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Latest Posts » Computer Hardware, Consumer Electronics » Micro USB Cables for the HTC Desire and other HTC Android-Based Smart Phones

Micro USB Cables for the HTC Desire and other HTC Android-Based Smart Phones

Written by Vlad on December 10, 2010 – 12:24 am - 2,392 views

HTC Desire smart phone showing bottom edge with micro USB socket

Earlier this year, I replaced my 2007-vintage Nokia E70 with an HTC Desire, which runs Google Android (originally 2.1, now upgraded to Froyo 2.2). It is by no means a perfect phone, but it has revolutionised my life. I have another post on the way that will talk about my fondness for that phone.

The HTC Desire connects to a PC via a Micro USB cable, which comes with the phone. One cable of course was not sufficient. I wanted several – one for my car, one for my laptop, one for my home computer and one for my city office.

When I went to purchase an off-the-shelf generic Micro USB cable, I found that I could not plug it into the socket at the bottom of the phone.

The Difference betwen HTC micro USB cables and generic Cables

You see, the plastic around HTC’s micro USB plug is thin and oval-shaped, instead of the rectangular prism shape of most off-the-shelf micro USB cables. The picture below shows a standard micro USB plug on the far left, and an HTC plug in the centre.

Comparison of a generic Micro USB Plug (left), a genuine HTC Micro USB Plug (centre) and a generic Micro USB plug (rught) that has been filed to remove plastic, to allow it to fit into the Micro USB Socket of an HTC Smart Phone

The HTC Desire’s micro USB Socket

The micro USB socket on the HTC desire has a surface that is slanted, so that plugs with a thick coating of plastic may not go all the way in. This problem is even worse if you have silicone skin or a plastic protector surrounding the phone.

Side view of Micro USB Socket on HTC Desire, showing the angle between the surface of the socket and the vertical axis

Are all Generic Micro USB Cables Affected?

No, some have a greater length of exposed metal at the end of the plug, so they will fit all the way into the socket despite the thick plastic. Unfortunately, you can only test this once you have the cable in your hands. This is hard to do if you are buying it online. If the length of the exposed metal is 6.2mm or more, you should be fine.

How much does a generic micro USB cable cost?

A few dollars on eBay, between $10 to $20 dollars at a local computer store.

How much does HTC’s official cable cost?

Around $40 at JB HiFi and a few mobile phone stores. On eBay, between $10 to $20 including shipping

Did HTC do this to ensure that people would be forced to buy their official cables at exorbitant prices?

I have no evidence to make any accusations, but I have my own personal opinion.

I have a micro USB cable that won’t fit. What can I do?

Use a metal file or nail file remove the excess plastic. Hold the plug between your thumb and index finger, and rub the edge of the plastic it back and forth along the surface. The aim is to try to flatten the edge so that it slopes so that it is almost flush with the metal. Ensure that you don’t scratch the metal part of the actual plug. The following picture shows an unmodifed micro USB plug and the red dotted line show the edges that should be filed down.

File away the plastic beyond the red dotted line. You should file all the way around, not just the top and bottom.

You can see a modified plug in the second photo. On the right, you can see a mini USB to micro USB adapter. The end has been filed down to fit into the HTC Desire’s socket. I have used this together with a retractable mini USB cable to charge my HTC Desire when I am in my car.


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Posted in Computer Hardware, Consumer Electronics | 2 Comments »


2 Responses to “Micro USB Cables for the HTC Desire and other HTC Android-Based Smart Phones”

  1. By Andrew on Dec 14, 2010 | Reply

    I have a Desire HD and the usb port housing is different, in that it is flush with the case. This means I probably wont have to modify the plug, in this case can you recommend a decent cheap plug?

    Cheers

  2. By Vlad on Dec 15, 2010 | Reply

    In that case, any micro USB cable should be fine. If you are buying on eBay, my only tip is not to buy the cheapest that you find – maybe the second or third cheapest – that way, you are less likely to get cables from a factory that has cut corners during production:

    [geobay]search=micro USB cable:num_products=9[/geobay]

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