A good product could be made great with some improvements.
When you work with technology as much as I do, you are bound to come across a few bad cables. Sometimes your phone or tablet suddenly doesn’t charge the way it’s supposed to and you blame the device. Have you ever tested the cable that’s charging it? Satechi’s Type-C Power Meter Tester is built specifically for that purpose.
DETAILS & SPECS
The Type-C Power Meter Tester from Satechi features the options to be able to calculate and measure the power draw of compatible Type-C devices. It can measure volts, amps, and mAh when plugged into compatible devices. It has a sleek design with an easy-to-read LED display.
- COMPATIBLE DEVICES: MacBook 12″, MacBook Pro 13″ and 15″ models, most other Type-C devices.
- CONNECTOR TYPE: USB-C
- DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT: 4.5″ x 2.4″ x 0.8″, 0.6 ounces
- MODEL NO / UPC: ST-TCPM / 879961006778
- SPEED RANGE FOR POWER METER: Volts: DC 4V to 20V; Current: 50mA to 9.99A; Watts: up to 65W
- GUARANTEE: 1 Year Manufacturer Warranty
- QUICK GUIDE: Download
The box the power meter comes in is a typical Satechi-branded box. It’s light grey in color with the Satechi logo resting above an image of the product on the front of the box. The packaging is a very good example of what I prefer to see in a retail setting. There are very few details about the product included on the packaging itself, but the name, model number, and contact information back to Satechi are. When you open the box, you will find the power meter nestled inside a pre-formed plastic mold. This is, of course, designed to keep the power meter safe during transport/movement of the package. There is no user manual or quick start guide included in the box.
One of the first things I noticed when I popped the power meter out of the box was how scratched up the display was. This is supposed to be a brand new product and it looks as though it’s been tossed in and out of a laptop bag with reckless abandon for months. There is even a chunk taken out of the plastic near the display, which is shown in the photo below. This was honestly shocking to me because Satechi’s gear is usually well packaged and gorgeous out of the box. Satechi’s website makes mention of a plastic film that should be covering the display, but there was no such film on the unit I received. I also did a quick search for other reviews of the product and found several users on Amazon had the same complaint — a scratched and/or cracked screen out of the box. While this shouldn’t prevent the device from working properly, it does make it hard to see the display, which, in turn, ruins the customer experience. I hope that Satechi will take a look at this issue and try to find a solution. My hope is that it was a ‘bad batch’ in manufacturing and not par for the course with this device.
UPDATE 3/20/2020: We received a new unit and there were no scratches on the display or chips in the body. Based on this new information, we believe the original unit we received and the other reviews we saw were likely from a bad batch as suspected.
As far as function, the USB-C power meter was rather easy to use. There is no software needed to use it. You simply plug the power meter into the input port of the device you want to power and then the cable into the USB-C port on the power meter. The display will show the Volts, Amps, and mAh while the device is charging. I use power meters a lot when I am testing portable batteries or power adapters to make sure they are sending out the proper amount of power.
For my testing purposes today, I used a Sony Xperia 10, standard USB-C cable, and a 36W power adapter from AUKEY. I happened to have another USB-C power meter available to compare the Satechi’s results too. I let each power meter measure for 30 seconds and these are the results I got.
- Satechi: 5.13V/1.07A, 10mAh
- DROK Power Meter: 5.24V/1.03A, 10mAh
The results were very similar, but not 100% the same. I would say they are close enough for the Satechi to be considered ‘accurate.’ One of the things that I like about the DROK power meter over the Satechi is that the DROK has a timer built into it. On the Satechi, I had to use the stopwatch on my iPhone to time it. If Satechi looks to upgrade this device, I would recommend that as an add on.
Investing in a power meter to periodically test your equipment is not a bad idea. I think that Satechi has a good design, but with some improvements, it could be great. I hope that their quality control improves for this product as I believe that it tarnishes their brand image when bad items go out to consumers. I also think it would benefit the customer experience if there was a cheat sheet of sorts included that would illustrate how to read the display as well as providing sample timing for testing devices and cables.