Lifedge Charge/Sync Cable Review
I am a big fan of Apple products and an iPad Mini and iPhone accompany me pretty much everywhere. I know Apple products are expensive but they suit my travel communication requirements perfectly and I have found them durable and compact enough for travel use. Infact, I am typing this on my iPad while sitting on a Vietnamese bus as shown in the photo at the top.
However, one of the weakest links in the portable Apple products chain can be, I have found, the charging cables. Even the Apple branded ones seem to not last very long. they are also expensive and, if you buy the standard metre length ones, they never seem to be quite long enough to reach from the power outlet to where you need to get your device to. Maybe now there is a good alternative? Lifedge, who'd have been making great water and shock proof iPhone and iPad cases (and associated accessories) for some time, recently started producing what they are describing as the 'Ultimate Charging Cable'. Kindly, they sent us one to test.
The first thing you notice about this cable is that it's chunky - the cable is thick and the USB and Lightning connectors all look like they've been designed for a tough and long life. The box describes the cable as having a 'high tech core' for super fast charging and, although I couldn't find technical information to support it being faster charging than other cables, I can say it certainly performed well in charging times for an iPad mini and iPhone 5s.
I mentioned that the USB and Lightning connectors seemed to be very durable and bonded to the cable with chunky plastic connections. Lifedge describe these as 'triple strength connectors which will never fray'. I have been using this cable daily for about 4 months now and, although I certainly can't be sure it will last forever, it is showing no signs of wear at present. The chunky connectors also make the cable very easy to use because you have something to grip and this is certainly noticeable when using it alongside a normal Apple charging cable. Lifedge say the connectors are corrosion resistant too but there is no way I can confirm this as I wouldn't tend to be charging my devices in wet or damp conditions, but it may be a relevant feature for users operating in damp conditions or marine environments.
The cable is 2 metres in length and, despite this meaning it is slightly bulkier to carry, I really love this feature. When used at a wall socket in a hotel it can almost always still reach your bedside table. Plug it into a high wall socket and it will reach the floor rather than dangling someway above. If it is used in a vehicle it can be plugged into a cigarette lighter socket and still reach the backseat occupants. I have come to find that 2 metres is easily twice as useful as 1 metre (get it?!) and well worth the added bulk. I also often use a solar panel and like to leave the panel outside my tent while wanting to keep the device I'm charging inside. The 2 metre length means this really isn't a problem even if you fasten the solar device on the top of your tent flysheet to catch maximum rays.
Interestingly, Lifedge describe the cable as waterproof. This means that, if it is used with a compatible case such as, of course, a Lifedge case (they also say it is compatible with other leading brands but don't say which), it will seal around the case charging port entrance. This certainly does provide a good connection with the Lifedge case and I have also tested it successfully with a Lifeproof case, but In reality I have to say that I have no intention of charging my phone in a setting where it will need this and, of course, this still doesn't mean the USB connection end is sealed anyway. I guess that if you are again using the case in a marine context then this may be a handy feature. Although, even if I don't anticipate needing this waterproof feature, then the tight connection point does also mean that the seal helps to keep out other hazards like dust or sand which could be useful in some environments.
The cable also comes with a cleverly designed storage unit made from firm and durable foam. This allows the cable to be wrapped up and has storage ports to tuck away the connectors to prevent damage. It works really well and allows it to be tucked in the corner of a duffel bag or rucksack without tangling. It also means the cable can be left partly copied on the worse unit if you only need a small amount.
I guess you can never get too excited about a charging cable (although I think I may get more excited than I really should!), but I do think Lifedge also deserve full marks for the look of the product. The test model we received had a dark grey cable which contrasts really well with the lime green connectors. It just looks really good. Oh yes, and the icing on the cake is that, just in case it does fail (which seems unlikely), there's even a lifetime guarantee.
The Lifedge Ulitimate Charging Cable retails for £19.99 which, while this isn't cheap for a charging cable, iactually stacks up very well on price against a comparable Apple 2 metre length cable which retails for £25 on the Apple website. There should be no compatibility issues either as the cable is approved by Apple. Good on a price comparison, and really a whole lot more cable for your money. I think this is a great product and applaud Lifedge for producing a top end cable to supplement their cases. Full marks from me.
Posted by Paul
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