Review: Belkin AV Cable for iPod (Color LCD)
If you've been following Belkin's PureAV line of home audio/video accessories, you know that the company's been honing its skills at developing sleek, expensive-looking cables (read: like Monster Cable's), hoping to distinguish its offerings from the myriad similar cables already in the marketplace. Now the 12-foot AV Cable for iPod ($20) brings some of that design mentality to photo- and video-capable iPods, with chrome connectors, nickle-plated contacts, and an "aluminum undermold shield." You can connect the cable to a home or car display and your iPod; the thickness of the cable is presently unparallelled. Even though we're not big believers in cable performance hype, for the price, this one's certainly cooler-looking and stronger-feeling than most.
In tests of the AV Cable, we had one and only one issue: the thickness of its components, particularly the headphone jack plug. Unlike Apple, which offers a $19 AV Cable that’s half as short and roughly half as thick, Belkin’s cabling and connectors are all big - enough so that you may find that the headphone plug doesn’t fit into an iPod with certain cases on, and the large metal splitter that holds the video and audio RCA plugs together is also unusually bulbous. Similarly, though the thick rubber cable looks and feels especially resilient, it can be a bit more of a challenge to feed through tight spaces than Apple’s cable, and doesn’t coil up as tightly if you have excess slack. Thankfully, if it’s necessary, you can unscrew the metal RCA ends to thin those parts out, or for easier splicing in permanent installations. In any case, once the cable’s installed, it’s rock solid.
Overall, we’d recommend the AV cable to anyone who needs 12 feet of well-built cable, especially if their end connection point is a video-ready iPod dock reader than the top of an encased iPod. Belkin’s brought a little flash and a lot of added value to its design given that it sells for the same price as Apple’s own cable - the only reason it doesn’t rate higher is its mild set of compatibility issues. Marware’s slightly cheaper AV Cable for iPod photo/5G (iLounge rating: A-) offers identical length and thinner cabling, like Apple’s, without the metal and flash of Belkin’s design.