StarTech.com USB-C Audio Adapter review: Add 3.5mm audio without losing charging functionality

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Most smartphones these days come without a 3.5mm audio jack. While there are plenty of options for USB-C and wireless earbuds, some people still prefer their 3.5mm earbuds and headsets. Fortunately, there are USB-C to 3.5mm adapters that are included, or you can purchase separately. However, a lot of these only allow you to connect your wired headphones through the USB-C port.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Our StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter looks at a solution that allows you to connect your wired headphones while retaining a USB-C port to charge your device. Read on for our full review!

Specifications

The StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter with 60W Power Delivery we reviewed has the following features and specifications:

  • Add 3.5mm TRRS audio jack: USB-C audio and charge adapter with power delivery (PD) pass-through adds support for legacy headsets with built-in mic while charging your USB-C host using a single USB-C port | High-res audio port supports DAC audio output
  • Multiple charging modes: USB C headphone & charger adapter is bus-powered or use external USB-C power adapter for up to 60W Power Delivery 3.0 pass-through to charge USB-C laptops and tablets | Fast Charge (BC 1.2) to charge USB Type-C smartphones
  • Convenient side port layout: Compact, horizontal-style adapter w/ cable-less, dongle-like design and discreet side port locations for audio & power connections at opposite ends of the adapter to avoid snags/tangles and to allow for a flexible device setup
  • Wide compatibility: Works w/ USB Type-C tablets, smartphones, laptops & PCs; Ideal for iPad Pro, Google Pixel 5G, Samsung Galaxy S20/21 & Note 20; Windows, macOS, iPadOS & Android; USB C to 3.5mm AUX and charger adapter is Thunderbolt 3 Host Compatible
  • Portable design: 2-in-1 USB C audio adapter with a compact/sleek design can be transported, even when connected to your USB C device between office, home office or for business travel | Ideal for conference calls, customer support or at your workstation
  • Dimensions: 2.0 x 0.9 x 0.4″ (50 x 23 x 9mm)
  • Weight: 0.3oz (9.0g)

What’s in the box

  • StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Adapter
  • 3-year warranty
The StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter
The StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter.

Design

There’s not much to the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter. It has a nice premium, metal build quality. Two inches in width, it is just under an inch in width (including the USB-C connector) and under half an inch in height. The top of the adapter has the StarTech.com logo with a headset icon on the left side and a power icon on the right. The left end of the adapter has a 3.5mm TRRS port, while the right end is where you’ll find the USB-C port. Finally, the USB-C connector is centered in the middle of the top and has a short rubber stopper near the bottom to allow for spacing when used with a smartphone in a case.

The USB-C port on the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter
The USB-C port on the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter.

Ease of Use

The StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter couldn’t be easier to use. Insert the USB-C connector into your smartphone or a USB-C port on your laptop or another device. Plug your wired earbuds or headset into the 3.5mm end and a USB-C cable connected to power into the other. Once connected, you should have audio through your headset, and your device should be charging, assuming it uses less than 60W of power to charge.

Performance

When in use, I noticed no degradation in audio quality. Wired headsets and earbuds alike sounded as if they were connected straight into a 3.5mm audio jack. Microphones worked as well, given the port is a TRRS audio port. Charging was as expected, and testing with a USB-C power meter confirmed each device was getting the necessary power.

My only complaint when it comes to the adapter’s performance is that when connected to a laptop, I wasn’t able to toggle my smartphone to transfer data. In other words, you can only use the USB-C port on the adapter to charge your device. It’s not the end of the world but would definitely add to its versatility and value.

The 3.5mm audio port on the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter
The 3.5mm audio port on the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of US$34.99, the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter is on the pricey side. There are other options that are more affordable. Mind you, they all don’t offer up the same build quality as this model.

Wrap-up

If you have a smartphone without a 3.5mm audio jack and don’t want to upgrade to a USB-C or wireless headset, the StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter allows you to connect to a wired headset and still charge your device at the same time.

Last Updated on August 24, 2021.

StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Adapter

US$34.99

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

10.0/10

Performance

9.0/10

Price/Value

8.5/10

Nailed it

  • Compact case-friendly design
  • Premium build quality
  • Can charge device while using 3.5mm headphones
  • 3 year warranty

Needs work

  • Can't use file transfer options when connected to computer
  • Pricier than other alternatives
StarTech.com USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Mobile Adapter
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