Belkin Lightning USB Cable, 1.2M, 4 Ft Review




The Belkin lightning USB cable for charge & sync (part number 8830bt15381 Rev B01 ) for Apple devices, at just several dollars per cord online is a steal.



It’s among the cheapest cables we’ve bought.  Yet this  lightning cable carries the Belkin name brand, which means high quality.  Yet this cable still charges even the biggest iPads, whereas many cheaper cables will not.  The construction here with the thicker cabling make this charger cable quite the rugged patch cord.  Though not exactly a “Genuine Apple Cable,”  Belkin cables like this one are Apple-equivalent units. In fact, they function  as well as Apple cords in terms of durability and ease of use.  They perform better than Apple in terms of  lower cost per cable. Of the cords we’ve examined, this Belkin cord works as hoped.

Picture of front of original package for the Belkin lightning USB cable.
Belkin lightning USB cable, front view of original Package.

Advantages, Benefits, and Features of this Belkin Lightning USB Cable

High USB Current Handling

Works well in high-current drawing iPads.  No noticeable increase in required times to achieve a full charge.  Often, the longer cables slow down charging.

More Substantial Cable

This Belkin lightning USB cable is noticeably thicker than the one that comes with the stock iPad Air USB lightning charge cable, though not as thick as the Axcel Lightning Cable we tested a while back.  So we predict increased durability.  And, though thicker, the wire is indeed flexible.  It’s almost as flexible as the original Apple charge cable included with our iPad Air.



Fits Any USB Charger

Since it has a USB-D port, you can use it with most universal USB chargers to charge your Apple devices.

Strain Relief Provided

They include strain relief, after a fashion, at both ends.  Some end-wire protection is better than none at all.  Nice that Belkin includes this. But it really needs more flexibility.

Larger Connector Body

Though the lightning connector itself is rather small, and sometimes gives us fits when trying to grasp it on the stock Apple cables, this Belkin lightning USB cable had a fatter, longer body, that is a bit easier to grasp, insert, and remove.

Charges Most Lightning Devices

Belkin makes this cable for most any mobile lightning enabled device. These include iPod, later iPads, iPhone 5 and up, iPod Touch, and iPod Nano 7th Generation.  We have seen issues with devices not charging, even though they report that they are.  But we saw this only on the bigger Apple products like the iPads.  However, this cable charges our iPad Air flawlessly, every time.



Reliable Connections

Gold-plated contact pins on both the lightning connector and USB D connector, enable maximum charging current and data transfers.

Almost as Easy as Apple’s Docking Connectors to Plug In and Remove

When we used Apple’s stock lightning cables, we like the old dock plug better.  These new stock lightning cables had a too-small connector body that made them hard to grab.  So we preferred the older 30-pin dock connector to the newer lightning one.

However, Belkin has devised in this product, an easier-to-work version of the lightning plug.  This plug converted us into lightning groupies!  Indeed, we now prefer lightning to the Apple’s nearly obsolete dock plug.  The plugs on this Belkin lightning USB cable need about the same small effort as the dock plugs. Plus, aiming them at the ports is faster and simpler than with the Apple stock lightning cords.  Lightning cords plug in either way, whereas the docking plugs only go in one way.  Overall, we find them much easier to use.

Reasonably Affordable

Much less costly than an Apple data cable.  This Belkin lightning USB cable is even cheaper than a stock iPhone charger cord. But it is however, more expensive than the absolute cheapest versions.



2-year Limited Warranty

 

Picture of the Belkin lightning USB cable, as originally packaged.
Belkin lightning USB cable, as originally packaged.

 

Concerns, Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Limitations of this Belkin Lightning USB Cable

Strain Relief Too Rigid

The strain relief at both ends of this cable is not nearly flexible enough. Looks like they built it from the same rigid plastic as the plug body.  So, we’re not sure how good this feature will be.  It may not protect the cable from breakage due to lots of bending at the plug end.  But, we’re hoping it works well.  But these may just be a part of the plug bodies, not to strain-relieve. Reinforced yet flexible strain relief would be a great improvement.

Contains Sensitive Electronics

Lightning cables have some internal circuits. These systems talk to devices when connected. These devices “authenticate” the cable.  This must happen before lightning devices allow data exchange and charging through the cable.

But, this built-in chip might make the cable more prone to early failures.

So, cords like this Belkin lightning USB cable are thought to be “fragile.”  As such, they should be treated as you would any other piece of delicate electronics.  Avoid static electricity, bright sunlight, wet places, Etc.  We’ll note any such observations here over time, as ours ages.



Not Full USB Charging Support

Will not charge micro-USB devices.  Although you can buy a lighting-to-micro-USB changer to fill that need, don’t.  True.  This cable does not do that right out of the box.  But don’t try to make it fit where it won’t go.  If you must use a lightning cable, buy a cable with the ends you need already built in.  To that end, we suggest a USB-D to micro USB cable. You can get those cords for far less than cords with lightning plugs.  Don’t use lightning to USB changers.  Too many problems.

Single Device Charging Only

Can charge only one device per cable.  Other cables have multiple charge ports, both USB and lightning ports. But not a big deal if all you have is a single Apple phone or tablet.

 

Picture of the back of the carton for the Belkin Lightning Data Sync Charge Cable.
Belkin Lightning Data Sync Charge Cable Carton Back.

Our Rating

This Belkin USB to Lightning Cable for Apple mobile devices appears to go beyond the stock Apple cables. In terms of ease of finding it, lower price, and overall good build, this cable fits the bill.  Though we have found tablets that this cable would not charge, the cheaper price well offsets any of this.  It charges all our devices.  So finding this cord on eBay pleased us a lot.  Now that USB lightening cables have grown more popular since release in 2012, cables like this are easier to find.  Thus we’d rate this accessory at 92 out of 100.

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References

Revision History

  • 2018-03-13: Revised title, tags, and content.
  • 2015-10-26: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-09-19: Added more tags for lighting USB sync, data, and charge cables.
  • 2015-08-03: Originally published.