This is a quick review of something very simple: a charging cable. "A charging cable?" you may wonder. "Now, why would anyone care about that?" Well, the cable reviewed is a special kind of cable: it combines an Apple Lightning connector and a micro-USB connector. That is nothing new, but it is done well here and actually a much more useful thing than you'd expect.
So you're out of power again. Despite improved battery capacity and a hump-tastic Apple-designed battery case, your phone just eats through electricity voraciously, especially when you're filming in 4K, maybe as backup footage or to get an extra angle for editing later. Shooting high-resolution video is something that iPhones have become remarkably good at. Of course, you brought along a battery pack or a charger if you're near electrical outlets. Or you have your laptop with you to give that extra boost.
So, you plug in your phone and you let it charge and meanwhile use just your camera to shoot, but soon it too notifies you with a little blinking symbol that it could use a little boost. (I'm not alone in this; my Fstoppers colleague, Ryan Pramik, posted a lifehack to overcome the fact that many mirrorless cameras still lag behind DSLRs in battery consumption just recently).
Now, imagine all of this is happening not when you're doing actual planned work for which, of course, you brought extra charged batteries and swung the rubber chicken a couple of extra times just so nothing could go wrong. Instead, it's happening while you weren't specifically thinking about capturing something, but since you're a real photographer, you had a camera with you anyway. And you find a scene truly worth capturing. Then it happens: you run out of battery. Since you've long lost track of all the different dongles that make our modern world such fun, you left the house with only your iPhone charging cable. At minimum, that will let you be connected and let you keep snapping images if really necessary.
But surely it would be nice to also be able to charge your camera. Your Fujifilm X100T or X70, for example. Your Sony A7 II. You know, something small and capable that you don't mind bringing along. But you can't, because you only brought one cable with you. After all, it's really hard not to forget something.
Here's your solution: a combined USB and Lightning port cable. There are many varieties to choose from. I decided on the Ugreen version. The cable comes in a sturdy box: all paper. Inside, the cable sits in a small plastic pouch. The cable is well made; I would even say it is better made than the Apple Lightning cables that come with its products. It is slightly thicker than Apple's, but that doesn't make it more unwieldy. It is quite easy to handle and feels like it is of a quality that will last.
What I Liked
The Ugreen cable is a small, simple, relatively cheap option to tackle one of the most notorious problems I never wanted to admit I had, namely forgetting, misplacing, and forever looking for cables. If you're on the go, this can be the only charging cable you bring. Unless, of course, you have the new MacBook Pro. In which case, I can't help you either: you're going to have to dongle up.
If you don't put the tiny little Lightning adapter on the cable, it functions as any micro-USB cable would. Slide the Lightning plug, which is attached with a white plastic tether that also appears like it will last a while, onto the micro-USB end, and the Ugreen easily plugs into any iDevice made during the last few years. In my testing, I had no problem plugging the cable into an iPhone and an iPad, whether they were in cases or not. Here, of course, your mileage may vary.
What Could Be Improved
There's really only one thing that could be an issue for you, and it's connected to that last point: the Ugreen is a tad bit thicker on the Lightning port end than Apple's supplied cable. Depending on your case, it is possible that this may be an issue. It is, however, the only potential issue I encountered.
The Ugreen is nothing spectacular, but it is incredibly useful. It's just the kind of thing that will make a quick extra gift for most people and most occasions. It will happily stuff a stocking. You don't even need to inquire whether you're gifting an Apple or an Android person.