Last week, Anker debuted a special edition 24K gold-plated USB-C to Lightning cable priced at $100, marking an unusual departure for the popular accessory company known for producing high-quality products at reasonable prices.
While the cable itself is really just the company's PowerLine+ III cable with gold plating, Anker offered to send one over to me so I decided to check it out.
The cable comes packaged in a clamshell cardboard box inside a black and gold sleeve covered in product details and imagery. Sliding the box out of the sleeve, you'll find some raised gold text with the Anker logo and tagline.
The box is held closed magnetically, but it doesn't require much force to flip it open, where you're greeted with the two gold connectors and a bit of the cable prominently displayed in a custom box insert. The remainder of the cable is hidden away, coiled inside the insert.
The top portion of the box includes some "You're Now A Part of Charging Royalty" text to help make you feel like it was worth spending $100 on a Lightning cable, and a pull tab lets you lift the panel to reveal the leather-like storage pouch for the cable.
All in all, it's a relatively premium unboxing experience, particularly for something as straightforward as a cable, and it's clear Anker is anticipating a lot of these will be given as gifts.
I've used Anker's regular PowerLine+ III cables, and they're very high quality with good reinforcement at the base of each connector and a braided cable for a premium feel and durability. The regular version comes in three- and six-foot lengths, while the 24K gold version is only available in the six-foot length. I generally prefer the longer cables anyway, as they offer great flexibility for stretching a bit farther from an outlet than the standard cables Apple includes with its devices.
The cable on the new PowerLine+ III is 30 percent slimmer than on the previous PowerLine+ II, but it's even more durable. Anker says the braided cables are rated to withstand 35,000 bends, and they come with a lifetime warranty against quality issues.
The connectors are made from scratch-resistant stainless steel, and the cables support high-speed charging over Lightning with at least an 18-watt power adapter.
So what makes the new 24K gold cable different from the regular version other than a $100 price tag instead of $35? Well, it's mostly about the looks. The gold plating on the connectors and the black-and-gold braiding on the cable certainly stand out, so you'll definitely be able to pick it out of a crowd.
The included cable tie is plastic-backed velcro on the regular PowerLine+ III cables, but the 24K gold version uses a leather strap with a gold pin to fit with the luxury theme. A leather-effect pouch with a gold snap closure continues that theme, giving you a place to store your cable when not in use and keep it from getting damaged.
When it comes to functionality, there's no difference compared to the regular version, which is already a premium USB-C to Lightning cable. I've obviously only had the cable for a few days, but so far I've experienced no problems with it.
Braided cables tend to be a little bit stiffer than traditional ones and frequently don't coil quite as smoothly, but if you've used other braided cables you've probably already seen this.
The connectors on Anker's PowerLine cables are also significantly larger than the ones on Apple's cables. It makes the connectors easier to grab, but it can potentially cause issues with certain cases, for example, that don't have enough clearance around the Lightning port. It's not something I've run into with this or other PowerLine cables, but I have on occasion seen it in the past with certain combinations of iPad cases and other third-party cables.
Do you need Anker's 24K gold-plated USB-C to Lightning cable? Of course not, and Anker isn't expecting to sell a ton of them. But it's a fun way for the company to take an existing product to the next level and there will undoubtedly be some users willing to drop a Benjamin for something relatively unique, either for themselves or as a gift.
If you're interested in checking out Anker's gold-plated Lightning cable, it's available at Amazon for $99.99.
Note: Anker provided MacRumors with the special edition gold-plated Lightning cable for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received.