iPhone Adapter: Expensive means better?

 

Ever since I've switched over to iPhone 7, I find myself constantly looking for adapters that supports both audio and charging at the same time.

I loved my first ever one, the Pill adapter (that's what it's called on some online shopping site), it's a brandless one which makes it difficult for me to buy it again. It cost $5 and its the best I've ever had. The reason? Because it supports data transfer. Unfortunately, it didn't last too long, say only about 4 months max.

I then got myself another adapter, but it doesn't support data transfer. Since then, I've started a short "quest" in search for one that supports data transfer, but so far, I've found none.

Hence, I thought perhaps its because I'm always buying cheap, brandless adapters that cost about SG$1-2 each. Maybe something more expensive would work? So I went and got myself a slightly "branded" one from the budget level. This one cost ~SG$6.50. It's the Baseus L46.

Baseus L46



 

Specifications:

Material: TPE + Aluminum alloy
Current: 2A max
 
Ok, WOW! I didn't expect it to come with such well-designed packaging. I mean, I'm so used to getting one in ziplocked plastic bag.
 

The body is aluminum alloy which makes it light yet sturdy. Connectors and ports are pretty tight, so it doesn't fall off or have intermittent easily. There is a "step" between the body of the adapter and the connector, which make it possible to use even with phone cover/casing on.



It comes with a warranty card too! But I guess I wouldn't want to send back to China just to get a replacement as buying a new one would be cheaper than the shipping cost.


Anyway, that concludes the introduction to this more "expensive", slightly "branded" adapter from the budget category. Now to the comparison.


Comparison


I'll just be comparing some of the cheap SG$1-2 each adapters with the Baseus L46 and a Wee charging cable (as a bonus). I know, both are not big brands but well, I'm just trying to compare the really dirt cheap ones with something more expensive to see if the extra money is worth it or that they just goes into the brand and packaging.

Before we begin, I'll like to share with you what kind of adapters I've tried before.

The ones with cable.


I've 2 of this. One of the have 2 lightning port while the other have a 3.5mm and lightning port. Both works fine with my iPhone 7, but the one with 3.5mm connector doesn't support volume control or microphone. In fact MOST adapter that has the 3.5mm connector doesn't support volume control and microphone.

These are Ok to use but the dangling cable is quite annoying, especially when playing games. 


Knockoff Wee charging cable. (We shall call it KOWee)


This one is more for gaming as it has this long and flat "bar" that is good for holding and supporting the palm when hold sideways. At one end of the "bar" is a 3.5mm connector which allows for audio output only. The other side is an USB cable. The cable is about 100cm long and is nondetachable.

To be honest, it is really quite good for gaming and are more expensive than the usual connectors.

The Pill


The pill adapter seems quite common around here. They're indeed quite cute and colourful.I've gotten one and only one that can do data transfer, the other 2 that I've bought doesn't support data transfer and doesn't last.

The $1ish

This is the one that I got from online that cost ~SG$2 for 2. They looks and feel good and work like they should.

Comparison Chart

I measured the output of the port and cable before I started the experiment. 


I'm quite confident that the port is able to supply at least 1A of current and the highest have went up to 1.35A. I'm not sure if its the limitation of the port or the cable or my iPad but then, I'll just go with that. 

$1ish Baseus L46 KOWee Cable

Has no indication of the max current. Promises 2A output Has no indication of the max current.
Actual Current: 0.97A


Actual Current: 1.17A

Actual Current: 0.97A
Cost: SG$1-1.50 Cost: SG$6.50-7.00 Cost: SG$10-11
Data Transfer: Not Supported Data Transfer: Not Supported Data Transfer: Not Supported
Lightning Connector:
Pins look rough and uneven
Lightning Connector:
Pins are smooth and well aligned.
Lightning Connector:
 
Looks pretty aligned and even.
Orientation: Matters a lot.

There is a side that has a higher chance of successful connection and less intermittent.
Orientation: Doesn't matter.

Both sides works with no problem.

Orientation: Doesn't matter.


Both sides works with no problem.

Connection Strength: 

- Sometimes a little light tag at the cable will breaking the connection and music will stop.

- Random disconnection happens

- Controls can randomly stop working
Connection Strength:

- So far there hasn't been much disconnection.

- Controls work perfectly fine with this adapter.



Connection Strength:

- So far there hasn't been much disconnection.

- Controls doesn't work correctly. Both "+" and "answer" button increases volume. "-" button works fine.

Sound:
No distortion or statistics.
Sound:
No distortion or statistics.
Sound:
No distortion or statistics.
Microphone: Supported. Microphone: Supported. Microphone: Not Supported.


Conclusion

I'll have to say that I'm pretty surprise by how close the charging speed of these adapters are. I'm even more surprise that a "gaming cable" (as its advertised) doesn't have a higher charging speed.

But anyway, when comparing the 2 non-gaming cables, I feel that perhaps, the extra cost actually goes into 2 places - packaging and workmanship. But of course it maybe too early to tell, perhaps the Baseus L46 would last much longer than the $1ish one and makes all the extra money worth it! If that happens, I'll be sure to update you guys!

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