There are so many must-have accessories for the Oculus Quest. Most of them are obvious and well-documented on blogs and featured in articles. But there is at least one you didn’t know you needed. Updated 2021–1–14 to include a new set of available cables — tested.
Alright, so what is this nonsense. It’s just another charging cable, right?
Magnetic cables and chargers are nothing new (despite what Apple will tell you). They’ve been around in one form or another for many years. On early tablets, there were pogo pin charging connections built right in — in addition to the standard USB port for plugging.
No plug, no in and out, no port to wear out. Nothing to snap off if you trip over the cable while it is charging near the couch.
Simply touch the head of the cable to the area and the magnet grabs hold — bridging the charging connection.
This is common for Samsung docking stations like this one; the tablet have a plug stuffed into it; it is a contact of pogo pins.
Instead of a dock, though — you use cables that feature a “universal” magnetic connector that can connect to any sort of compatible plug you put in your device.
So if you have a Quest or Quest 2 (or say, a Samsung S10 phone featuring a USB-C port) and you have an older tablet that features a microUSB plug — you can use the same cable to charge both devices without ever having to physically plug in the cable.
It is pretty simple to use.
Just insert a compatible plug into your device. Then plug the magnetic tipped cable into your charging brick, computer or other USB power/data connection.
Connect the tip to the device’s plug and that’s it.
Most of these cables come with a special tool to help you remove the plugs from the devices should you need to.
You can even get them with L-style heads (which is perfect for the Quest).
Depending on the quality of the cable, it can do 3.0A charging and even data!
So why would you actually NEED one of these? Other than wearing out your plug or possibly having an accident snap a tip off with a nasty Beat Saber accident while connected to power?
I can honestly say I’ve picked up a device still plugged in and tried to walk off with it. Once this even resulted in the device being jerked out of my hand and into a glass of Diet Coke (true story).
On a recommendation from a fellow Beat Saber mapper, I picked up this cable set from Amazon for $14.
My old tablet pogo connector was a pretty weak connection and easily disconnected when just moving the device around my desk.
This cable connection is STRONG. I can easily manipulate my Quest without it breaking apart the connection and falling off; yet, I feel like if I pick it up while “plugged in” the connection will give way before pulling the device out of my hands (time WILL tell on that one).
The connection of the plug itself is snug and won’t come out unless you use a tool to do so.
That segues into what is a negative factor of using this. If you don’t have the special magnetic cable — you aren’t plugging it in. What’s worse is, should you grab the Quest and take it to a buddy’s house, even if he has a nice USB-C cable to charge it with … the port is filled with a plug that is hard to get out without a tool.
Now, a pair of pliers and/or a little elbow grease with a credit card or something like that will get it out (can you tell I’ve had to do this?) but it is a real pain and not something I recommend doing if you don’t have to.
Otherwise, there is simply no reason NOT to have something like this. Especially if you’re a custom mapper for Beat Saber or you have some other reason to take your head set on and off power frequently.
The set I bought has a few different lengths of cable — but no real LONG ones (for more distance) or real SHORT ones (for using with the Quest and say a portable battery hanging off the back) so make sure whatever set you buy is compatible with other sets with the lengths you’re looking for.
It is worth noting that while the ones I purchased above work for high speed charging and data — they are not compatible with car-based systems like Android Auto (which is a damn shame — a magnetic cable would be awesome in the car).
Check the descriptions of the products very carefully before making a purchase. Beware of dubious quality or slow charging/data transfers.
Tested With Oculus Link
It was helpfully pointed out that I omitted (not intentionally) any discussion about how well these work for an Oculus Link solution.
Up until today, I never tested them; namely because in the early days — only USB 3.0 (which these clearly are not) was compatible.
Well, today I fired up the Quest 2 and hooked in. I was greeted with the request to enable Oculus Link — so I did.
The Oculus PC App interface came up fine.
The only things I had installed to test were Google Earth and Sky Squadron; so I ran each of them in turn. Everything seemed to check out. I didn’t see any “water” effects nor did I see “jitter black bars” effects when I did fast head movements.
This seems to work as advertised. Would a true USB 3.0 solution “look” better? Could be. I’ll add that to my list of things to test. In the meantime, for a basic “Link” solution, the cable seems to do the job.
Do you own a set of these? Love ‘em? Hate ‘em? Sound off below and help others make an informed decision.
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