Review: Marware AV Cable for iPod photo/5G
Pros: An audio-video output cable for color 4G/photo iPods and 5Gs that’s nearly identical to Apple’s in design, but more than twice as long and a little less expensive. Allows you to watch photo slideshows and videos when connected to compatible iPods. The best cable-to-dollar value of all of the AV cables we’ve tested.
Cons: Larger cable length is less convenient for travelers than Pacific Rim’s competing option.
We won’t say that we never thought we’d see so obvious a clone of Apple’s iPod AV Cable (iLounge rating: B), but Marware’s AV Cable for iPod photo/5G ($18) is quite clearly made from the same mold. Both cables have the same purpose: they connect to the top of a color-screened fourth-generation or fifth-generation iPod to let you display photo slideshows or videos through a separate TV screen.
As modestly distinguished from Apple’s cable, which is gray with white plastic plugs and a splitter between the iPod’s headphone plug and RCA-style composite video and audio plugs, Marware’s cable is all-white with virtually identical plastic pieces, and comes very close - very close - to outright duplicating the distinctive styling of Apple’s AV plugs. Aesthetic differences aside, the only real reason to prefer one of the cables is length: Apple’s is around 6 feet long, while Marware’s stretches for 13 feet, making it the longest such AV cable we’ve seen for the iPod by a substantial margin, and yet highly comparable on price.
Despite the additional cable length, audio and video signal quality appeared to be identical between the two offerings, making Marware’s cable a better purchase and value - at least, for people who need more than 6 feet of distance between iPod and television. In fact, this much cable makes it possible to use the iPod as a wired remote control for certain sets, especially those with front-mounted composite video ports.
But it also makes the Marware AV Cable the wrong pick for space-conscious travelers, who will likely prefer the shorter and more compact Pacific Rim Technologies Retractable AV Cable for iPod (iLounge rating: B+). Pac Rim’s cable is cheaper, but you get much less for the dollar than you do in Marware’s package, and Apple’s cable is more expensive with no benefit over Marware’s. Given the choice between these options, we’d almost always pick Marware’s first.