It took an entire year after the release of the iPhone 7 for Apple to start selling a dongle that lets you plug in headphones (or your car’s AUX cable) and charge at the same time. But now it’s here. Apple is just selling the thing, mind you — not making it. In September, Belkin quietly announced a new, second version of its “Rockstar” adapter that now includes both a 3.5mm jack and Lightning port. Last year’s version had two Lightning ports, so if you wanted to use wired headphones with it, you had to plug Apple’s own headphone dongle into another dongle. Going double-dongle is bad enough on a laptop, but on a phone?! Good grief.
A few days ago I decided to fork out the absurd $34.95 that Belkin and Apple are charging for this plastic adapter, which is actually $5 cheaper than the Lightning-only model. I did so with reluctance since the original product has gotten very so-so customer reviews and is often criticized for its poor reliability and unfortunate incompatibility with Apple’s own iPhone battery case.
So far, this new one is working as expected it to. The adapter does indeed allow you to listen to music through headphones and charge your iPhone at the same time. Audio performance is similar to Apple’s adapter; remember that the headphone DAC is built into these adapters themselves rather than the iPhone.
But this is a much bigger dongle than the one…Read More