Today I’m going to review Amazon’s own-brand Lightning Cable, for charging and syncing the most recent versions of Apple’s mobile devices.
What makes Lightning cables different
The Lightning connector was first introduced with the iPhone 5 last year. This replaced the 30-pin Dock Connector which was introduced 10 years ago with the third-generation iPod. It has since been used for the fourth-generation iPad, fifth-generation iPod Touch, seventh-generation iPod Nano and the iPad Mini.
Compared with the Dock Connector, Lightning offers a couple of advantages. It’s smaller, so there’s more room inside an iPhone for other useful things. And it can be inserted either way up: there’s no ‘right way up’ like there is with the dock connector, or micro-USB which is used by most Android smartphones. This makes plugging in Lightning-compatible iPhones and iPads much easier.
The main downside, other than the need to replace old Dock Connector cables with new Lightning cables, is that Lightning cables are more expensive. To allow users to insert the cable either way, the connector includes a processor to detect which way up the plug has been inserted – in other words, it’s a ‘smart’ connector. This processor naturally adds to the cost, which is why buying an official cable from Apple costs £15 (plus £4 for delivery if buying online).
The AmazonBasics Lightning Cable
Now that devices using Lightning have been out for some time, third-party manufacturers have started producing their own cables and a quick search of Amazon shows plenty on sale, some as cheap as £2. I decided to get a spare cable in case I lost the one that came with my iPhone, seeing as I rely on my phone so much, and settled for the AmazonBasics Lightning Cable which currently sells for £12.86 (with the option of free delivery). Almost all of the reviews are 4 and 5 stars. I also reckoned that if Amazon are willing to put their own branding on the cable, it’s likely to be reasonably good quality as Amazon will want to maintain their brand image.
I’ve had it for a few days now and, if anything, I think it’s better than Apple’s own. The plastic is much more sturdy and it feels less likely to break. It’s also certified by Apple, unlike some of the cheaper cables (which, incidentally, have lower review scores).
It comes in Apple’s ‘frustration-free packaging’. Instead of a plastic blister pack, it comes loose in a small cardboard box. Oddly, this is then put inside another cardboard box for shipping by Amazon; I’d moan about excess packaging but at least cardboard recycles. And it’s nice to be able to open the packages without using scissors and getting attacked by sharp shards of plastic.
It’s not much cheaper than Apple’s own cable but it is better in my opinion. My only suggestion to Amazon would be to offer a version with a longer cable; this comes with a 90cm cable and it would be nice if a 2 metre edition was available. A longer cable is something people want, apparently.
So, if you need a spare or replacement Lightning cable, I would definitely recommend this one.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate and receive a small amount of commission from any sales from this site. I’d still recommend it even if I didn’t get commission though.