The Power of a Review in Electronics

As engineers, we all want the best product, but this often comes at a price. When you implement a new platform or device, there’s always a chance that it won’t work, that it won’t be quite what you expected, or, at the very least, that it just won’t do the job well enough. However, sometimes things can turn out worse than just a product that doesn’t work like you thought it would.

In the case of Google engineer, Benson Leung, his test of a certain product led to disaster, but the disaster lead to significant change in the world of cables for consumer electronics. Though reviews are great for most all products, they’re invaluable for electronics. Leung’s story shows just how powerful a review in electronics can be, and why heeding reviews is so important.

A Single Review Lead to Positive Change

Google Engineer Benson Leung was testing cables using a USB Power Deliver Analyzer. Unfortunately, not only did the cables not work, they completely fried his Google Chromebook, resulting in the loss of invaluable documents and data. After his unfortunate experience, Leung’s test went viral, and his review was picked up by media outlets like CNN, Computerworld, CNET, ZDNET, and many more. As the story spread like wildfire, it lead to significant change, culminating in Amazon pulling all certified cables from their online store. Leung’s test and review helped save countless other PCs, notebooks, laptops and more from potential destruction, making waves in the electronics world and stopping what could have been a widespread disaster.

Had Leung not posted his review or published his test, none of this would have happened, and many others may have had the same result or much worse happen to them. Unfortunately, not all products listed on Amazon and other stores (both online and in brick and mortar) deserve to be placed on the shelves for customer consumption. They may have just scraped by certification testing, or shown to do the bare minimum to deliver on the advertised product features they promise. Especially in the world of electronics, selling such products is more than just dangerous, it is dishonest and crooked, taking money from a customer and not delivering what was promised.

How The Review Gained Power

The BBC News covered Leung’s story outlining how bad USB Type-C cables can damage our precious (not to mention expensive) devices, or at the very least, fail to charge them.

In fact, many readers can probably attest to buying a USB Type-C cable from Best Buy, Office Depot, Target, or elsewhere once their original charging cables frayed, broke or were lost. Few people thought twice about purchasing these uncertified cables, or question their ability to charge their devices effectively.

You can read the full BBC News coverage here, and Leung’s assessment here.

So What Does This Mean?

Like Leung says, we “all have to continue to be vigilant and call out any bad products we find on Amazon and other stores…” in order to save other paying customers from suffering a serious misfortune with their electronics. It is important to leave product reviews, both positive and negative, to inform fellow buyers about the products they’re considering. In short, a simple review may feel like a fleeting assessment of praise or disappointment, but it can actually be much more than that. Like Leung, whose review was picked up, passed around, made viral, and the catalyst for positive change in the world of electronics, your simple review could help one single person, or possibly hundreds.

Reviewing your design prior to release? Total Phase provides high performance, cost effective tools for development, test and simulation. Please contact us at sales@totalphase.com if you would like to learn more about how our tools can make your projects easier.

Leave a Reply