Nearly three years after the the reversible connector made an appearance on a mainstream device, and two and a half years since USB Type-C was first seen on laptops and smartphones, it’s still incredibly hard to find Type-C accessories. For most people, this is not a problem — if you have a smartphone with a Type-C port but no headphone jack, the manufacturer likely bundled a Type-C to 3.5mm adapter and/ or Type-C earphones in the box. If the Type-C port is used only for data transfer and charging, you probably won’t even notice the difference.
But if you have a laptop with a USB Type-C port — and especially a machine with only Type-C port(s) like the Retina MacBook and MacBook Pro (2016 and newer) — then life can be pretty different. First, you have to deal with the transition from Type-A (‘regular’ or ‘big’ USB port — the kind most computer have) to Type-C, and the fact your old hardware can no longer connect directly with your computer. But all this is made worse by the fact that you can’t find a lot of good USB Type-C accessories out there. Thankfully, we are here to help.
USB Type-C — What It Is and What It Isn’t
Here’s a list of some USB Type-C accessories that you can buy right now. Note that this is by no means an exhaustive list of everything that’s out there — it’s a compilation of stuff we’ve tested with our MacBook Pro, most of them should also work with your Windows machine and even your smartphone.
1) ROCK Type-C to Lightning cable
Our first pick patches a big hole in Apple’s product lineup — its flagship laptop cannot directly connect to the iPhone using cables that ship with either of the products. There are a few Type-C to Lightning cables out there, but we picked up this one on a whim as it was the cheapest one (Rs. 399 at the time) that looked decent enough. We’ve been using it for a year, and, well it’s a cable so there isn’t a lot to say about it except that it’s managed to survive the wear and tear of daily use.
In fact we liked it so much that we picked up another one recently at a higher price, but remember that the company doesn’t seem to have an official presence in India, which means you’ll likely get no warranty.
Price: Rs. 699 on eBay (probably available at a lesser price elsewhere)
2) Targus USB-C USB 3.0 Hub with Gigabit Ethernet
While Wi-Fi is everywhere, nothing beats the reliability of Ethernet, and that’s where our second pick comes in. This Type-C dongle will add a Gigabit Ethernet port and three USB 3.0 ports to your MacBook.
We would’ve loved to see a Type-C port with passthrough charging thrown in — especially for the sake of our Retina MacBook brethren who need to live with a solitary port — but one can’t have everything.
Price: Rs. 3,000 on Amazon India
3) Portronics Diski
Portronics is known for selling a lot of interesting accessories, and this one definitely falls in that category. The Diski is a 4-in-card reader that comes with four different connectors: Type-C, Micro-USB, Lightning, and a ‘regular’ (Type-A) USB. This makes it ideal for transferring data between all your devices.
Just pop-in a microSD card of up to 256GB capacity into the Diski and it becomes a flash drive that can then be read natively on Windows, Android, macOS etc. — iOS users will need to download a third-party app to browse the contents and copy files due to the limitations of the platform. We tried the Diski and it worked as advertised for the most part, though the iOS app was a little flaky — we had to restart our iPad on a couple of occasions for the accessory to be recognised.
Price: Rs. 1,899 on Amazon
4) Strontium Nitro Plus Type-C USB 3.1 Flash Drive
If you prefer something with fewer moving parts and your work involves only transferring files from one computer to the other, you should consider the Strontium Nitro Plus Type-C USB 3.1 Flash Drive. It comes with a USB Type-A port on one side and a Type-C on the other, making it an ideal pick for the use case.
It supports the USB 3.1 standard, and Strontium claims read speeds up to 150<bps and write speeds up to 100Mbps. We tested the 64GB model that is available at around Rs. 2,100, but if you are on a tighter budget, you can consider other brands/ capacities.
Price: Rs. 2,100 on Amazon
What are your favourite USB Type-C accessories? Let us know via the comments.