Reviewing is a funny old game. You can be faced with products so monstrous in size and scope that knowing where to start often makes it a non-starter. Like a huge plate of the finest cuisine — I’m sure it’s been prepared with love and using the finest ingredients. But If I can’t see the plate for food, I lose interest in trying it at all.
And here I am at the polar opposite end of the spectrum. For established DJ luggage maker UDG has seemingly branched out a tad and sent me some of their new USB cables. And it’s incredibly hard to know how to adequately review them to an established nerdy DJWORX standard. I mean… they’re just cables. So I’ll do my best to give some first impressions, and come up with a string of words that make it worth the read.
Before I even get to the cable, I had to fight with some hefty plastic bags. Waste has always been an issue for me, and was one of the reasons I left the packaging industry. And with a renewed focus on plastic waste around the world, I would urge UDG (and everyone else for that matter) to consider their packaging. Be warned that waste and recyclability will become standard reviews features around these parts soon. Anyway…
USB cables of all shapes and sizes are everywhere, and they’re cheap as chips too. So reviewing a USB cable seems somewhat pointless. But UDG has gone to more effort than just knocking out generic black cables with a UDG logo on them.
Well… they have made some black USB A to USB B cables with a UDG logo on them, but also some in white, yellow, green, orange, red, and blue too. And each comes in 1, 2, and 3 metre lengths with straight and right angle connectors. Prices are €8.95, €10.95, and €12.95 respectively. They also come with a UDG velcro cable ties too.
Essentially, from a DJ perspective, these are a direct competitor to DJ Techtools’ Chroma cables. They come in the same colours (but not in purple), have straight and right-angled versions, and come complete with cable ties. UDG’s come in three lengths rather that the single 1.5m offered by DJTT though. The Ferrite bead is also a welcome feature.
As outlined previously, exhaustive tests of USB cables are tough. You plug them in, make sure they work, and for a sustained period, and you’re done. I expect this from any cable. So how else can I test these cables to make judgements? If there are no screws to undo, what’s an acknowledged thorough reviewer to do?
To me, cables are cheap consumables, designed to be abused. They’re treated harshly and are still expected to work after years of routine performance torture. Yes, you can spend outlandish sums on them, but bar dropping coin on Neo d+ USB cables, I suspect most of us are happy with the one that comes in the box.
Basically, my curiosity needs satisfying. I need to find real differences between things that appear to be the same, otherwise one of them is a redundant product. And seeing as I have competitive products in front of me, it’s time to look for said differences.
When presented with the UDG and DJTT cables together to try, you’d be hard pressed to choose one over the other. The DJTT ones are more stylish, and feel more thought about design wise. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And indeed, beauty is only skin deep. So in the absence of screws to remove to reveal the inner beauty, it falls up on me to brandish a new tool — the worxknife — to see if there are differences.
Cutting off the connectors to reveal the inner cables revealed no real difference. Both are shielded and of the same apparent gauge. So digging even deeper, I peeled back the moulded connectors, as the flexing of the cables on the joints is a classic weak spot.
And this is where the real difference became apparent. Firstly, getting inside the connectors was no easy task, which should demonstrate the robustness of the cables. But the way the wires are held in place are markedly different.
The UDG connectors are hard moulded plastic inside, as if the wires are entombed in an immovable plastic connector. It’s not pretty, but it feels solid. You were never supposed to see it anyway. The DJTT ones are metal and crimped onto the cable. I have to say that this one looks and feels better. If definitely gives a degree of confidence.
However, given the difficulty I had in getting the innards out of the moulded connectors, I doubt that either would break quickly in a hurry. Indeed, putting my foot on one end and pulling hard left the cables intact and working — well until I took the worxknife to them that is. I guess I won’t be screwing these back together again.
The moral of this story — they’re different construction, and the DJTT use of metal is reassuring. But pre-surgical abuse over and above any normal usage didn’t give up any weakness. Consider this a #BecauseWeCan and because #ThatHowWeRoll test.
Well… they USB very well indeed. They plug in, fit well, and stuff goes through them without a hitch. This is something I expect from even the cheapest of cables anyway, and has largely been my experience with any cable I’ve used.
The different lengths will appeal to a great many users, as will the right-angled versions. Be warned though — both UDG and DJTT cables deliver warnings about the right-angled ones and certain Traktor hardware.
It’s so incredibly hard to get excited about cables, or complete a lengthy test of them. They have a mundane function, and little to no way of testing the scientific claims made by the manufacturers. What I can say is that the UDG cables feel good, look good, work as USB cables should, and don’t break the bank. The range of lengths is especially welcome. If I didn’t already have a drawer full of USB cables, I’d definitely consider some.
REVIEW: UDG USB Cables. Warning — scenes of surgery
THE BOTTOM LINE
USB cables are largely uninteresting to review. But UDG has put out colourful options in different lengths and angles at a competitive price. Recommended.
Ease of use
Value for money
A range of colours.
Three different lengths.
Right angle versions.
The heavy plastic bag they come in isn't recyclable everywhere.