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Is there a simple test that someone could do with a multimeter to test these cables themselves? Or is it more than just having a pullup resistor on the right pins?

https://plus.google.com/+BensonLeung/posts/jGP5249NppF is his method (Not sure if you seen this). I am not sure if you can emulate this with a multimeter.

Interesting that the Pixel can tell it's a bad cable. Makes me wonder if it will still charge from it.

His reviews that I've read up to now do seem to be about if the resistor exists at all (if it doesn't the devices don't draw more current) or if it's of false resistance (and then the devices can try to draw more than the power source can provide, potentially damaging it).

These are very high-speed cables, so there's a lot that can go wrong from a signal integrity standpoint.

I can't even remember the last time I used a USB cable on my phone for data, the only time I ever plug it in is for charging, so I don't care too much about signal integrity as long as it will charge my phone without damaging it.

When I do care about signal integrity (i.e. connecting a USB hard drive to my computer, I use name-brand cables)

Without root, you need USB to start a connection with adb for debugging on the phone, even if you switch to wifi later.

I can count with zero fingers the number of times I've used ADB for debugging my phone.

I've got an impression that he just checks if they are good for charging?

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