gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

SubbyTech’s Shiny Flexible Glowy Cables

On more than one occasion I’d eyed up flexible, magnetic phone charging cables on Amazon wondering everything from whether they’d work at all, to how quickly I’d lose the little interchangeable attachments, to how long the mechanism would last before it inevitably gave up.

SubbyTech – a small, friendly, family owned would-be Anker – stepped in and chucked me one of their Clix Glow In The Dark Cables so I could find out.

So- let’s dig into these deep questions one by one:

Does it work?

Yes. Next!

Will the mini magnets go missing, m’lord?

The elephant in the room with the interchangable ends to these charging cables is that they’re absurdly tiny and easily lost. SubbyTech’s simple answer to this: keep it in your phone. It’s actually quite tricky to *not* keep the cable in your phone, and if you had replaced all of your charging cables with magnetic ones this would be a brilliant idea. Unfortunately for me my home charging set up is a bonanza of different cable sizes and types so sooner or later either the little magnetic end would need pulled out of a phone and placed… somewhere… or one of us would encounter the charge cable *without* the end and have to go on a wee-endy-bit hunt. I realise in retrospect that this is a problem entirely of our own manufacture and using the cable as intended – with the magnetic bit plugged into your phone, always and forever – would solve this handily.

As something of a bonus it’s… quite preferable to block the charging port of your phone with a tiny little magnetic connector. Why? Well aside from magnets being ALL THE FREAKIN RAGE in charging (wtf! is this 2006 all over again?) the little blighter actually keeps less desirable things from getting stuck in your charging port. This was made quite abundantly clear to me when I had to dig out a small mammal worth of lint from my lightning socket before I could use the charger. I think you win this one, SubbyTech.

Leg of an LED did the trick.. this is just the lint I managed to salvage. ? no wonder I’ve been having trouble charging lately.

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) March 23, 2021

The magnets are also… really… really strong. They latch on to basically any metal surface with enough force to keep them in place and save them getting lost. If you *have* to put one down, put it down on something metal. Note: the bits where the connector- uh- connects are recessed so you can’t accidentally short things out by latching them onto random metal surfaces. Yay.

Does it bendy back-n-forthy without wearing out?

I’m really running out of ideas for titles here and I’m only 400 words in. Sigh.

Anyway, cables, cables are made of wires, wires are made of metal, metal is a funny thing when it comes to bends. You can bend metal, sure, and thin metal bends quite easily… but if you bend it back and forth in the same place for long enough it tends to stop being conductive and start being really quite broken. As such, every single charging cable I have ever owned has eventually worn out. This is a fact of life.

The SubbyTech Clix can take a 90 degree bend like it’s no big deal, and this makes it- effectively- a handy 90 degree cable for propping your smartphone on your lap in bed. This bend is achieved through a little set of metal spring contacts and a tiny PCB which act a little like a rotary potentiometer without all the pesky extra resistance.

I wonder if the PCB surface and spring contact hinge in this @subbytech cable lasts longer than regular wires. It certainly routes nicer! Also the magnets are good enough to just clip it onto the metal bedside table for storage ?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) March 24, 2021

The tip of the cable is free to rotate through 180 degrees (more or less) while maintaining electrical contact both for charging and data. This impressive feat no doubt makes the cable much, much, much more resilient to repeated 90 degree bends than traditional wires with one huge caveat: dust, dirt, grit and grime. The “hinge” on the Clix has no ingress protection and I’m pretty sure a sniff of sand or some particularly stubborn dirt could dramatically shorten its lifespan. Indoors, kept in good condition, and far, far away from any small abrasive particles I’m sure this connector will last a good while.

Since the hinge is also based around a layered PCB- a material known as FR4 that’s manufactured from fibreglass and very thin layers of copper – it’s astonishingly strong for its size, too. The axis around which it does not rotate has very little flex and should hold up to the impacts of daily use.

If you think about it- this contact/PCB interface is just like the wiper on a rotary potentiometer except it’s a little shy of ingress protection. It should last a good long while if it doesn’t have a mishap with any grit or abrasive dust.

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) March 24, 2021

Should I buy one that lights up?…

Yes. And no. This is a contentious question since the lighting effect on the Clix has more in common with a toy sold outside Disney On Ice than it does the cool, cool, COOL (COOL DAMN YOU) RGB lighting of a (COOL) computer setup used by cool people. That is to say you get no control over the speed or intensity of the lighting effect and… it’s pretty fast and intense. Indoors in a well lit room it’s a nice effect to visually indicate when your phone is charging and when it’s finished. In a dark room – say for example your bedroom, at night, when you’re trying to sleep- it’s a bloody nuisance since I’m sure most people don’t sleep in a disco.

I was trying out the @subbytech light up charging cable and @prettygreentea had to rescue me from the under stairs cupboard because apparently it won’t open from inside!?

— Phil Howard (@Gadgetoid) March 23, 2021

The effect is cool, and I’d go as far as to say it’s even useful. Stick a battery and phone in your pocket and wear it outdoors to look extra (and five years old) to your frendos! It’s more something I’d buy for a child than for myself, however, because while I give literally zero farks about what anyone thinks of my COOL RGB CHARGING CABLE I do like a cable I can use in bed without triggering dystopian cyberpunk disco nightmares.


Good cable is good. The fact that it comes with a little USB Type-C, microUSB and Lightning connector means you can convert a cool three of your devices (let’s say a bluetooth controller *cough* SN30 Pro *cough*, a portable battery pack and your iPhone) to magic magnetic charging awesomeness and get on that magsafe bandwagon without having to buy a new phone and attach a hockey puck to the back of it.

SubbyTech are a small business just starting to make an name for themselves in this game and I think – aside from the light up version being a great gift for a younger sibling or child, or for someone who just likes being extra – they really are worthy of your support. If you want a shiny shiny magnetic disco cable… or even just a regular non-illuminated one… then give them a try!

Saturday, May 1st, 2021, Mobile Phones.