AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable Review

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 Cable ends
AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable ends

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable ends

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable - Power your old and new devices with a single cable solution

Summary

The AUKEY 3-in-1 USB Cable is for decluttering or traveling light with a range of portable devices. Especially for those still transitioning to USB-C. With some micro-USB or Lightning device still around.

Overall
4.8
  • Performance
    (5)
  • Design
    (5)
  • Safety
    (4.5)
Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • Connects to any iPhone or Android from the past 8 years
  • Supports Apple 2.4A and Quick Charge fast charging
  • USB 2.0 data transfer rates up to 480 Mbps
  • Lightning and USB-C adapters are attached to cable
  • Braided nylon for better durability
  • Includes a velcro cable tie

Cons

  • Only available in the one length
  • Limited by its micro-USB base connector

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. AUKEY provided the product in this review.

Model: CB-BAL5
AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable specs

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable specs

Tech Specs:
  • Power: 3A w/56k Ohm resistor
  • Data: 480Mbps (USB 2.0)
  • Color: Black
  • Length: 4 feet | 1.2 meters
  • Weight: 1.1 oz | 30 grams

Learn more about Fast Charging.

Included In Box:
  • AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable
AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable box and contents

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable box and contents

Good For:
  • All-in-one cable for portable devices
  • Commute
  • Travel
  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Power banks
  • Nintendo Switch (handheld)
  • iPad Pro (pre-2018)

First Impression

The AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable is a good quality micro-USB cable with attachments. Which is the safest way to handle a 3-in-1 cable. It is nylon braided, giving the exterior better durability and bending protection. That does make it less flexible, but it isn’t as stiff as thicker cables. I’ve had no problems wrapping it up.

The attached Lightning and USB-C adapter are at hand when you want to connect them. Otherwise they stay off to the side. You can easily bend them back if they get in the way while plugging in. A velcro cable tie comes attached. Making wrapping and storing the cable neat and easy.

 

Compared To Similar Cables

ChargerAUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB CableNo products found.Belkin Universal Cable
Cable Typemicro-USB cable w/Lightning and USB-C adapters

Nylon braided
USB cable with micro-USB, Lightning, and USB-C splitsmicro-USB cable w/Lightning and USB-C adapters

Nylon braided
Charge Rate3A (60W)3A (60W)3A (60W)
Data Rate480 Mbps480 Mbps480 Mbps
Lengths4 feet3.1 feet4 feet
Safety NoteIncluded adapters are allowed under USB specificationsSplit USB connections are not allowed under USB specificationsIncluded adapters are allowed under USB specifications
Price$15.99No products found.$19.90

Prices are from Amazon Product Advertising API, last updated on 2020-10-28.

You can see more USB-C cables here.

Device Testing

Check with your device’s manufacturer to verify which charging standards it supports.

iPhones

iPhone 8 power meter (USB-A)

iPhone 8 power meter (USB-A)

Using an iPhone 8 for testing we find the cable supports Apple 2.4A fast charging. Which is the best we could hope for without a USB-C connector on the other end of the cable.

Apple 2.4A is an older, but still functional fast charging standard. It is supported on even the newest iPhones. But newer iPhones will charge ~15 minutes faster using a USB-C to Lightning cable and USB-C PD charger.

Quick Charge 3.0 Phones

  • HTC
  • LG
  • Motorola
  • Nokia
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Sony
  • Xiaomi Mi 5/6
  •  ZTE
Moto G6 power meter (USB-A)

Moto G6 power meter (USB-A)

Using a Moto G6 for testing we see the cable supports Quick Charge. Any QC supporting Android phone with USB-C can use this cable to receive fast charging.

Nintendo Switch

Works okay for all model Nintendo Switch in handheld/tabletop mode, but not ideal.

  • Nintendo Switch (original) – Charges around 7.5W, the limit of this model Switch with a USB-A power source. That is not always enough to charge and play at the same time (slow battery drain).
  • Nintendo Switch (2019 update) – Charges around 10W. Enough to charge slowly while playing.
  • Nintendo Switch Lite – Charges around 10W. Enough to charge slowly while playing.

If you already have a USB-A power bank or wall charger you want to use with the Switch this cable will connect the two. But if buying a new charger you’ll want to go with USB-C PD. And get a USB-C to USB-C cable, too. Those provide for a faster charge and are a better long term value.

Learn more about charging the Switch.

Is Adapting a micro-USB Cable to USB-C Safe?

As a general rule it is safe to use a USB-C to micro-USB adapter. That is an adapter that turns a micro-USB connection into a USB-C connection. That’s the type of adapter included with this cable.

It is not safe to use the opposite, turning a USB-C connection into a micro-USB connection. That would allow for connections against the USB standards. And is potentially dangerous to devices.

My USB tester showed the micro-USB cable with USB-C adapter includes a 56k Ohm resistor. That resistor is required under USB-C specs for all USB-C to USB-A cables.

Summary

The AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable is not something an all USB-C device owner would be into. It is aimed at those who are starting their USB-C transition. Those who currently have a mix of devices using micro-USB, Lightning, and USB-C. Its big advantage is offering you the ability to toss old some older cables in favor of one new one. Without losing the ability to charge your older and newer devices. It also works great for travel, where the less stuff you have to remember and pack the better.

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable wrapped

AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable wrapped

For phones it fast charges iPhone only 15 minutes slower than with a USB-C to Lightning cable. And will fast charge any Android using Quick Charge, whether with micro-USB or USB-C. It does not fast charge Google Pixel.

For the Nintendo Switch it charges in handheld mode at a decent rate, but not really fast charging. If you don’t put in a lot of play time between recharges it’s fine. But if you’re looking for the most play time you’ll want to stick with a USB-C to USB-C cable.

Having two adapters attached can be a little awkward. But it is far safer than a cable that splits out into three ends. The attachments are secure, and you can slide them up and down the cable as needed. The velcro cable tie helps keep everything in place when wrapped up and on the go. You can secure the adapter and the cable is no more of a hassle than any other.

The nylon braiding adds durability and some bend resistance. While not as flexible as a non-braided cable I had no problems manipulating it during testing. Nor any issues wrapping it up for storage. Overall it is an improvement, giving a lot more benefit than it takes away.

About AUKEY

AUKEY has U.S. based support (web and email) and a 24 month warranty. You must have purchased the product either from them or through Amazon for support.

Bottom Line

The AUKEY CB-BAL5 3-in-1 USB Cable can declutter the cable collection of anyone with a mix of older and newer devices to charge. Or work as a single travel charger for the same range of devices. It performs as well as it can, given the limits of older USB connections. And does so as safely as possible.

Buy if you:
  • Need to charge a mix of micro-USB, Lightning, and/or small USB-C devices
  • Use Quick Charge supporting devices rather than USB Power Delivery
  • Want to keep a legacy cable around but also want to clean out your cable drawer
Don’t buy if you:
  • Want to fast charge a Nintendo Switch, iPad Pro, or laptop
  • Have replaced your older USB devices and are all USB-C now

Available at:

Buy on Amazon

Be sure to check the Deals page to see if this or a similar charger is on sale.


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