Third-party Lightning cables were once rare, but they’re now common. Many companies are creating Apple-licensed cables, sometimes with features designed to set them apart from what Apple makes, and others that are simply replacements, sometimes at a lower price. Today we’re taking a quick look at two recent additions to the market. Lilitab is offering the Right-Angle Lightning Cable ($25), while Anker has its the USB Cable with Lightning Connector ($16). Both are fully functional alternatives to Apple’s standard Lightning to USB Cable.
Much like Bad Elf’s Charge & Sync Cable for Lightning Connector, Lilitab’s Right-Angle Lightning Cable offers the same USB and Lightning plugs as any other cable, but positions the latter at a unique angle. Instead of sticking straight out of the end of the 52”-long cord, the Lightning plug is at a 90-degree angle. This makes sense given that Lilitab makes docks and kiosks for iPads that may require installation in tight spaces. Even though it’s on a different angle, the plug can still fit through the openings of many cases. Tested with an iPad Air, we found that the cable delivered a proper 2.4-Amp charge.
Anker’s cable, 34” in length, is made with case compatibility in mind. Many third-party cables have larger plastic housings around their plugs than Apple’s cables do, which can sometimes prevent them from working with devices that are in protectives cases. On first-party cables, the dimensions of the material around the Lightning plug are 7.68mm by 4.56mm. Anker is close to those figures, measuring 8.5mm by 5.51mm; that is to say, about 1mm larger in either direction. Although it’s not exactly the same, those numbers are closer than many Lightning plug housings we see. The cable also properly carries a 2.4-Amp charge.
While neither cable is exciting in any way, they’re both good alternatives that may fit a given user’s needs. For those desiring a longer cable, or who can take advantage of the right-angle connector, Lilitab’s cable is perfectly acceptable, earning our general recommendation. Its price is between Apple’s 1m and 2m cables, as is its length. Anker’s cable earns the same rating. Although its list price is a few dollars less than that of Apple’s standard cable, its cable is 5” shorter and there are still a handful of cases into which the Lightning plug won’t fit. It’s a good choice if you’re looking to save a few bucks.
Company and Price
Compatibility: All Lightning-Equipped iPads, iPhones, iPods