Review: Budget Lightning cables from iSmooth (Updated)

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Date: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 11:02
Category: Accessory, Consumer Electronics, Hardware, Opinion, Review

LIGHTNING2MCABLEMAIN_mediumBefore I upgraded from my iPhone 4S to the new 5S, I wanted to be prepared. Unlike previous iPhone upgrades, I had to deal with the switch from the 30-pin to the Lightning connector which was introduced with the iPhone 5. Over the years I had collected a stash of chargers and cables as well as accessories, such as the Mophie Juicepack, which I had grown dependent on, and now had to replace. Not an inexpensive endeavor, especially with Apple’s premium price for replacement Lightning cables ($19-$29). Not expecting to find anything, at least not of great quality, I hit Amazon.com to see if there were some cheaper alternatives. After some exhaustive reading of reviews, I settled on cables made by iSmooth.

There were a few mixed reviews, but over all positive, which was telling considering that the reviews on the Apple Store for Apple’s cables were not very good. So, I ordered a few different lengths, which by itself was a huge selling point. They have cables in 3, 6, and 9 foot lengths. The packaging is basically a small, plastic envelope which is very simple, tidy, and Apple-like. The cable itself is nearly identical to the ones Apple supplies, so much so that comparing them side-by-side, I really couldn’t tell them apart. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if both came from the same manufacturer. A few people on Amazon reported getting DOA cables, but iSmooth replaced them right away. And that is the best part, iSmooth has excellent product support. Not only that, but their cables carry a 10-YEAR GUARANTEE! That’s pretty amazing considering Apple will probably change the connector two more times before the warranty runs out. They also have an excellent policy where if you really like the cables and give them a 5-star review on Amazon, they will send you a free cable of your choice. Shhhh…don’t tell them, but they accidentally sent me two! That, or they really liked my extensive review, which pretty much mirrors what I have said here. So far every cable has worked fine, and I am am really satisfied. Oh, I almost forgot the iSmooth prices…EVERY length of USB to Lightning cable…$13.97. Crazy. Take that Apple! (jk)

UPDATE:

Well, this is a bummer to report. Yesterday I bought one of the new Retina iPad minis and sadly, the iSmooth cables will not charge the device. The cables still work fine for syncing to iTunes, but at least for now, you will need a genuine Apple Lightning cable handy for charging the mini’s battery. It would be interesting to find out whether this affects the iPad Air as well. Perhaps Apple has tweaked the Lightning spec or hardware to thwart third party cable manufacturers.

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