often is the charging cable plugged in anyway?

Is "tripping over cords" really a big deal?
 

freeskier93

macrumors 6502
Jul 13, 2008
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If the Macbook gets 10 hours of battery life... how often is the charging cable plugged in anyway?

Is "tripping over cords" really a big deal?
In the 6 years I've owned my MBP I can't think of a single instance where the MagSafe came in handy. It's a nice idea, but in reality I don't think it's all that important. In fact, it's been causing me issues in age. I think the contacts have worn down to the point where they intermittently make contact. I can have it plugged in but if it gets wiggled it stops charging.
 

2457282

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Dec 6, 2012
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If the Macbook gets 10 hours of battery life... how often is the charging cable plugged in anyway?

Is "tripping over cords" really a big deal?
My wife has an Mac Air from 2012. She rarely plug it in until it's down to under 10%. Still when she plugs it in, for some reason, she always stretches out the darn cable across the room. I have tripped on the cable on a few occasions. AND YET, the cable never came loose from the laptop and the laptop never crashed on the floor. So in my tiny world, magsafe was not a big deal.
 

mwhetnall

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2015
36
12
Griffin is clearly paying for multiple Apple sites to talk/review this product, and as much as I would love a real MagSafe solution for my 12" MacBook I see a few glaring issues, almost all of which have already been pointed out:

-It's non reversible... Really?!
-It adds a large adapter to the MacBook
-The magnet could be stronger
-Charging only... Really?!
-It has to be removed to use adapters and the adapter itself can be easily lost
-It appears to only come (as of this moment) in silver (the adapter, not the cord itself) as opposed to color-matched options for those who are that particular.

I keep reminding myself every time I get an urge to just buy one to try it that it just doesn't seem like the solution for those, like myself, that worship at the alter of MagSafe.
 

Batman89

macrumors 6502
Jul 7, 2010
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Amazing at all the adapters and "accessories" for the (very expensive) MacBook just to be able to make it do things that (less expensive) laptops already do
 
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JonneyGee

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Jun 8, 2011
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In 2008, I had a pre-MagSafe laptop accidentally ripped off my desk and badly dented. Thankfully, the person who did it paid for a replacement, but ever since then I've been a huge MagSafe fan. I don't intend to buy a laptop that doesn't have it again unless I don't have a choice.
 

SBlue1

macrumors 65816
Oct 17, 2008
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If the Macbook gets 10 hours of battery life... how often is the charging cable plugged in anyway?

Is "tripping over cords" really a big deal?
In the 12 years I used a MacBook and MacBook Pro I tripped over the cable once only. This still would have been exactly one time to much to send my MacBook off the table and let it hit the concrete. So the simple Magsafe connector saved me a brand new MacBook.

On the other hand what happens a lot more frequently is me yanking the cable to hard so it comes off of my MBP at least once in a month. I use the MacBook a lot on the couch with the power outlet just two feet away so I always keep the Mac plugged in. No need to let the battery get weak since it can't be replaced.
 

Kobayagi

macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2012
797
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I said it before and say it again, magsafe does't work on light(er) devices, the Macbook is too light for this to work perfectly well, I think Apple knew this and that's the sole reason for not using the Macsafe.
Apple removed magsafe because they want you to trip over the chord and break your MacBook so you can go and buy a new one. ;) Why else do you think the scores are so low on repairability? Thats right, so you can go and buy a new one. ;)
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
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It sucks that Apple moved away from the magsafe technology. It saved our powerbook and MacBook devices on many occasions.
Not so much the PowerBook, MagSafe was only introduced with the Intel MacBooks. But I do agree with you; it's a step in the wrong direction.
 

mwhetnall

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2015
36
12
obviously you don't want it to disconnect so easily while transferring data...
Even if it did, you could just start over. Even if it was an inconvenience, your MacBook would still be safe. That, and I don't see that as a benefit (unless you're a Griffin sales rep).
[doublepost=1461975348][/doublepost]
I think it has to be weaker because you don't want to put too much stress on the actual USB-C connector.

You like your external storage devices to accidentally disconnect?
...no, I just like to buy third party products that look and function like something that belongs on an Apple product and feel like the same considerations to design are baked in. Then again, maybe that's why I don't bother with third party products. As for your second argument, I feel like you're both contridicting your first as well as validating the need to just stick with the cable that came with your MacBook in the first place.
 

Shirasaki

macrumors G3
May 16, 2015
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This only works if we don't have to carry an accessory. It sucks that Apple moved away from the magsafe technology. It saved our powerbook and MacBook devices on many occasions. But I guess now it is more important to Apple that your laptop crash to the floor and has to be replaced.
And naturally charge you another hefty repair/replacement price.
Earn more profit.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2004
3,409
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San Diego, CA, USA
Of course, removing the dongle when not in use would negate the entire reason for its existence, since every time you plug it back in you return to the original problem of correctly aligning a USB-C plug into the MacBook.
In a word, no. If I had a USB-C-charged MacBook, and this cable, I would consider it to be a normal charging cable that had a breakaway end. A normal MagSafe cable does two things: it gives you the neat connect-it-while-barely-looking effect for plugging "in" and unplugging (which this new cable only does if you left the extra bit attached), and it gives you power that won't yank the computer off the table if you trip on the cord (which this cable will handle).

Adding one data point, in a living room with quite close quarters, my old pre-MagSafe PowerBook got yanked off the coffee table once, long ago, and landed on its power connector (bent the jack a little bit and completely trashed the connector on the end of the cable, which tried to become L-shaped - PB worked fine after replacing the power supply), _and_, my current and previous MacBook Pro's (sorry, MacBook Pro devices) have both been saved once or twice from similar fates by their MagSafe connectors. So I'm a little sad about the change to a standard USB-C plug.
 

mkeeley

macrumors 6502
Sep 18, 2007
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In the 6 years I've owned my MBP I can't think of a single instance where the MagSafe came in handy. It's a nice idea, but in reality I don't think it's all that important. In fact, it's been causing me issues in age. I think the contacts have worn down to the point where they intermittently make contact. I can have it plugged in but if it gets wiggled it stops charging.
I can think of a number of instances.
 
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manu chao

macrumors 603
Jul 30, 2003
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Even if it did, you could just start over. Even if it was an inconvenience, your MacBook would still be safe.
So you see no harm in disconnecting data volumes without ejecting them first? All these warnings about potential data loss are completely bogus?
 

OrangeUglad

macrumors newbie
Sep 11, 2012
8
5
The USBc when tugged releases pretty fast but Battery life has improved so much and will continue improving to where we might never have to plug in a MacBook while working again. I have a MacBook Air 2013 and I hardly ever have to mid day like I used to older MacBooks.