You might think that there's not much you can do to improve on the standard old Lightning to USB cables that you get with new iPhones and iPads, but you're wrong. For one thing, the plastic-coated standard Apple cables have a tendency to fray and crack, the plastic shells can crack if the cables are dropped, and the plain white exterior just doesn't match Jony Ive's design sensibilities. Belkin went to the drawing board and came back with MIXIT Lightning to USB cables. Today I'm taking a quick look at the Metallic Cables (US$24.99 for 6-inch, $29.99 for 4-foot) designed for the iPhone 5s.
Type: USB to Lightning
Length: 6 inches or 4 feet (15 or 122 cm)
Colors: Space Gray, Silver, Gold
MFi-certified by Apple
Aluminum tips, braided cable
Hey, a USB to Lightning cable isn't all that exciting, but the MIXIT cables immediately demonstrate some advantages: first, the cable has a nice braided surface that flexes more easily than a plastic sheath will, hopefully keeping the cables from cracking or splitting for a longer prior of time. Next, they're in colors that match your iPhone 5s. I know that sounds like another non-big deal, but I am so bored of plain white and black (or sometimes pink or orange) plastic cables. These just look a lot classier, and if they happen to accentuate just how sweet that iPhone 5s looks, so much the better.
The Lightning end of the cable has a plastic end that is slightly larger than that of the standard Apple cable; I think it makes it a bit easier to grab. The USB end is pretty much identical to the Apple cable in both width and length.
Are you kidding me? It's a USB to Lightning cable. Plug it in, it works. It's no faster or slower, but it does look better. And if it happens to last a bit longer than the standard Apple cable because of the construction, then it's worth the money. Frankly, the stress-relief plastic on the Apple cables is longer, although that on the Belkin cables has a larger diameter.
Speaking of price, the 4-foot Belkin MIXIT cable is the same price as Apple's 2 meter (over 6 foot long) cable. Apple's boring white cable is $19.99 in the 1 meter length, $29.99 in the 2 meter length. If you're just looking for cheap and don't care about the looks, I'd recommend heading over to Monoprice where you can get perfectly serviceable and inexpensive USB to Lightning cables for less than what you'd spend for either the Belkin MIXIT or Apple units.
The 6-inch cable is really quite overpriced. I use a similar short cable for charging my iPhone while I'm sitting at my desk; I bought it for $12 at Monoprice.
Pricey and good-looking, like me. If you're looking for a Lightning to USB cable that's a bit more stylish than your average one, then you're going to love Belkin's MIXIT Metallic Cables. If price is more important than looks, then these are not the cables you're looking for. Move along.
Rating: 2-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible