Snakable Lightning USB cable

Review: Snakable Lightning-USB charging cable

Image credit: Jonathan Wilson

Cables: we’ve all got a drawer full of them at home. No matter how wireless and free our devices aspire to be, at some point they have to come down to earth and be tethered to a charging point, often by a cable that seems disturbingly prone to breakage in an expensively short space of time.

Cables where the shielding frays or the wires break or the sheath bunches up at the end, causing turtlenecking and ultimately failure. As the cables are typically too fragile and fiddly to repair, they’re thrown away and a replacement bought – and thus the cycle begins again.

What is needed is a tougher, more intelligent cable that has been specifically designed to withstand the rigours of modern use. Enter Snakable, “the USB cable with armor”.

The brainchild of Wes Goulbourne, an aerospace employee who was fed up with USB cables constantly failing on him for no good reason, Snakable was born of the cable frustration familiar to us all.

Inspired by the simple lateral movement of toy plastic snakes, Goulbourne started creating prototypes of the Snakable cable’s flexible, ball-joint-ended system on his own 3D printer, experimenting with the form and functionality to eliminate the strain on the connectors and cable end, the most common cause of cable failure.

Following a rip-roaringly successful Kickstarter campaign – the public’s $40,000 pledges almost doubling Goulbourne’s modest goal of $28,000 – Snakable USB cables were able to go into full production.

Using a TPU cable jacket with reinforced EMI shielding and plastic assembly for the patent-pending, rotating strain-relief ball-joint assembly for the connectors at both ends of the cable, the Snakable is deemed tough enough for the company to back its products with a three-year warranty.

Despite the added girth of the ball-joints at the connector ends, the connectors themselves are still slim enough to fit almost all types of case, including bulkier, heavy-duty options such as those offered by LifeProof and Otterbox.

The Micro-USB cable was the first cable offered by Snakable. Now the company has an MFi-certified Lightning option available, compatible with any Lightning-equipped iPhone, iPad and iPod.

It weighs next to nothing (0.05 lb), so adds hardly anything to your daily bag and the 48” length is long enough for most use cases.

We put the Snakable cable to the ultimate test, placing it in the hands of one of the most destructive forces on the planet: a teenager.

Our test teen has managed to burn through close to a dozen USB charging cables for their phone over the last year or two, in one notable instance conspiring to break a brand-new cable in the same weekend they got it. Suffice to say, the Snakable was really up against it, facing its toughest challenge.

The result? After three months of continuous, daily use, the Snakable cable still looks as fresh as the day it was first pulled out of its packaging and is working flawlessly. There is no fraying at any point on the cable and the ball-end joints are still flexible, rotating smoothly and keeping the Lightning and USB jack ends fully functional.

Given the likely replacement costs that would have otherwise been borne for several “cheap” cables over this same period, the cost of a Snakable cable is good value – especially when you consider that we fully expect the cable to last many more months, even years. They look pretty cool, too.

The Snakable cable costs $29.99 and can be ordered online direct from the US:

UK retail availability of the Lightning cable is expected later this year.

Snakable USB to micro-USB cables are available now in the UK from Amazon:

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