About two months back I headed to the Apple Store to buy the new MacBook Pro that I’m now using to write this article.
I worked with an employee to choose the best computer for my purposes, and in the process realized how much of the ancillary hardware I use, like an external monitor and wireless mouse, for example, could not be directly connected to the latest MacBooks, which feature but two USB-C ports. (One of which is often occupied by a charger, no less.) So I would need a dongle featuring adapters for USB 3.0, HDMI, and more.
While discussing the issue, one that’s apparently the headache of customers aplenty, the Apple Store guy, whose name will remain anonymous, leaned in conspiratorially and advised against buying a dongle from Apple, saying Anker made an option that was every bit as good but cost less than half the price ($24 versus $69).
Let’s be crystal clear here: Apple makes some of the finest consumer tech hardware the world has ever seen. But when it comes to Apple accessories, I refuse to buy them; they’re simply too expensive. The Anker model I use has two USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, and both an SD and a Micro SD slot — and it’s never given me any problems. (For what it’s worth, though, in the course of my research, I did find people who had connection issues using it with Samsung products and with iPads.) And as myriad other competitors make accessories fully compatible with Apple products that cost much less, there’s really no reason to pay full freight.
But if this Anker dongle doesn’t quite have everything you need, here are some other non-Apple accessories for Apple products.
Need more inputs than the Anker offers? Spend $80 on the Mini Docking Station from Pluggable and get what two or more Apple adapters can’t give you. It has three USB inputs, an HDMI port, and an ethernet port that allows you to connect a laptop to crazy-fast hardwired internet, great for use in an office or in your own home where Wi-Fi is less than perfect.
To make sure we’re not talking apples to oranges, let’s focus on the actual Saddle Brown leather iPhone 8 Plus case that I use, a genuine Apple product, in fact, but one I was gifted — I didn’t buy it myself! It currently sells for $49. Multiple companies offer remarkably similar cases for less, including a brand called Jisoncase that offers one for $19. And the list goes on, but I’ll stop here and not accessorize my point any more.
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