There seem to be a few different models circulating, and from what I understand, the quality varies – but I wanted something to sit around in a desk drawer at work on standby for any time that I need a charge – quality and longevity are not important. As long as it isn’t going to blow up my phone, I don’t care.
These cables sold for around 500-yen, they were the cheapest on the market. The build quality is what you would expect at that price. The sleeve before the USB end of the cord is much shorter – around the same size as the early 30-pin cables from Apple (which had a real problem with fraying). As you can see from the image above, the plastic around the knock-off Lightning connector is noticeably thicker and its sleeve is shorter (but chunkier) than its Apple counterpart. Looking closer still, the business end of the Lightning connector doesn’t have the same clean construction as the Apple cable. It looks like a cheap knock-off, but does it work?
Yes, it does – up to a point. If you are using the cable to interface with your super-expensive speaker dock, you are going to be disappointed. These do get a little bit noisy. Other than that, you are in business. It charged my iPhone 5 just as quickly as the Apple version and wired tethering worked just as smoothly as it had always done – I did not notice any differences.
Shortcomings: After playing around with my knock-off cables for a few days, I found out that there is in fact something that they can’t do. While they behave just like a normal connection when they are directly connected to my computer, when I plugged a knock-off cable into the pass-through USB port of my Logitech 710+ keyboard… nothing happened. My authentic Apple cable has no trouble connecting in this situation (but transfers are much slower). Unfortunately, the iMac doesn’t have enough USB ports to give it a port of its own.
Verdict: It is still money well spent,