By: Lynn Grogan
In our house, charge and sync cables are doomed to a swift, early demise. It’s nothing short of a miracle if we keep one going for more than a couple of months without the plastic coating cracking open, always in the part where the plug transitions to the cable. Once this happens it’s just a matter of time before someone gets an electric shock or the cable stops working. So I dig out the adhesive tape and wrap it around the broken part. Then the tape loosens up and starts sliding away to reveal the broken part again. It’s at this point that I do what any reasonable person with mild to moderate hoarding instincts would do: I put the broken cable in my office drawer. For some reason, I can’t bring myself to throw them out, so I shove them to the back of that drawer instead, where they reside along with a couple of broken Kindles, a BlackBerry from 2005 and a bunch of expired Jiffy Lube coupons. Subsequently, in addition to having to regularly replace a variety of costly cables for my Lightning™and Micro USB devices, I’m also forced to root through yards of tangled cords and junk to find my crocodile clips and mini Post-It note pads.
No more “flimsy” cables!
I’m sure most people have had similar experiences with their charge and sync cables. It’s frustrating, expensive, and, in my case, can start taking up way too much drawer space. If you’re wondering why my cables keep breaking so quickly I would like to point out that it’s not because I buy the cheap ones from dodgy websites. Nor does my home have a vermin infestation – there aren’t any rats chewing on them. One issue is that our kids occasionally forget to charge their devices and end up having to charge them while they use them. And they do have a tendency to inadvertently pull and twist the cord while playing games and watching videos. But that said, we’re still talking normal wear and tear — nothing extreme going on. So I decided to stop purchasing the regular, flimsy cables and instead go get myself something nice and sturdy that won’t end up in the drawer within a few months.
Essential search term: “Strain Relief”
I knew I needed a sturdier cable, but after doing a little bit of research online I realized that what I was really looking for was “strain relief” – the thicker, ringed part where the plug transitions to the cable. The job of a strain relief is to stop the cable from bending too sharply, which eventually causes the casing around the wires to crack after repeated use. Based on my history with charge and sync cables, I realized that strain relief would be an essential feature of any new cable purchase.
Scosche Charge and Sync Cables
I came across StrikeLine™ Rugged LED charge and sync cables from Scosche for Lightning and micro-USB devices. These cables let you know when your devices are fully charged with a handy LED charge indicator that glows red when charging and turns blue when fully charged. Nice feature. The selling point for me, however, was the bit about them being part of Scosche’s award-winning Optimized for Outdoors collection, which means they’ve been built and tested to endure the rigors of the outdoors. This part was particularly appealing:
“Their rigid high-impact polycarbonate main housing and flexible over-molded strain relief are super-sized for maximum durability. That’s why we feel confident enough to offer them with an industry-leading lifetime limited warranty.”
That was good enough for me. Plus the price was right and the lifetime warranty cinched it. I bought a couple for my Lightning devices and three for micro USB. The Strikeline series features a range of sturdy cables with strain relief for virtually any device or combination of devices, including a variety of USB-C cables, Lightning to 3.5mm Stereo Cable for new Apple devices without headphone jacks, and many more. Check out the entire range of Scosche cables and adapters at www. Scosche.com. You’ll be spoiled for choice.
I also purchased a couple of Scosche SyncAble™ HD Heavy Duty Reversible Micro USB Cables. There are lots of different cables within the SyncAble range, including Lightning, Mini and Micro USB and more, plus there’s plenty of different colors and various lengths to choose from. I wanted to try this particular cable out not just because of the sturdiness factor, but because of the “Reversible Micro USB” aspect. Honestly, I can defy the odds when it comes to inserting a micro USB connector into a device. Nine times out of ten I’ll get it wrong the first time and have to switch it around. Annoying. What’s worse, my son has managed to successfully shove the connector all the way in – the wrong way. Scosche launched the first reversible Micro USB cables last year, and they’re great. I wouldn’t go back.
Standing the test of time
I’ve been using my StrikeLine™ Rugged LED charge and sync cables for nearly a year (been using the SyncAble™ HD Heavy Duty Reversible Micro USB Cables for about nine months) and they still look brand-new. No signs of cracking. They even went camping with us a couple of times, and both kids use them regularly for their Kindles and iPads. And while I do still hoard miscellaneous broken tech stuff in that drawer, I’m happy to report that it doesn’t look like there’ll be any new additions to my collection of dead cables anytime soon.