Pretty soon after I bought my brand new Samsung Galaxy S3, it began to be erratic charging behavior. It would often not charge, charge slowly or rapidly switch/toggle between charging and not charging. Searching on the web didn’t yield any good solutions, with most sites arguing about whether the cable, phone, or software was to blame.
The charging cable seemed suspect, since it would work better sometimes if I manually held it at a particular angle. However, even if I used a brand new cable, our car’s USB cable or my wife’s cable (which was still working for her S3), my phone had this problem. After a few months, my wife’s Galaxy S3 started having the same problem.
Eventually I noticed a temporary solution. The phone would (almost) consistently charge if I propped the charging cable up while the phone was lying flat on its back (see picture). This would almost always work, but the phone generally charged slower than normal. Once my wife’s phone started having the same problem, this solution worked for her, too.
Because of my observations above, along with the fact that pretty much every cable we owned seemed to have a lot of wiggle room when plugged into our phones, I concluded that there must be something slighty off with either the design of the cables or the phone’s port.
I came across a lot of reviews online of a cable made by Mediabridge, where Amazon’s product page had virtually no bad reviews and was chock full of praise from people who had the same problem with their Galaxy S3 and this cable fixed their problems. UPDATE – I can’t recommend the Mediabridge cables anymore, but I do recommend these EZOPower cables that have fixed my charging problem – it also has a lot of reviews on Amazon from other people whose charging problems were solved with this cable!
- EZOPower 6ft micro-USB (1-pack, about $7)
After I bought these, I realized there was a better deal with a 5-pack and 7-pack:
- EZOPower 6ft micro-USB (5-pack, about $15)
- EZOPower 6ft micro-USB (7-pack, about $23)
So I ordered a couple of the cables. They surprisingly cost very little (around $5 – $7)! And sure enough – they click satisfyingly into place, have no wiggle room, are sturdily built, and charge my phone completely and quickly every time!
Apparently the problem is inferior cable design (compounded by regular phone port wear and tear), and is easily solved by purchasing a well-built cable.
I thought I should also mention the car charger that I use with these cables, since these phones also have a problem with getting enough power while using GPS if you don’t have a good charger. I really like the Anker 24W dual-port charger (link below), but be warned that its two ports are specialized – one is only for Android and the other is only for Apple (if you plug into the wrong one nothing bad will happen, but it will just charge really slowly).
UPDATE 2014-12-15: Testing More Cables
After Mediabridge stopped making the quality cables that I originally recommended in this post, I had to find other cables that worked. I purchased and tested each of the cables below. Each cable is rated based on whether it would work every time plugged in for my phone (which exhibits moderate charging problems) and my wife’s phone (severe charging problem) without having to move the cable around to get it to connect properly. I was surprised that there was only one cable that was consistently good, the EZOPower cable.
|EZOPower 6ft micro-USB||YES!|
|Anker 6ft / 1.8m micro USB cable||MAYBE|
|FRiEQ 6 Ft/1.8m, nylon braided, micro USB cable||NO|
|Hi-mobiler fabric braided, 6ft micro cable, gold-plated connectors||NO|
|Hi-mobiler 10ft micro cable, plastic (non-fabric) gold-plated||NO|
|(Dolphin strap) micro USB, 2M 6FT, braided cable||NO|
|AmazonBasics USB micro cable, 6 Feet (1.8 Meters)||NO|
|Magic-T 5pcs micro USB, 6ft 2m, nylon braided cable||NO|
|iXCC 10ft micro USB cable, 2 pcs||NO|
|BRILA 8.2ft 2.5m micro USB, aluminium connector, flat cable||NO|
|(Owl logo) 6.6 feet , pack Of 5 (BOS-27U) braided micro USB cable||NO|
While searching for cables to try out, I limited my selection to cables that clearly had different manufacturing sources (i.e., visually they were constructed differently), were offered in at least 6-foot (2 meter) lengths, could be used for both charging and data sync, and were available for ordering via Amazon Prime (this last stipulation was my way of only selecting cables that have high-volume production and deemed low enough risk that they are included on Amazon’s distribution center shelves). I ordered 2 of each cable to check for consistent behavior for each. Additionally, I checked the existing reviews for the products, and if they had many reviews that expressed the same problem for the S3, then I did not order them (but included this observation in the list above).
Mediabridge has updated these cable models. The old version (all black) worked great and lasted a long time. The new version, which are black with gray tips at the ends of the cable, does not work well (at least not with picky devices like my Galaxy S3). The new version of the cable (gray-tipped) either doesn’t work at all, or is just like every other cable out there where you have to angle the cable in a really weird direction for it to occasionally work. So for now I can’t recommend these cables anymore. I’ll be looking around to find a replacement that does as good of a job as the old version of the Mediabridge cable. For reference, I’m including the original link here to the Mediabridge cable.
Please leave a comment below if you know of a different cable that works well, so I can try it out and update this post! In the meantime I will order several different cables from many different manufacturers, so check back here in a few weeks for another update!
The cables are all still working fine, except for one that got dropped with the phone still plugged in and ruined the end of it, but you have to expect it to get damaged in that case.