We’ve been wondering for months when Scosche’s smartSTRIKE ($25) would finally be introduced — it was one of the first Lightning cables to be seen, leaking out just before Apple debuted the new connector in 2012. Compared to other Lightning cords we’ve reviewed, this one actually stands out from the crowd, which almost never happens. Instead of just a straight or curly cable with USB on one end and Lightning on the other, there’s a built-in adapter housing a micro-USB plug. Sliding the plastic cap up reveals the plug, but leaves the Lightning component attached. The housing around the Apple plug is deliberately slim, so it can fit most cases.
Were it not for the module that starts about 3.25” away from the tip of the Lightning connector, this cable would look a lot like others on the market. It’s 45” long, from end to end—9” more then the listed three-foot length—comes in either white or black, and is Apple-licensed. The plastic housing around the Lightning plug is tapered: it starts out somewhat thick, but the material directly sounding the plug is quite narrow. While it’s not as small as the sheathes on Apple’s cables, it’s tight enough that case compatibility shouldn’t be an issue.
The most exciting feature in smartSTRIKE is the sliding micro-USB adapter. At 1.25” long and 0.5” wide, it’s compact enough that it won’t get in the way. If you need to charge a micro-USB-based device, you simply slide smartSTRIKE apart to expose the plug, and you’re all set. It’s a very handy design.
Even though we saw value in the dual-plug design right away, we needed to actually use the cable to appreciate its true value. Computers and wall adapters are always limited in available USB ports, so smartSTRIKE wins because it provides the ability to charge various devices without having to swap cables back and forth. Lightning and micro-USB are the two plug standards Apple and Apple accessory users care most about these days, so their needs will be covered. We’re very happy to see this cable finally make its way out, even if it is a year after we first learned about it. It’s worthy of our A- rating and high recommendation.
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Compatible: All Lightning-Equipped iPads, iPhones, iPods