Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets, and any number of other devices, our homes, offices, and cars are now littered with an unruly tangle of MicroUSB cables. Most are black, some are white, but all of them suck. That’s because they share a common flaw: The part that plugs into your device is asymmetrical and so is the matching port. Its tiny trapezoidal shape is the kind of design only an engineer could love: It makes it impossible to plug the thing in the wrong way. Which means that half the time, it’s simply impossible to plug in.
This is why charging your smartphone successfully is like winning a coin toss, and why owners of an iPhone 5 or higher walk around with that smug look on their faces. Their phones don’t care which side of their Lightning connector is face up. How nice for them.
Wouldn’t it be nice for the rest of us, if a group of daring individuals out there created a cable that changes the entire MicroUSB paradigm so that there is no “wrong” way to plug in a cable? Turns out, that’s exactly what has happened and I’m here to tell you that it’s awesome.
The cable is called MicFlip. At first glance, it looks like every other MicroUSB cable. Look a little closer however, and you’ll see its super-power: The tip that plugs into your device has a symmetrical hexagonal shape. By now you’ve probably guessed this means it can be plugged into your smartphone (or any other MicroUSB-equipped device) regardless which side faces “up.” In short, it’s the MicroUSB cable we should have had all along.
Born on Indiegogo as a crowdfunded project last year, the WinnerGear MicFlip exceeded its original funding goal by over 1,000 percent and can now be ordered for the entirely reasonable sum of $12 USD. That includes worldwide shipping. You can order the MicFlip in three different lengths (1 metre, 2 metres or 20 centimetres) and three different colours (silver, gold and an eye-catching red/black). $12 is a special price for just the gold edition and only if you order it through the Indiegogo page, otherwise it will cost $19.
The best part is that the MicFlip does exactly what it promises to do, and does it well — really well. I have yet to find a MicroUSB device it doesn’t work with. The construction of the MicFlip is superb, incorporating a braided, tangle-free cord and gold-plated connectors housed in rugged aluminum shells. Before using the MicFlip, I was concerned that because the connector’s shape wasn’t a perfect match for a MicroUSB port, there might be a certain looseness to the fit — perhaps some wiggling once it was seated. I needn’t have worried.
If anything, the connection feels more solid than the OEM cables that have shipped with my devices. Plus, regardless which way you insert the MicFlip, it rewards you with a very satisfying click. That click is the USB cable equivalent of the thunk you hear when closing the door of a Mercedes. Hyperbole? Perhaps, but the MicFlip seems to inspire hyperbole. Consider Gizmodo’s Andrew Liszewski’s over-the-top assessment: “[it] Rivals the Invention of the Wheel.” I think that goes a bit too far. After all, the MicFlip isn’t perfect. If it were, WinnerGear would have given us a cable with two reversible ends rather than just one. But maybe that’s their next trick.
Now I know you might be saying, “Hey, isn’t USB Type-C reversible, just like Lightning, and aren’t new phones using it?” And you’re right — Type C is reversible and it is beginning to show up on some just-released smartphones like the new LG G5. But even if your brand new phone has it, it will be years before all of your devices use it. I think $12 represents a fantastic value in order to never have to look at the end of your cable again.
Why did it take so long for someone to invent a reversible MicroUSB cable? We may never know. But it’s here now, and it’s worth every penny.