Don’t look now, but the USB-C connector is developing under your nose – soon, it will carry 240 watts of electricity, more than double the previous limit and enough to power all but the best laptops. The PD 3.1 specs are finalized, the cables are here, and now we’re just waiting for the first computers and chargers to actually reach a peak of 240W. But there’s another new 240W gadget you can pick up in anticipation of that historic day: Plugable USBC-VAMETER3.
It’s the third generation of Plugable’s useful energy meter, and it does exactly what you think it is. Stick it between your USB-C gadget and its USB-C power supply, and you can see how much power (volts, amps, and watts) is transferred between them. Only now, it supports up to 240 watts, 50 volts, or 6.5 amps at a time instead of the previous 100 watt limit.
Plugable was one of the first companies to sell such a gadget, and I’ve been using my first generation model for years – it might not sound as great as a USB-C cable with a built in power meter, but it’s definitely a more versatile gadget. It’s great if you’re not sure if a particular cable or charger is working properly, not messing with data; This device will pass even USB 3.1 Gen 2 data during the power test, although it does not work with Intel Thunderbolt 3 items.
What’s the point of buying a 240 watt meter right now when there are no other 240 watts around? we will, TechnicallyApple’s 16-inch MacBook Pro already comes with a USB-C PD 3.1 charging unit that extends up to 100W when using its MagSafe cable. (It goes up to 140W, not 240W.) So I suppose you can test to see if your MagSafe cable is still working properly, or something like that. Then again, you can do that with your $16 MakerHawk meter, which beats at 30 volts, but also keeps track of time and temperature, and even estimates how much charge (in mAh) you’ve converted. This is enough if all you need is a 140 watt test.
Plugable charges a little more for the 240W future protection, but you don’t have to pay that premium today. Right now, it’s selling for $29.95 with a $4 off coupon, just below the $26.95 the company has been ordering from the second generation since February of this year.
By the way, it seems that 240W USB-C cables are now widely available, and they’re not just a curiosity anymore. This is one from Anker, one from UGREEN, one from VCOM, and even one from the right corner of (say it with me) “AINOPE”.