A full performance Thunderbolt 3 cable that is long enough for standard tasks.
When I made the switch to a Thunderbolt 3 capable computer, I struggled for a long time to find the right peripherals to use with it. Thunderbolt 3 cables became somewhat of a unicorn in our office. We had a few, but they weren’t as plentiful as Micro USB or even Lightning cables. The cables that we really wanted were the 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cables because they were the “fast” cables.
In the Thunderbolt 3 world there are two types of cables — passive and active. Passive cables are cheaper to make and are available in longer lengths, but have slower data transfer speeds than the active cables. The active cables are the ones that you typically see bundled with docks and eGPUs. They are the shortest option at 0.5m, but are capable of the full 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 speeds.
Yesterday, technology company, Plugable announced the launch of a full-performance Thunderbolt 3 cable that measures 0.8m in length. It matches the same style/length cable from Apple, but is meant to be much more appealing to consumers due to its affordable price tag (MSRP $24.99).
The Plugable 0.8m Thunderbolt 3 Cable allows users to connect to Thunderbolt 3 docks, external drives, and other compatible accessories with the full transfer speed available. The cable can connect as many as 6 devices – daisy chained – through a single compact port. The Plugable cable solves the frustration that Thunderbolt 3 users have felt for quite some time in that we want the full performance of Thunderbolt 3, but need a longer cable. Plugable’s cable does just that.
“A single Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Cable will provide you with four times the data and twice the video bandwidth of any other cable,” said Bernie Thompson, founder of Plugable. “We believe high performance should be available and affordable for all users.”Plugable. (2019, May 7). Plugable Perfects the Thunderbolt 3 Cable[Press release]. Retrieved from https://plugable.com
The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 cable is compatible with all Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) capable laptops and desktops.
The cable arrived in a simple ziplock-style bag with a label stuck to the front. This label identifies the product inside as the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) USB-C cable 0.8m in length. You can see it through the clear package. Upon first inspection, I can say that the cable is well-built. It’s a bit more substantial than some of the other Thunderbolt 3 cables I’ve encountered. It’s flexible, but not flimsy and it’s easy to store.
As far as performance goes, I decided to run just a couple of endurance/speed tests using the Plugable cable as the connecting agent. My 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro was the main computer used for this test along with the G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD Portable Hard Drive. The drive came with its own 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable so I decided to run a Blackmagic Speed Test and AJA System Test using both cable options to connect the hard drive to my computer.
I have included a bar chart below that breaks down the results of the speed tests. You will be able to see that the Plugable cable performs slightly better that the 0.5m Thunderbolt 3 cable that shipped with the hard drive.
I am ecstatic that Plugable has released this cable option for Thunderbolt 3 users. I’ve been forever frustrated with the length of the full performance cables because they just aren’t long enough! This 2.6-foot cable provides a lot more opportunities for standard uses than the 0.5m options do. I’m excited that I finally have a longer cable that can give me the same performance as the 0.5m cables.