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Lifewire / Jason Schneider
Plenty of color options
High-quality carrying case
A bit pricey
We were impressed with both the durability and the quality of the six-foot Anker PowerLine+ Lightning cable. It’s well worth the slightly high price tag.
Despite its simplicity, the Anker PowerLine+ is a Lightning cable that exceeds expectations for such a simple product. It’s durable, better-looking, more fully-featured, and more affordable than Apple’s official cable. The Powerline+ provides perhaps one of the best feature-to-price ratios out there, with plenty of durability, tons of reliability, and even a few surprises.
There’s not much to say about design: on one end of the cable there’s a standard USB-A port, and on the other end is the Lightning connector. In between is where you’ll see most of the visual cues. The Anker PowerLine+ is a braided cable, first and foremost which has some durability implications that we’ll get to in the next section. That already sets it apart from the flat rubber texture of Apple’s standard charging cable.
You can get the average white, but you can also choose a gray-black scheme, a glitzier golden theme, or the one we tested—a mostly red cable with a touch of black on either end. While it’s nice to see so many colors, we wish they’d expanded it to even more, perhaps even the full family to match the iPhone XR. The braided texture does provide a nice feel, while the subtly metallic strip that flanks each of the connectors (complete with Anker logo), give it a unique futuristic look.
It’s interesting to see the lengths to which Lightning cable manufacturers have gone to include the concept of durability into their cables. The Anker PowerLine+ is in the middle of the PowerLine range, offering up to 6,000 bends before failing (presumably based on factory tests). For perspective, the updated PowerLine II gives you more than 12,000 bends. We don’t have an official gauge for what this actually means in real-life usage, but Anker is hanging their hat on the fact that this cable lasts six times longer than others.
It’s coated in what Anker calls “double nylon-braiding and precision laser welding”, and it really does feel like it safeguards against bending and twisting, pinching and stretching.
We spent a week or two with our PowerLine+, so we couldn’t test the 6,000-bend point, nor do we know how it fares against the official Apple Lightning cable. Anecdotally, the cable feels very strong and substantial. It’s coated in what Anker calls “double nylon-braiding and precision laser welding”, making it feel like it safeguards against bending and twisting, pinching and stretching. The attention to detail here is important because it’s one of the main selling points against the official cable.
In the case of charging speed, no news is honestly good news. Charging speed is mostly dictated by the wattage of the power brick that you’re using with the cable. There are some considerations with cheap cables as to whether they can stand higher voltage sends, but we ran the Anker PowerLine+ on a standard 12W iPad adapter and a standard portable charger. It worked well for both.
The cable is MFi certified and seems to get Apple’s seal for approval to work with any Lightning-supported Apple device
It also comes with a premium-feeling cloth, and has a portfolio-style carrying case with a suede-esque interior and a velcro loop to hold the cable secure. It’s important to note that you won’t get the full fast charging capabilities of the newest iPhones without a USB-C-to-Lightning cable, but you can get faster speeds using the iPad brick. One final note on this point, the cable is MFi certified, receiving Apple’s seal for approval to work with any Lightning-supported Apple device. At the end of the day, this will do the job for those in the Apple ecosystem.
You can think of features as a catch-all category. As we’ve stated, there isn’t much to say about Lightning cables. If they charge your phone adequately, and they feel durable enough to last a long time, that’s really most of the requisites right there. The PowerLine+ has all that durability and stability needed, but it throws in a few extra benefits, too.
First off, at 6 feet long, it’s a great length for a cable. We found that the 3-foot cables provided with iPhones are just slightly too short, but something like 9 or 10 feet is too long to be portable. This offers a nice balance. It also comes with a premium-feeling cloth, and has a portfolio-style carrying case with a suede-esque interior and a velcro loop to hold the cable secure. This doubles both as a way to carry your cable/keep it in our bag and to keep it coiled at the right length.
It also comes with a premium-feeling cloth, and has a portfolio-style carrying case with a suede-esque interior and a velcro loop to hold the cable secure.
Anker claims you can use the loop to adjust the length of the cable, ostensibly by pulling out only the amount of cable you want and leaving any excess coiled up inside the case. The case is really meant for storage and cable management, not as a “length refiner”. But, it’s really nice to see it here, because normally you don’t get much more than a cable tie with a charging cord.
At $17.99 (MSRP), the price really is right on this charging cable. And that’s an important point—Anker has a great deal when it comes to their products. They give you a premium-feeling build from a reasonably respected brand, and they do it at objectively affordable prices. At the time of this writing, you can pick up the PowerLine+ in the 6-foot variant for about $18, which is great compared to the $19 you pay for Apple’s official 3-foot variant, with none of the premium build or accessories. It isn't the cheapest cable out there, but it offers a solid value.
AmazonBasics: The closest you’ll get in look and feel is from AmazonBasics, but you will sacrifice some of the fit and finish for the lower price point.
Apple (Official): While many third-party cables are technically “certified” if you’re concerned about official compatibility, go with the pricier, less-durable original from Apple.
Ankoda Braide: Many of these cables feel like reskins of Anker products, but you can get great value with the multi-packs from Ankoda.
A durable, feature-rich Lightning cable for a fair price.
The Anker PowerLine+ is a great Lightning cable, with about as many bells and whistles as you can hope for. There’s a suede-interior carrying case that has a classy weathered look. The cable itself is a beautiful red and seems very durable. Plus, it does the thing it’s supposed to do really well, offering a stable, solid charge.