Anker is taking pre-orders for a Lightning-to-USB-C cable that costs much less than Apple’s version. We tested this new accessory to see how quickly it can charge an iPhone to be sure it’s a reasonable copy and not just a cheap knockoff.  

Read on to how well the Anker Powerline II USB-C Cable stood up to our tests.

Anker PowerLine II USB-C Cable with Lightning Connector review

The USB-A charger Apple ships with its phones offers a measly 5W, while the USB-A iPad charger offers 12W.   But recent iOS devices can receive up to 18W of power if a USB-C charger is used. 

Naturally, that requires a Lightning-to-USB-C cable. Apple used to be the only source for MiFi Certified versions of this cable, but the company recently opened up the market. Anker is among the first to offer a truly reliable competitor to Apple’s. 

As a baseline for comparison, we charged an iPhone XS Max with the 5W charger and Lightning-to-USB-A cable that it came with. It took 22 minutes for the battery level to rise 10 percent.

Next, we connected the XS Max with the 18W USB-C charger that comes with the 2018 iPad Pro using Apple’s 1-meter Lightning-to-USB-C cable. 22 minutes of charging raised the battery level 30 percent.

Then we used Anker’s PowerLine II Lightning-to-USB-C cable and the 18W iPad charger with the XS Max. In 22 minutes, the battery level went up 30 percent, the same as Apple’s cable.

Data connections worked equally well. Anker’s cable was able to transfer images between a computer and the iPhone without issue.

Anker PowerLine II hardware

Anker’s PowerLine II USB-C Cable with Lightning Connector looks similar to Apple’s. The main difference is Anker’s feels much more robust.  It’s protected by a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) coating that its manufacturer says will endure 12,000 bends. Anker offers a lifetime warranty.

Anker PowerLine II USB-C Cable
Anker’s Lightning-to-USB-C cable feels more rugged than Apple’s.
Photo: Anker

This cable is 5 feet 11 inches or 1.8 meters. Apple offers 1-meter and 2-meter versions of its Lightning-to-USB-C cable, so Anker’s splits the difference.

The Lightning connector on the PowerLine II is actually made by Apple, which is one of the reasons it earned MiFi Certification. 

Anker PowerLine II USB-C Cable with Lightning Connector final thoughts

Powering up your iPhone with a USB-C  charger is much faster than the whimpy 5w charger that comes with the device. And you can save some money on the necessary cable by getting the Anker PowerLine II, as our tests show it’s at least as good as the ones offered by Apple.

You’ll also want a Lightning-to-USB-C to connect your iPhone to a recent MacBook that uses this standard, either for charging or to exchange data.

Anker is taking pre-orders for its 1.8 meter PowerLine II cable now at $15.99. Apple’s 1m version is $19, while its 2m cable is $35.

There are cheap knockoff cables available for around $5, but these aren’t MiFi Certified. The best that can be said about them is that they probably won’t damage your very expensive phone.  Probably.

The PowerLine II USB-C Cable with Lightning Connector is scheduled to begin shipping on February 20. To sweeten the deal, Anker is offering 20 percent off its USB-C wall and car chargers for the rest of this month to anyone who orders this cable.

For fast charging, you’ll want a USB-C charger with at least 18W. Check out our recent Scosche PowerVolt charger review for another option.

Anker provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more stuff we recommend.

Cult of Mac