It might not have totally disappeared, but the trusty 3.5 mm audio jack does seem well on its way out of our smartphone lives. Phones and tablets above Rs 20,000 are increasingly deserting the port, leaving their users with no choice but to go wireless for their personal audio or invest in a dongle to connect their wired earphones to the phone. The problem with dongles, however, is that many (like the ones from Apple and Google) add a 3.5 mm jack to your device but because they are plugged into the USB Type-C port of the device they are connected to, you often lose the option of using that port. It might not sound like a big deal, except when you suddenly realise that you need to charge your phone but do not want to stop listening to a song or podcast over your favourite pair of headphones.
Dongles that plug into your phone or tablet and still give you access to a USB Type C port, as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack, do exist but either tend to cost a pretty penny or tend to add to the bulk of your device. The Ugreen USB-C to 3.5 mm audio adapter does neither, making it a great option for those who seek the best of both wired worlds – audio as well as charging.
The Ugreen USB-C to 3.5 mm audio adapter is generally available from online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart for a price in the region of Rs 1,000 (we got ours from Amazon India for Rs 930). One of its attractive features is its design. It is made of aluminium, and is compact enough to fit in the palm of your hand, and weighs barely 20 grams. On one side, it has a 3.5 mm audio jack and a USB Type C port and on the other, a USB Type C connector. There are no wires, the adapter plugs directly into the Type C port of any smartphone, tablet or notebook, and the good part is that it connects even if the device is in a case. It connects with a very solid click too and does not wobble. The USB type C port and 3.5 mm audio jack are placed wide apart and allow you to connect devices to both without any chance of wires being crossed (unless you are really careless).
The adapter does more than just give you access to a 3.5 mm audio jack and a Type C port at the same time. It actually comes with a digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) and can deliver 24-bit/ 96 Hz output, which means you end up actually getting high-quality audio on your wired earphones. The Type C port also actually supports up to 30 W fast charging in general, and can support 25W charging to supported Samsung devices and 18W charging to the iPad Pro. In simple terms, you do not need to compromise on charging speed and audio quality when you use this handy little gizmo. We plugged it into the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ and actually found that it delivered better audio than the 3.5 audio jack on the device itself. It is definitely not an audiophile-level DAC, but it is good enough to improve audio quality on many mid-segment phones that have the 3.5 mm audio jack. Charging speeds were very good on both the iPad (2022) and the Galaxy S23 with 33W chargers.
The Ugreen adapter is plug-and-play. You do not need to download any software or drivers – it worked very smoothly with our OnePlus Pad, iPad (2022), MacBook Air, Pixel 7 and OnePlus 11. Removing it can be a little troublesome (you need to sometimes tug hard) but on the flip side, the connection remains secure. The adapter is small and unobtrusive enough to let you use a smartphone or tablet even when it is connected, and there is even a dust cap for the Type C connector!
All of which makes the Ugreen USB-C to 3.5 mm audio adapter a super accessory for those who want to multi-task with their wired chargers and wired earphones. It is solidly built, easy to use, small enough to slip into a pocket, and works perfectly. Pretty much a must-have for those who refuse to give up on wires in a wireless world!