Review: Scosche iPhone Accessories

Scosche has become quite a prolific iOS hardware accessory company, with a number of new products being released seemingly on a monthly basis. This article provides quick reviews on three of the company's products: PowerStream FlatOut Flow Cable, StrikeDrive Converter and the StrikeLine Adapter.

Related: PopSockets: Practical iPhone Accessory or Goofy Distraction?

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FlatOut Flow Lightning Cable ($24.99)

What makes this 3-foot charging cable different from Apple's lighting cable is the inclusion of a flexible LED center strip that illuminates when your attached iPhone or iPad are charging. When operating, it looks like something out of a science fiction movie, as if your iOS device is slurping in electrons to feed its hungry brain. The illusion of speed is based on battery charge; faster flow when recharging a low battery, slower flow as the battery reaches full charge. Once fully charged, the cable no longer glows. This visual indicator provides a really innovative approach to checking battery status without turning on the iPhone or iPad screen to do so.

In order to handle the light strip, the base of the USB 2.0 male connector is longer and bulkier the most, so whatever USB socket it plugs into must have enough clearance to support its size.  Also, the three-foot length is adequate but some might feel constrained if they're used to using a longer lightning cable. Perhaps if the PowerStream cable is a best seller, Scosche will develop multiple size variants.

Honestly when I first saw this cable I thought it was an unnecessary luxury, but its rock-solid construction and cool visual lighting effect won me over. Now when I recharge my devices, family and coworkers think it's the coolest effect and want one of their own.

StrikeDrive Converter ($29.99)

With the release of all new iPhones (iPhone SE being the exception), Apple has ditched the auxiliary audio jack. While Apple might want me to move rapidly into a fully wireless future, I still have a lot of legacy audio equipment built before the ubiquity of Bluetooth. For example, I still use an audio cassette adapter in my car to listen to content. While that would have been a problem for an iPhone 7, Scosche has created the StrikeDrive Converter. In addition to charging your phone like any other 12V socket car adapter, the StrikeDrive Converter includes the addition of a standard 3.5mm audio jack to connect your car's auxiliary port (or in my case, cassette audio converter). Thus, using a single USB to lightning cable connected to the StrikeDrive Converter, you can charge your device while listening to it on your car stereo.

It's a great idea, with the only caveat being no on-board volume control. While it's rarely a problem, I did notice that some overmodulation occurred on some of the lower quality audio podcasts I listen to. At least Scosche includes a 3-foot male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable in the package in case you have a newer car with an auxiliary audio port built into your car's sound system.

StrikeLine Adapter ($39.99)

As if on cue to address my StrikeDrive Converter volume control criticism, Scosche has also released its StrikeLine Adapter. This Lightning adaptor allows an iPhone or iPad to be charged while also adding a 3.5mm audio port for wired audio playback. And unlike the StrikeDrive Converter, the StrikeLine Adapter includes a button keypad on its base to play/pause and increase/decrease volume.

Unfortunately the StrikeLine Adapter does not include any extra cables so it is up to you to supply whatever 3.5mm audio and lighting cables to connect to its ports. It is also ten dollars more expensive than the StrikeDrive but at least the StrikeLine gives you greater flexibility for using beyond a car as well as the inclusion of the aforementioned volume and playback controls. The adapter's ideal scenario is for new iPhones connected to home stereo and wired headphones. And for that use case, it works as advertised.

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.