StarTech Cables Review – Sync and Charge Intelligently

StarTech Cables

An assortment of StarTech Cables

Smartphones gobble power, and because of that, it’s nearly impossible to get through a longer than usual day without sneaking in a top-off somewhere. Carrying around the same cable that you use to charge your phone at home is possible, but the chances of it getting lost or damaged grow exponentially depending upon the number of places in which it is being used. Why take the chance of losing the cable that came with your smartphone, when for a reasonable amount you can pick a spare cable that adds even more flexibility and functionality to your device? That seems to be the premise behind the 30-pin iPhone, iPod, and iPad  cables offered by StarTech.

Granted, the three StarTech Cables I was sent won’t work with the iPhone 5, the iPad mini, the latest iPod touch, or the 4th generation iPad retina, but they will work with all of the other generations of iPhones, iPads, iPod touches, and most of the traditional style iPods out there. In other words, all of these …

Devices that still use Apple's 30-pin connector

Devices that still use Apple’s 30-pin connector

In my house we still have plenty of iDevices that need a 30-pin connector, so I was more than happy to give these StarTech cables a try.

I asked for an assortment, and that is exactly what they sent. Included in my box was a 6.5 foot long (2 meter) USB Right Angle Cable, a 1.6 foot (50 cm) Left Angle Dock Connector to USB Cable, and a cool 30-pin Dock Connector to USB Combo Cable.

StarTech Cables

StarTech Cables’ 6.5ft/2m long USB Right Angle Cable for iPhone / iPod / iPad

All of these cables appear to be of a similar quality to the original white Apple cables that came with our iDevices, but each has some major differences. The 6.5 foot (78″) long cable, for instance, is substantially longer than the cable that comes with any iPhone, iPad, or iPod. This makes it much more convenient for using on a bedside table for reading and charging while in bed, for instance, or for using in an extra-large vehicle like a van or Suburban. The right angle on the bottom of the plug means that the cable is directed to the side and out of the way. Would you rather the cable angle out of the way on the left side? That’s okay, StarTech sells those, too!

The 6.5ft/2m long USB Right Angle Cable for iPhone / iPod / iPad is “stepped”, which means that it will work with your iDevice even when it is inside one of those protective cases with the tight plug tolerances that won’t usually work with non-Apple cables; that’s a big deal.  This cable retails for $19.99, which is 99¢ more than Apple charges for their 40″ 30-pin replacement cable. You’re getting 38 extra inches for that price though, so what’s not to like?

StarTech Cables

StarTech Cables’ 1.6ft/50cm long Left Angle Apple Dock Connector to USB Cable

Why would you want a super short cable like the 20″ long Left Angle Apple Dock Connector to USB Cable? Well, do you use a cradle to hold your iPhone or iPad in your car? Is that cradle anywhere near your charging port? If it is, then I bet that you have a lot of extra cable either wound up or left hanging. With this little shorty cable, you can keep your iDevice charged, and you won’t have to find a place to tuck away a bunch of unused cable. I know, it’s a minor inconvenience, but if you are going to buy a cable to keep in your car, why not buy one that actually suits the situation?

Just like the longer cable I just told you about, this 20″ cable is also “stepped”, so it will perfectly charge your iDevice without having to remove those tighter toleranced (is that a word?) protective cases. Even better, this cable has a left angle, which should work very well for drivers in the US who have a charging port on the left of their cradle. If your charging port is on the right, then StarTech sells a right angle charging cable, too.

This cable retails for $15.99, which is $3 cheaper than the standard 40″ Apple 30-pin replacement cable.

StarTech Cables

StarTech Cables’ Dock Connector to USB Combo Cable

This last of the three StarTech Cables is pretty much the most awesome thing ever — if you tend to carry an iPad and an Android phone, or an iPhone and an Android Tablet, or an iPhone and a Bluetooth headset, or any other combination of iDevices that need a 30-pin connector and a device that uses a microUSB charger. This cable has both in one — the microUSB is tucked neatly into the base of the 30-pin connector. There is even a tether on each side of the 30-pin connector so that when it is flipped over and not in use, it won’t get lost.

The StarTech Dock Connector to USB Combo Cable is another shorty cable at just 2.1 feet, but being able to use one cable to replace two is always a bonus; anyone who travels and has to remember to bring certain cables for certain devices will know exactly what I am talking about. This cable retails for $18.99, which is exactly the same price as … oh wait. Apple would never release a cable that played nicely with some lessor connector such as microUSB! If you want an Apple-branded cable that does this, you won’t find one!

You can see all of the StarTech Cables available for 30-pin connected iDevices by clicking here.

What I Like: Different lengths and angles so that you can charge your iDevice conveniently in nearly any setting; the 30-pin/microUSB cable is genius!

What Needs Improvement: I do wish that there was a longer 30-pin/microUSB cable available …

Source: Manufacturer supplied review samples

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.