DE 9 Ft Lightning to USB Cable Review

The DE 9 Ft Lightning Cable is certainly not the cheapest data and charging cable available.

We paid nearly $25 for ours at K-Mart, which is roughly akin to the pricing on similar Apple-manufactured lightning port cords, though the extra three feet of length here makes this cable a bit cheaper per foot. Its construction, larger size of connectors, and thicker wires supply this DE charger cable with a rugged interface conduit between your mobile devices, computers, and wall and car chargers and computers. Though not exactly a “Genuine Apple Cable,” these Apple-equivalent units function just as well and may even outperform Apple in terms of durability, ease of use, and slightly lower cost per copy.

Of the USB to lightning cables we’ve tested, this DE sync charge cable is among the best USB lightning cable we’ve found.  Though it’s a few feet longer than standard six foot sync charge cables, charging occurs as quickly.  All connections remain cool to the touch, and the thicker wire, while somewhat stiff, is still flexible enough to wrap up into a compact shape when not in use or when traveling.  Our iPad Air consistently and fully charges via this cable, and we almost never see the dreaded, “not charging” message; unlike what happens with the cheaper knock-off charge cables.

Picture of the DE 9 Ft. Lightning to USB Cable, original packaging front view.
DE 9 Ft. Lightning to USB Cable, front view.

Advantages, Benefits, and Features

Ample length.  Extra long cord in this 9-foot version. Over 2m.

Fast charging preserved.  Even the 9-foot model works well in high-current USB Apple devices (those requiring more than one amp for charging). No noticeable increase in required times to achieve a full charge in iPads. Often, the longer cables slow down charging.  Not the case here however.

Heavy cable.  The cord is noticeably thicker than the one that comes with the stock iPad Air USB lightning charge cable. So we predict longer durability. And, though thicker, the wire is almost as flexible as the original Apple charge cable that came with our iPad Air.

Works with non stock USB charger adapters.  Since it features a USB-D port connector, it can be used with most universal USB chargers to charge lightning-accepting devices.

Easy to grasp connectors.  Though the lightning connector found on other sync cables can be rather small, and sometimes gives fits when trying to grasp it, this DE version features a longer and fatter body, that is much easier to grasp, insert, and pull out.

MFi certified.  This cable is made specifically for and works well with most any mobile device that has the lightning connector as its USB like interface, including iPod, iPad 4th Generation, iPad Air, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPad Mini, iPod Touch 5th Generation, and iPod Nano 7th Generation.

Gold-plated contact pins    on both the lightning connector and USB D connector.

Improved connector design.  When we used Apple’s stock lightning cables, that featured too-small connector bodies, we preferred the older 30-pin dock connector to the newer lightning one due to how much easier it was to attach and detach that connector from mobile devices. However, DE has devised in this product, an easier-to-access version of the lightning connector, so that now, we prefer lightning to the Apple’s nearly obsolete dock system connector. The connectors on this cable require about the same small effort as the dock connectors, and can be aimed at the mating holes with greater precision and ease than Apple stock lightning cords. The reason is likely the longer connector body featured in this cable, than what you find on current Apple cables.

USB 2 and USB 3 standards supported.  You can charge your lightning device from any current technology or legacy USB AC adapter.

Functions at least as well as Apple stock accessories.  Meets or exceeds Apple’s rigorous performance standards.

Picture of the DE 9 Ft. Lightning to USB Cable, original packaging back view.
DE 9 Ft. Lightning to USB Cable, original packaging back view.

Concerns, Disadvantages, Cons, Problems, and Limitations

Made in China.

Contains potentially sensitive electronics. All lightning cables feature internal electronics that devices use to “authenticate” the cable before permitting data or charging to take place. This built-in chip could increase cable susceptibility to premature failures. Cables like this are often deemed “fragile,” and that they can stop working too quickly. As such, they should be treated as you would any other piece of delicate electronics. Avoid static electricity, bright sunlight, wet environments, Etc. We’ll note any such observations here over time, as our copy of this cable ages.

Strain relief too rigid. The inflexible strain relief at the lightening connector end of this cable is not sufficiently flexible, and appears to be fabricated from nearly the same rigid plastic as the connector body. So, we’re not sure how effective this feature will be at protecting the cable from breakage due to frequent bending at the connector end. In fact, these may just be a part of the connector bodies, not intended to provide cable strain relief. Reinforced yet flexible strain relief would be an endearing improvement.

Expensive. A bit costly for a simple data cable, even an iPhone charger cord. This however, may be due to Apple’s proprietary hold on the licensing fees that third manufactures like DE must pay, in order to build compatible cables to the Apple mobile device line.

Not full USB charging support. Will not charge micro-USB devices, although you can purchase a lighting-to-micro-USB adapter to fill that need, if you absolutely must use a lightning cable. However, our recommendation is that you simply purchase a USB-D to micro USB cable for that purpose, as those cords can be purchased for far less than cords with lightning connectors.

Only certain stores sell this. DE USB to lightning cables are sold at K-Mart and on eBay. We’ve not found them elsewhere as of this writing, so they can be hard to procure if you don’t happen to live close to a K-Mart.

Single device charging. Can charge only one device per cable. Other cables feature multiple charge ports, both USB and lightning ports. But no biggie if all you have is a single Apple phone or tablet.


Picture of the DE 9 Ft. Lightning to USB Cable, unpacked.
DE 9 Ft. Lightning to USB Cable, unpacked.

Our Rating

This DE USB Cable for Apple mobile players appears to go beyond the stock Apple cables in terms of quality construction, as well as overall ease of use. Though a bit pricey for a data sync cord, this product is by no means excessively priced. We were pleased to find it KMart here around Pennsylvania. Now that the lightening interface has grown sufficiently in popularity since its release in 2012, cables like this one are becoming easier and easier to locate. Hopefully, Apple will ease up on its licensing fees for third-party product builders, and these cables will fall in cost yet remain in the upper crust of decent construction.

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Revision History

  • 2015-10-21: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-12: Originally published.