Spooly – the Long Kickstarter Wait

I’ve written about Kickstarter on numerous occasions highlighting both the successes and the failures for me on the crowdfunding platform. Today I wanted to talk about the successful failure that is Spooly.

On June 9th 2016 the self-styled “World’s First Magnetic Charging Cables” was fully funded securing £70,000 more than the project goal. What had attracted me to the Spooly was the size, little more than the connector and a short cable, and that it would stay neatly together using a magnetic cable.

The Long, Long Wait

I handed over my money and waited. And waited. And waited. In the end I gave up waiting and effectively wrote off the money as a bad debt. In my experience it is not unusual for projects to start off in high hopes and expectations and then get bogged down in the realities of the implementation. Either that or they are fraudulent and were never going to deliver anyway.

The creator of Spooly kept giving updates but these became less and less frequent and, to be honest, less and less believable. Issues with the magnets and then with production and finally with delivery we were told had plagued the project. And so it was with some surprise that I opened a small packet earlier this week containing the two Spooly’s I had pledged for a little over three years ago.

Worth the Wait?

Having written off the likelihood of receiving them I then had to readjust my expectations when the popped through the door. I had ordered two Spoolys – one lightning connector and the other micro-USB for this I paid a pretty reasonable £17.

The first thing that struck me about them was that while they were small they were actually larger than I had expect them to be and the cable seemed thicker. The USB-A connector is particularly large. Similarly the case that they came in was not as nice as that that had been proposed in the project but this is probably just nitpicking.

In action though they worked just as you would expect. The cable is short but that is fine for the sort of places that you are likely to be using them such as giving your phone a quick charge on the bus home for example. In my tests both cables delivered both charge and data faultlessly.

The Spooly’s USP is the magnetic cable and I have to say that this works well and pops back into place with a satisfying click. That is something of a triumph.

Conclusions

While I am pleased that I didn’t lose my money and that the project finally delivered in the intervening three years things have moved on. I no longer quite so invested n USB-A connectors and am moving to USB-C so they now are only of limited value.

That said the magnetic connection works well and the creator should be commended for sticking with it when many others would have just abandoned the project.

It is also a warning to those who still treat Kickstarter like a shop – it’s not, it is much more akin to a stock market and caveat emptor applies.

Pros

  • compact, small enough to stick in your pocket
  • magnetic cable spooling works surprisingly well
  • does what it says on the tin with both data and power transfer

Cons

  • way too late to be useful as now moving to USB-c
  • slightly larger than expected
  • aesthetically not as good looking as the prototypes