Category: iPhone Cables
Works With: Any iPhone or iPad
We’ve all been there: out of juice on the road and with no charging cable on hand. You can, of course, carry around a 30-pin or Lightning charging cable with you, but that takes up space. There’s something to be said for a small footprint and peace-of-mind.
Enter the Kii by Bluelounge. It’s sync-and-charge piece of mind on a keychain, in a very convenient form factor.
As the name implies, the Kii is a key-sized and key-shaped charger for iPhone and iPad that ships in two configurations: 30-pin and Lightning. In each configuration, a sturdy, rigid, two-inch-long charging cable snaps into a keyhead, charger side first, with the tip of the ‘key’ functioning as a USB disk drive. So if you need a charger on the road, all you have to do is snap your Kii off the head on your keychain and plug it into your USB port.
It’s a solid, attractive design that makes carrying an iPhone cable around with you at all times as simple as walking out the door with your keys in the morning. It charges quickly and thanks to clever engineering that makes it hard to accidentally dislodge the cable from the key head by accident, it’s difficult to lose. But there are a few design limitations.
The construction of the Kii, while strong in the keyhead, leaves something to be desired. The USB port is open, making it susceptible to anything and everything that falls into a pocket or purse. A surprising amount of my time with the Kii was spent in fear of sand or grit getting inside the mechanism, and subsequently inside my computer. While a cap would add bulk, it would curb the impulse to treat the Kii so gingerly.
Similarly, the joint between the lightning connector and the USB is slightly flexible, demanding a concerted pull from the Lightning side—not the USB!—to separate from the keyhead. It seemed from use that repeated pulls from the USB side could result in the USB head separating from the Kii.
Using the Kii with Lightning Connector, I was able to charge an iPhone 5 and an iPad mini from my Macbook Air. But understand the Kii is best used on a flat, rigid surface. It’s unpleasant using the Kii while typing on your lap, and downright impossible while charging an iPad. Also, because of its short length, the Kii isn’t an ideal way to charge an iPhone or iPad from any computer with harder-to-reach USB ports, like an iMac.
Though the Kii is convenient to carry around with you, it has build issues which would make those of us prone to neuroses just a little more batty. The 30-pin and Lightning versions also differ in price, at $20 and $40 respectively. There’s a reason for that—it’s more expensive for a company to get a Lightning accessory through Apple’s licensing program than a 30-pin connector—but the difference is hard to swallow. It would be nice to see less disparity between the two in price.
The Kii is a quick solution to those needing a charge, and one which will mitigate the need to carry extra equipment. It will not, however, keep you from having to do a purse-dump every time you need your keys to charge your phone.
Product Name: : Kii
The Good: Solid engineering, clever design, extremely convenient.
The Bad: Twice as expensive for Lightning as the 30-Pin version. USB end seems a little flimsy, and could use a cap.
The Verdict: A useful tool to have on the keychain of any iPhone or iPad owner.
Buy from: Bluelounge