Pros: Lightweight with durable materials - Affordable - Works as it should
Cons: Not as durable as the original
Today we're checking out the newly revamped version of DDHiFi's excellent USB Type C OTG cable, the TC05.
The original TC05 has been my go-to Type C cable for mobile use for the last 6+ months thanks to the application of a durable, coiled stainless steel sheath. While it had some downsides, such as limited flexibility and the potential for permanent kinks or dents, they were worth the durability of the steel sheath. Mobile cables tend to be fragile and have a short life span, things I wasn't worried about with the original TC05. As such, you can't blame me for being a little disappointed when I saw that the updated TC05 had gone back to a more traditional rubber sheathed cable. While that feeling hasn't changed in the two or so months I've been dailying this new TC05, there are a number of benefits and other improvements that came along with it.
The new TC05 is packaged the same, showing up tidily dressed in a durable plastic case wrapped in a simple cardboard sheath. The sheath features the same classy, simple design used for their other products. Printed are the usual details; brand and model information along with a basic image of the cable and how it should be oriented with the devices being connected. Slipping off the sheath reveals the TC05 wrapped in a plastic bag set atop a social media card with scannable QR codes on the back. The requisite silica gel packet is there too should you desire a poisonous snack.
Removing the cable we see it is a whole new beast compared to the previous version. Besides the removal of the steel sheath, the most notable change is length. The original TC05 came in at just over 15.6cm tip to tail, while the new version tightens things up at 13.4cm. This change was welcome when using the TC05 to connect my phone or dap with a portable amp as the original could be just a hint cumbersome. The added length of the original worked well with desktop setups though.
Another welcome change is the use of more compact plugs. I never found those on the original large whatsoever, but they sure look like it next to the new ones. Along with those new plugs comes a snazzy new visual design. At first I thought this was a detriment since the arrows advising the data transmission direction are quite small and blend in. In use that's not really the case. DDHiFi is printed only on the source end, so it ends up being just as straightforward a process. You can ignore the arrows entirely and just look for the branding. Plug that end into your source device, the other into your amp/whatever, and away you go.
Going back to the new sheath, I'm of two minds. On one hand I appreciate the lightness and added flexibility. The cable also looks quite nice, reminding me of the one found on the iFi iEMatch. Unfortunately, DDHiFi omitted any form of strain relief. The two protrusions that look like reliefs are just part of the aluminum housing and offer no protection from bends or tugs. There is a very good chance that when the new TC05 fails, it'll be right there where the cable enters the plugs.
Speaking of plugs, in addition to the straight design found here, DDHiFi did what they do best and listened to their fans by offering two versions of the TC05. Selling alongside the straight option is one terminated in L-shaped plugs, though there is a slight increase in cost associated with this (21.05 CAD vs. 24.80 CAD, at the time of writing). The L-shaped version would be my personal choice since it looks a little more durable in design and would result in a slightly more compact mobile setup.
I prefer durability to convenience and as a result will be going back to the original TC05 for my personal use. For the vast majority of users, I think they'll greatly appreciate the updates and prefer the new version which is smaller, lighter, and more flexible. The new TC05 is a great product and just the ticket for completing your portable audio setup.