the tech i need

I Own Apple’s Worst Computer, But This $6 Adapter Helps a Little

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon

I grieved the loss of a beloved friend this year. In February, I knocked an entire Nalgene of water onto my MacBook Air. It all happened so fast: From me setting the water down on my bedside table and telling myself, Self, that’s not a great place to put that, to my computer screen going blank took all but 15 seconds. My computer would never turn on again. When I took it to the Apple Store, a kindly Genius told me that I was better off buying a new computer than paying Apple’s flat-rate fee for water damage. (Apple Care now covers water damage, but the version I’d purchased on my device in 2014 did not … and had also expired, anyway.)

That’s when my real grief began. After unboxing my new computer, I found myself remembering all the blog posts I’d written about Apple’s latest MacBook Pro. Namely, that it doesn’t have any USB ports. Rather, the thing has two USB-C ports, one of which is for charging. Ugh, fine, I thought. Let me just dig through the box and find the adapter that must certainly be included with this overpriced device. It was then that I started to remember other details from those blog posts. (I’ve fortunately yet to experience any of the other known issues — broken keys that warrant replacing the whole keyboard — which plague the MacBook Pro.) That the MacBook Pro does not come with the cheap piece of plastic that you need to render it actually useful. It took me a few days of forgetting this and then attempting to plug something into my computer to charge — wireless headphones, my GPS running watch, external iPhone battery — and remembering I couldn’t to get me to head over to Amazon and order the cheapest adapter I could find.

I wound up buying a generic AmazonBasics adapter. At $6 ($8 if you’re not a Prime member), the price was right. It comes in black-and-white. (Apple’s version costs about $20.) Reviews on the adapter are predominantly positive, and that’s been my experience, too. The thing does what I need it to do and nothing more or less. I’ve toyed with the idea of buying a multi-port adapter, but haven’t found that I’ve needed to charge more than one thing at a time. I charge my iPhone via an outlet, and for the most part, the batteries in my devices aren’t dead at a single time frequently enough to warrant purchasing another adapter. Plus, I’m already in for the cost of the adapter — $6 — and the price of the computer — more than $6 — so I refuse to spend any more money on personal computing until at least 2020. Until then, all water bottle tops will be firmly secured.

AmazonBasics USB Type-C to USB 3 cable
$6 at Amazon

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The New MacBooks Are Terrible, But This $6 Adapter Is Good