- Detaching spring
- Broken Lightning cable
Updated: June 2015. After a few months of use, the Mos cables have turned out to be less reliable than hoped. Despite only being used a few times, the Lightning cable frayed significantly at one end, and then the connector snapped off inside an iPhone while charging.
The micro-USB cable started charging only intermittently, and then stopped working entirely. The “detaching spring” problem mentioned in the review also got worse over time. As a result, we’ve significantly downgraded our review score, from 8.0 to 5.0 — these supposedly “indestructible” cables have proved to be anything but.
Are you as sick of breaking USB cables when you travel as I am? One look in my electronics bag reveals a wide array of damaged and split chargers, held together mostly by duct tape and hope — neither of which last very long.
I probably take (slightly) better care of my gear than many travelers, but it all gets an unavoidably-hard time. Even though I carefully coil my cables while packing, they still tie themselves in knots in my bag. They get stood on, stuck under chair legs, kicked out of sockets and bent into very unnatural shapes, usually all in the same day.
I’ve viewed them as disposable items for a while now, and carry at least one spare just for that reason. Still, it’s frustrating having to find an electronics store every few months because yet another USB cable now has its insides on the outside — and it’s not always easy to find genuine Apple versions, if that’s what you’re after.
I didn’t really think there was much that could be done about it — if even Apple’s overpriced cables break regularly, what hope was there for the ones shipped with most other phones, tablets and e-readers? As a result, when Mos offered to send me a few of their “indestructible” cables, I wasn’t exactly waiting beside the mailbox in breathless anticipation.
Lightning and Micro-USB Cables
The company sent me a pair of charging cables, one three-foot micro-USB version and a shorter Lightning cable. Other than the connector, they’re basically identical — a silver, braided sheath running the full length of the cable, with an inch-long spring at each end where it meets the plugs. The company calls the braided sheath an “Exoskeleton”, and it felt quite different to every other USB cable I’ve used.
The cable is relatively thick and has a rough, almost-metallic texture, which gave a distinct impression of sturdiness compared to the usual thin rubber housings. I found it almost impossible to tangle the heavy-duty cable in normal use, either around itself or other items in my bag.
The connectors are made from anodised aluminium, and plug into their respective sockets with a satisfying click. I had no issues connecting them to the USB sockets on laptops or wall chargers, or to various Android devices, Kindles or an iPhone 5 in or out of their cases.
The cables bent easily into almost any shape, and largely stayed that way until I bent them back. I was initially a little concerned by that, but after testing it for a while, it seems like the bending is by design. I haven’t had any problems so far, even after I pulled one of the cables out of my bag to find it had been folded almost in two for several hours. Oops.
The part that interested me most, however, was those steel springs on either end. Every USB cable I’ve ever owned has split or broken where the connector meets the main cable, and those tightly-wound springs are designed to act as strain relief to stop that from happening. By keeping that part of the cable rigid even when it’s being bent, the theory is that it should keep the tension off that weak spot.
In general, the spring mechanism seems to work as intended — but after a few weeks of daily use, I noticed it had separated slightly from the micro-USB connector. Pushing it back up inside the connector and twisting slightly seemed to reattach it without issue, but given that’s the most likely place for the cable to fail, it’s something I’ll be keeping an eye on.
A dab of superglue would probably fix the problem for good, if I travelled with such a thing. Strangely enough, I don’t. The Lightning version hasn’t had the same problem as yet, but it also hasn’t been used quite as much.
My review pack also included the Mos Magnetic Organiser, a sculpted magnetic device that you place on (or stick to) a flat surface. The idea is that rather than having to retrieve your chargers from the floor every day because they’ve slipped off the table yet again, you place the plug on the organiser and it stays magnetically attached until you need it.
It’s not something I’d bother to pack, but it’s a useful extra if you’ve got a desk or other regular workspace at home.
Overall, I liked the Mos charging cables a lot. They seemed more robust than standard versions, without needing to pay much more for them. They’re an attractive, practical accessory for travellers, and are backed by a lifetime warranty — if they break, the company will replace them. While that guarantee doesn’t help you much in the moment, it’s a good sign that Mos has faith in the longevity of its products.
The only thing that stops me giving these cables a higher score is a lingering concern about that spring detaching from the connector. Hopefully it was just a minor glitch rather than a real fault with the product — I’ll update this review with the final word after a few more months of use.
You’ll pay $20-$30, depending on the type and length of cable.