USB Cables are a dime a dozen. Lightning cables are more expensive but come in all shapes, sizes and quality. Most cables are perfectly acceptable sitting on your nightstand at home but if you carry it with you (EDC) or travel with it, then you need to make sure you pickup something that can withstand the torture it will endure.
Native Union is a boutique accessory maker that seems to put some thought in their designs and charges accordingly. No $2.99 cables here. The question is :
A colleague was nice enough to lend me his cables for testing. He had bought them from Amazon.com for $25US a piece.
Let's get the basic specifications out of the way.
- comes in 1.2M (belt) and 3M (belt XL) variants
- It is a tangle free braided cable
- has a leather cable tidy
- is apple MFI certified so you won't get an accessory not supported message (on Apple products) like many cheap Amazon copies.
Cables are cables, don't expect anything revolutionary. One side connects to a USB power brick (or computer) and the other to your device. The difference between a good cable and bad one is the quality of the material and workmanship.
Native Union seems to have used to shelve high quality materials which makes the cable feel sturdy. The "belt" leather strap is functional but nothing to write home about. It works by keeping your cable organized.
Using the Native Union Belt USB & Lightning Cables
First I tested the power output of the Native Union lightning cable connected to an Anker brick capable of pushing 2.4A/5V with an iPad Air 2. The original Apple provided cables was able to transport 2.4A/5V (measured with a USB power meter.) The Native Union lightning cable performed exactly the same.
I then tested transferring files from a Moto X 2016 using the Motorola cable and then the Native Union cable and transfer times were similar.
The cable is more stiff than the original Apple or Motorola cable so using the device while connection will need some getting use to but nothing too dramatic.
After use, wrapping the cable and tidying it with the belt is simple. The ultimate durability test was throwing it in my main laptop bad accessory pocket (a RedOxx CPA bag) and using it day in day out. While most cables break after a couple of weeks, the Native Union Belt actually looked as good on day 20 as it did on day 1.
I'll be the first to admit $25 is a lot to spend on a cable but it is worth it for the business user or traveler that relied on his gadgets being charged regardless of where he/she goes. Obviously Native Union chose premium materials (except the belt felt a bit cheap) to design a cable that will last many many years soI wouldn't be gun shy to recommend buying these. Unfortunately there isn't a USB-C option yet but I have to believe one is on the way.
So my closing remark is buy it if you can find it. I know the USB version is out of stock on the Native Union website and is selling at a premium on Amazon ($30). The Lightning version seems available everywhere.