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Lifewire / Jason Schneider
Great color options
Included cable tie
Lackluster design features
The Anker PowerLine II Lightning cable is very similar to the official Apple one, but more durable and with more color options, all for a lower price.
The Anker PowerLine II cable is Anker’s take on a basic Lightning cable—one that offers a nice feature set, without the cost overhead, or the bells and whistles of fancier braided cables. With its protective rubber coating, reinforced joints, color options, and the promises of standout durability, this is certainly not a strictly budget cable. But it’s also a good deal cheaper than the official Apple cable. Read on to see us break down the design and durability, but suffice it to say, this is a great cable.
On its surface, the PowerLine II is just a smooth, rubberized cable that sports many of the same design touches as a standard, official Lightning cable. The reinforced ends that wrap up to the metal connectors are a nice blend between “rounded” and “squared off”, meaning they won’t get caught on edges like the corner of a desk or end table.
What you’re paying for the extra few bucks is a degree more durability, and a nice feel on the rubber.
The Anker logo is nice and subtle, pressed into the rubber on the USB-A side, which is a good look in our book, because it doesn’t call attention to anything outside the flat color. We tested a bright, candy apple red that has a soft matte finish, which is a really striking color. You can also choose a subtler white or black, or a bright royal blue. This is a somewhat standard selection of colors for third-party Lightning cables, but it is a lot more than you’ll get outside the standard, official white.
Anker has sunk a lot of time, effort and money into bolstering the durability of their cables. The PowerLine II is no exception. It has reinforced the wires inside to give an added layer of protection beyond the outer rubber. In fact, Anker claims you can support up to 175 pounds of pulling force. We didn’t try this with the PowerLine II, but we did give the cable a few stiff pulls and ran it through the ringer for about a week’s worth of testing. We can say for sure that its durability is top notch—especially considering it’s such a flexible, rubber cable.
It has reinforced the wires inside to give an added layer of protection beyond the outer rubber. In fact, Anker claims you can support up to 175 pounds of pulling force.
Anker lab tests the cable for 12,000 bends, claiming that its twelve times more durable than the first generation PowerLine and other comparable cables. They even promise it will look new for longer than the last generation of PowerLine cables. They’re confident enough in this build they offer a lifetime replacement plan, with some restrictions. It all amounts to an impressive Lightning cable.
When Apple came out with the Lightning cable protocol, it caused some degree of frustration from people who had older Apple cables. But it did lead to a whole new group of third-party manufacturers aiming for certification from Apple. Anker makes sure virtually all of their cables are MFi-certified, and the PowerLine II also sports this promise. We found that the charging stability was great, even affording faster charging with higher wattage power bricks. It’s important to note that charging speed is dictated by the brick, not the cable, but if you have the right amperage level, you’ll get the speeds. We also found that once you plug the Powerline II in, it offers a stable connection, oddly more stable than even the official Apple cable.
Unlike the PowerLine+ range, you won’t get fancy cases or anything like that. Instead, Anker includes a versatile little cable tie right in the box. This is your standard velcro tie, but it has a small tab cut out that affixes it to the cable when it’s unwrapped, letting you easily take it with you. This makes this cable easily wrappable for travel and transport purposes. Beyond this, and the nice, soft rubber texture that avoids tangles, there really isn’t much more here. What you see is what you get with this cable.
Anker includes a versatile little cable tie right in the box. This is your standard velcro tie, but it has a small tab cut out that affixes it to the cable when it’s unwrapped, letting you easily take it with you.
The price point for this 3-foot cable sits right in the middle of the range. You can normally find this cable on Amazon for about $13 at MSRP, which is $5 or so less than the official Apple cable, but about $5 more than the cheapest offering from AmazonBasics. What you’re paying for with the extra few bucks is a degree more durability, and nice-feeling rubber. In our book, these upgrades are worth the little extra dough.
AmazonBasics cables: The standard rubber line from AmazonBasics looks and feels very similar to this, right down to the color selection, but you won’t quite get the same level of durability as the PowerLine II.
Apple official: The official Lightning cable from Apple is a good deal more expensive for lower durability, but official compatibility is a selling point.
Anker PowerLine+: The PowerLine+ series in the first generation gives you slightly less durability, but has a better design, look and feel with braided nylon and interesting color sets.
Excellent durability and flash colors for a reasonable price.
Anker is a brand that provides quality for a solid price, and that really is the case for PowerLine II. You get a solid Lightning cable with excellent durability, a flashy set of colors, and a nice premium feel. With the added inclusion of a high-quality cable tie, you get almost all the boxes checked for a high-quality Lightning cable replacement.