Here’s an item that’s pretty high up on the list of unimportant problems: coming up with presents for your kids. The days of thrilling them with a new sled or baseball glove are over, but I bought something great for all three of my kids for Christmas, and it was a hit with them all: an El-Aurora light-up charging cable for their phones. (It’s available with a lightning tip for iPhone/iPad, or Micro USB for most Android phones.)
The cord has a bright LED thread spiraling along its three-foot length — which, when charging, actually animates. When you just plug the USB end into your laptop or wall wart, the light segments illuminate but don’t move. Once you connect your phone, the animation begins, and its speed tells you how charged your phone is. If your phone is dead, the lights flow quickly; when it’s almost full, the animation slows down. It’s as though you can see the electrons flowing and glowing into your phone. (It’s a little hard to describe the full effect, but you can see it in action here. It looks much cooler in person.)
Yes, other lightning cables may charge faster or be longer, but none of them look so freaking cool, especially in the dark. It’s a silent, slinky, sexy light show in something as utilitarian as your cable. Nobody — nobody — fails to react when they see it for the first time. One thing to note: the average star rating for the charger that I bought on Amazon is only 3.0, primarily because it’s saddled with a ton of 1-star reviews from buyers who say that that theirs stopped working. The four I bought are all working great, so maybe I dodged a bullet, but if you’re nervous, there are identical-looking cables from lots of other Chinese companies with names that look like Scrabble racks: Keklle, Bavnco, SN-Riggor, iCrius, Busoh, Momen, AoLiPlus, and so on. Keep it in mind the next time your kid’s (or your own) birthday rolls around.
More Strat-approved phone chargers
If you’d prefer something wireless, try this one that David Pogue recommended just a little while ago: “There’s no sweet spot to find. You don’t even have to take off the phone’s case; the magnetic charge can pass through cases up to 5mm (0.2 inches) thick, as long as it’s not metal. A blue LED lights up to let you know it’s charging.”
Regular readers of our Strategist best-sellers posts will know that this rose gold charger is constantly hitting the list (it was number ten in our most recent one). It originally comes from a post in which we rounded up the most well-reviewed lightning cables on Amazon. One person said: “I’ve ordered endless cables and they all work great for a week and then die. I decided to try this one since it had the lifetime warranty, and I’m so glad I did. It’s excellent and pretty much just like the Apple USB. It charges my phone in the car super fast and even faster via wall charger. I would highly recommend.”
Strategist contributor Alison Freer swears by her “comically long” iPhone charger: “For two years, I’ve used it every single day. In my house, I’ll drag it along everywhere I go. I can lie on any end of the couch and still charge my phone, or lie all the way down in bed (rather than awkwardly perch on one elbow next to the power strip), or even just ride in the backseat of a car with the phone plugged into the cigar socket and still use my phone while charging it. (Why are power outlets always located in the least convenient places possible?) Two full years of heavy use later, it hasn’t split, torn, bent, or even started to fray — and I’ve yanked, twisted, stretched, and dropped it repeatedly.”
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