When Apple announced that their Lightning connector standard was nigh impossible to manufacture without their consent, they were literally goading Chinese manufacturers to come out with unofficial knock-offs. This is something that Apple most likely wouldn’t want to hear–but I’ve played with a bunch of unofficial Lightning cables and adapters, and they work! At least for the majority of the time.
A friend of mine came back from his vacation from China, and although he doesn’t own any Apple device with a Lightning connector, he bought a bunch of unofficial Lightning cable and adaptors because he knew I would get a kick out of it.
A selection of Lightning cables and micro USB to Lightning adapters greeted me when I met my friend at a neighborhood Starbucks. Even at first glance, it was already obvious that these Lightning accessories were imitations. The build quality was pretty shabby, the plastic used was obviously low quality and it would seem to me that it wouldn’t withstand much abuse without breaking down. Comparing the connector tips between the official and the unofficial one was like night and day, while the original Apple branded one had very clean edges and looked like it was meticulously made. The unofficial ones looked like they were rushed out the manufacturing plant, as the edges were rough and they looked very dirty.
I wasn’t expecting much from the unofficial Lightning accessories, so I proceeded to test them. To my surprise, all of the unofficial ones actually worked, although not as consistently as the Apple branded ones. The imitation Lightning accessories do both charging and data syncing, but I would periodically get the “accessory not supported” warning on my iPhone 5 whenever I plugged it into my Mac using the imitation stuff. A quick disconnect and reconnect to the USB port seems to solve the problem.
The official Apple branded Lightning USB cable and micro USB adapter costs around Php 990 each, the fake ones costs around 30 to 50 RMB (Php 210 to Php 350) depending on how good you are in haggling in Chinese. Quite a huge price difference.
Still, an iPhone 5 is quite expensive and I wouldn’t risk breaking it using a fake accessory. I’ll be sticking to the official one.
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