Every audiophile’s iPad Pro needs this headphone adapter [Review]

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Satechi Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Jack Adapter review
Plug headphones or speakers into an 2018 iPad Pro, while also charging the tablet, with Satechi’s latest adapter.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

There’s no headphone jack in the 2018 iPad Pro, which is darn inconvenient for anyone who wants to hook their tablet up to a non-Bluetooth pair of headphones or speakers. Fortunately, Satechi makes a small and simple USB-C adapter with a 3.5mm jack. There’s also a second USB-C port so the tablet can charge at the same time.

In addition, Satechi just released a USB-C cable that can handle 100W of power. Be sure to read our reviews of both.

Satechi Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Jack Adapter review

Most of the exterior of Satechi’s audio adapter is aluminum with rounded edges. The color matches the Space Grey of the iPad Pro.

The 3.5mm headset jack sits next to the USB-C charging port on one end of the adapter. They are far enough apart that we had no problems with any of our audio or charging cables. The bulky connectors on professional-grade headphones are a tight fit, but they work.

The adapter plugs into the iPad with a USB-C connector on the end of a 5-inch cable. This built-in cable adds to the bulk of the product, but significantly decreases how much pressure this accessory puts on the iPad Pro’s USB-C port, which is more important.

Satechi’s hardware seems solid. We tested it for several days and it’s not showing any signs of wear and tear.

Satechi Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Jack Adapter performance

The whole purpose of this accessory is to free 2018 iPad Pro owners from having to use Bluetooth speakers. How well it does this job determines whether it’s of any value.

To put this USB-C to 3.5mm adapter through a semi-scientific test, we played the same song on on the Braven BRV-105, once over Bluetooth and the second time over a wired connection. We monitored the audio levels with NIOSH Sound Level Meter.

Over a wired connection, the audio was just a hair louder, with the audio hitting a maximum of 73.5 db versus 70.3 db when the song was played over Bluetooth. In real-world terms, this is not really significant. Still, it shows that Satechi’s Headphone Jack Adapter is at least as good as a Bluetooth connection.

We also tested the USB-C power port, and found that it doesn’t slow the flow of current to the iPad Pro in any way we could detect.

Satechi Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Jack Adapter
This adapter’s second USB-C port allows the iPad Pro to charge while speakers are connected.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Satechi Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Jack Adapter final thoughts

This product looks good and is quite portable, though most people will probably leave it on their desk connected to speakers and a power adapter. Our tests showed that adapter does everything Satechi promises.

The list price for the Satechi Type-C to 3.5mm Audio Headphone Jack Adapter is $24.99. At the time of this writing, it’s available from Amazon at that same price.

Buy from: Amazon — $24.99

Buy from: Amazon — £24.99

As a price comparison, there’s an Apple audio adapter for plugging headphones into USB-C ports that sells for just $9, but it doesn’t have the second USB-C port. This forces the iPad to run off its battery when this rival product is used.

 

Satechi USB-C To USB-C 100W Charging Cable mini-review

Apple computers are top quality, but the same can’t always be said for the cables that ship with them. The USB-C cable that comes with the 2018 iPad Pro is noticeably flimsy, for example. Satechi’s USB-C To USB-C cable, on the other hand, is covered in braided nylon and feels rugged enough to use as a climbing rope. After weeks of use it’s showing no signs of wear and tear.

This cable is a generous 6 feet 7 inches (2 meters) long, compared to the 3 ft. 4 in. length of the iPad’s USB-C cable. It comes with a pair of velcro straps to make storage easier. Just so there’s no confusion, there are USB-C ports on either end.

Satechi USB-C To USB-C 100W Charging Cable
Satechi’s rugged USB-C cable is well suited for powering up a MacBook or iPad Pro.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s capable of transferring current at up to 100W, which is more that enough for even a MacBook Pro. However, its maximum data transfer speed is just 480 Mbps, or USB 2.0. That makes this is a good option for powering your iPad Pro or MacBook, but there are far better ones for exchanging data.

The suggested price for the Satechi USB-C To USB-C 100W Charging Cable is $19.99. Amazon currently has it for that same price.

Buy from: Amazon — $19.99

Buy from: Amazon — £22.49

For comparison, the 2 meter Apple USB-C Charge Cable also costs $19. It’s USB 2.0 too, so it maxes out at 480 Mbps, and it’s not nearly so rugged.