Tested: Anker’s new Bio Lightning cables bring an environmentally friendly design to iPhone 14

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Earlier this month, Anker launched an entirely new lineup of cables with a unique twist. Setting out to help tackle the growing e-waste problem, the company has tapped into a new material that trades out the typical plastic sheathing for a corn and sugarcane-based build. But is the new Anker Bio Lightning Cable actually worth the refreshed design? Our latest Tested with 9to5Toys review takes a closer look.

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Anker Bio Lightning Cable hands-on look

Anker makes some of our favorite accessories at 9to5Toys, but its latest release looked to mix up that past success with an entirely new approach. Having hit the scene right before iPhone 14 was announced, the new Anker Bio-Based Lightning cable began shipping with a refreshed build that looks to swap out plastic for a more environmentally friendly build.

Cutting back on e-waste, the new Bio-Based cables are made from 40% plant-based materials, including corn and sugarcane. The cords don’t make any compromises elsewhere, as you’ll still find support for up to 30W charging and a USB-C plug on the other side of its Lightning adapter. All of that earns the new Anker Bio Lightning Cable a $18.99 price point. It’s now available on Amazon and comes in one of five different colors in both 3- and 6-foot designs.

Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:

  • The exterior of the cable body is built using bio-based materials from plants like corn and sugarcane. 
  • With a 20,000-bend life span, this cable is more than ready to handle the stresses and strains of daily use. 
  • MFi certified for flawless compatibility with all Lightning devices, including iPhone, iPad, and more. 
  • Supports up to 30W charging – enough to power your iPhone or iPad at high speed. 

9to5Toys’ Take

Last time I reviewed one of Anker’s cables, last year’s PowerLine III Flow cords, it became a staple in my everyday carry. Now the brand is looking to challenge that success by going back to the drawing board by releasing a cable that ditches plastic for a more plant-based build. I’ve been using the new Anker Bio Lightning Cable for nearly the past three weeks, and I have to say that I am still quite happy with the result – even if things aren’t perfect.

Right out of the packaging, the Anker Bio Lightning Cable feels pretty much like any other old cable. It has a rubber feel that you would almost never imagine is made of corn or sugarcane but that is much less flexible than your traditional alternative. The cable has grooves around the outside that give it a nice texture, but it ultimately just doesn’t bend in the same way that you’d expect.

After about three weeks of usage, the cable is still in a like-new condition, despite powering up my iPhone 14 every day. I’ll be keeping an eye on the build as time goes on, but the results so far really speak to how Anker was able to deliver a durable design even with new materials.

I’ve had Apple Lightning cables in the past not fare this well after a similar amount of time being thrown in bags, twisted around while plugged into power banks, or stretched trying to get as much distance from the wall outlet. One of my favorite aspects, though, is that Anker does include an integrated cable tie with its new Bio-Based series. It’s a little thing but should also help make sure that your cord isn’t taking an absolute beating when stowed away in between charging sessions.

At the end of the day, Anker almost completely executes on the concept of a more environmentally friendly cord. The thing I was really looking for from my usage was to not be able to tell that this wasn’t your typical cable, something that Anker is just shy of completely delivering on. It’s still a bit stiff compared to other cords out there.

But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t recommend these. Oh, on the contrary. I love that Anker took more of a risk by switching to a completely different material for its latest cables. The final product may not be virtually indistinguishable from a plastic alternative of days past, but it delivers on all of the areas that really do matter.

So while the pricing might be a bit higher, the added perk of knowing that these won’t be contributing as much to e-waste as other cords makes the Anker Bio-Based lineup an easy sell for me, especially considering this is only a dollar or two more than other models on the market.

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