Modern smartphone design is a compromise between packing as much functionality and features as possible into the smallest possible device.
But sometimes this goes too far.
For example, I’ve come across several Android smartphones where the USB-C port is too small to accept regular cables.
To make use of the port, you have to use the included cable. Lose that and you either have to buy another extended tip low-profile cable or extender adapter, or hack at the connector of a regular USB-C cable and hope you don’t destroy it in the process.
Note: You can, technically, remove some of the plastic of most USB-C connectors to make them substantially smaller. But, be careful not to nick any of the wires (game over for the cable), or weaken it to a point where the connector is likely to break off. If it breaks off in a port, you have a big problem.
But, this issue goes beyond just the cables you can use. Forget about connecting accessories to these obstructed ports. And, if you happen to use a USB-C security key as I do, then you’re out of luck.
It’s all super annoying.
While many of the phones that suffer from this issue are “ruggedized” smartphones where the case has been overbuilt to resist impacts and water, I’ve seen a number of regular smartphones suffer from the same problem.
Manufacturers, please test your USB-C port with regular, third-party USB-C cables. If it only fits special, thin, low-profile cables, redesign it so it will accommodate standard cables.
The same goes for smartphone cases.
Please test the case with regular cables. I’ve lost count of the number of cases that restrict the port in such a way that connectors–even Apple’s compact Lightning connector–won’t fit properly.
It’s not just very annoying, it also seriously reduced the functionality of the smartphone. I’ve had situations where I’m out in the field and had to attempt to modify cables or remove smartphones from their protective case to use the port.
This is poor design. Fix it!
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