A week or two ago, I wrote about Apple opening the USB-C-to-Lightning cable market up to third parties after a couple of years of lock-in. Today I’m back with a quick update on one of the two cables I’ve seen, in case you’re looking to rapid-charge an iPhone 8 or later, or an iPad Pro, with Lightning.
First look at the PowerLine II cable
The cable is in Anker’s PowerLine II highly durable cable line, rated for 12,000 bends.
Here you see the Anker cable coiled with the Apple cable, alongside three of the USB-PD chargers I tried it out with. The cable is thicker and looks and feels sturdier than the Apple cable. It comes with a Velcro tie to coil the cable safely, which is a nice touch.
Charging sources tested:
- Anker PowerPort Atom PD 1 (30W GaN PD charger, non-folding plug, $29.99)
- RavPower PD Pioneer (45W GaN PD charger, folding plug, $54.99)
- Monoprice Obsidian Speed (45W PD charger, folding plug, $16.99 at Monoprice)
- Apple 61W USB-C Power Adapter ($69, not pictured)
- ZMI PowerPack 20000 / QB820 (45W PD battery pack, not pictured, $69.95)
Also fully expected to work (but not tested or pictured):
One upside to the Apple chargers is that you can find Apple stores (and other retailers like Best Buy and Fry’s who sell Apple products) all over the place. In an emergency, you can pick up a charger without waiting for shipping. I had to do this with an 87W charger to keep my Dell XPS 15 9550 running during a trip to Las Vegas a couple of years ago.
Trying out the cable with iPad Pro 12.9″ (2015)
The testing was pretty simple. This time, I used the new Klein Tools ET920 tester (chosen because it has a captive USB-C cable rather than the dongle-style connection of the Plugable and Satechi testers). The tester does not cross the streams, so to speak, so to test USB-C output you have to use the USB-C input (same goes for USB-A).
I plugged the tester’s USB-C input into each of the chargers shown above, connected the Anker Powerline II cable to the output and to the 12.9″ iPad Pro 12.9″ (2015 model), and watched for the voltage bounce.
As you see in the photos, charging started at about 5V/2A, and about 8 seconds later, the voltage jumped to nearly 15V as expected. This was the same behavior as with the Apple cables.
This is not a surprising review or result; Anker does cables well, and the chip that makes the USB-C to Lightning rapid charging possible is licensed from Apple. However, I’d have been hesitant to recommend it without trying it out myself.
Based on my use of the Anker PowerLine II charging cable, I’m comfortable recommending it, and with a number of Lightning devices in the house, I can always use another charging cable.
The Cascade Cables version discussed in the earlier post is expected in April. While they did not yet respond to my inquiry about testing with 28W rapid-charge devices like the iPhone 8 and later, and iPad Pro models with Lightning, it seems likely that they will work. Watch for an update in two months on that.
Have you upgraded your Lightning charging options from the ones that came in the box? Any thoughts or questions on charging options? Share in the comments, and I’ll answer if I can.