Snapnator, the MagSafe alternative, is dangerous

August 8th 2017

Snapnator, the MagSafe alternative, is dangerous

If you are waiting to receive your Snapnator and plan to use it with your smartphone or MacBook, please, don’t. Mine burnt and messed up with my MacBook Pro USB-C cable. Here is what happened.

If you’ve own a MacBook then you probably have heard about MagSafe. If not, well, MagSafe was a special kind of plug that connected the charging cable to your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. As with any computer, you’d have a cable plugged in the wall with the power adapter and connected to your laptop. MagSafe is a technology invented (or at least patented...) by Apple which offered a magnetic connection to the laptop so that if somebody accidentally tripped over the cable then your laptop wouldn't fly away ; the cable would just magnetically disconnect.

But then Apple moved to the USB-C standard cable, first with the MacBook and then with the new MacBook Pro. And MagSafe, which was kind of smart, is now gone. So when this startup Snapnator launched their Kickstarter, it got quite a lot of attention.

They sell their connector between $30 to $40 so the price seems pretty reasonable to support a startup and get something useful on a daily basis. But it’s dangerous. Use it at your own risks.

People should have initially received their Snapnator in December. It got delayed by 6 months, a period during which everyone was wondering whether this was a scam. But in the end I got it. About three weeks ago.

Snapnator is unsafe

When I connected mine, it worked. For 10 minutes. And then I realized my laptop was not charging when the Snapnator was connected. And then it was not even charging when I removed the Snapnator and directly plugged the USB-C cable.

Apple Stores genius were booked for the following three days, so I took the MacBook Pro to a certified reseller. I showed him the Snapnator and he pointed the brown stain inside : “this thing has burnt”, he said, “have a look”.

We quickly nailed down the problem to the cable itself. The power adapter was fine, and the laptop too. But for some reasons, the Snapnator did not handle properly the cable.

I should add that I’m located in France where the current voltage is 220V. If I remember well in the US, the current runs at 120V. Could it be the cause ? I have no idea. After all, the power adapter should have have properly converted the current. Yet there is definitely something wrong with this Snapnator.

I immediately reported the problem on the Kickstarter page, via Twitter and on their website. That was three weeks ago. Never heard back.

Now in the and, I can’t say that I’m ready to support another Kickstarter project. This one and only experience was pretty bad. There are actually many people complaining about Snapnator for various reasons and looking to be reimbursed. But the company remains silent... Way to go... So here is your unwanted advert...