Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter

If you thought Apple’s accessories are overpriced, there is some respite. A variety of USB-C accessories are now heavily discounted until the end of this year when you buy them from the Apple Online Store. This is a good time to pick up a bunch of them if you’ve been hesitating because of the price.

Despite the discount, though, it’s likely you’d still find similar 3rd party accessories at lower prices, particularly through online market places like Qoo10, Lazada, eBay, or even Amazon. I’m sure some of these accessories are good. I didn’t have good experience with some USB-C VGA and HDMI multiport adapters from Lazada.

Ultimately, I decided to use Apple’s official adapters. I know the USB VGA Multiport Adapter works well. I have them for comparison with the equivalent one from Lazada and know Apple’s one works much better.

Hence, I expect the HDMI version to work just as well, and it certainly did. The USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter connects to the MacBook Pro’s USB-C port, and extends that to another USB-C port used for power input, a HDMI port, and a USB 3.0 Type-A port.

This HDMI adapter is a little deeper than the VGA one.

An interesting thing about these USB-C adapters, both the VGA and the HDMI ones, is that they require drivers to work. Surprised? I was. You’d have thought these are just passive devices, and no software is needed in the host computer for them to work.

Now, I thought perhaps these drivers provided some little enhancement to work better, but the software is apparently necessary. You see, when I initially plugged the adpater in and connected a USB-C power supply to it, the MacBook Pro wouldn’t charge. The display output worked, but not charging.

It was only after installing the software, which macOS Sierra will prompt you to do automatically once the adapter is connected, the USB-C charging worked.

This USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter seems to work pretty well so far. No issues with it being too hot. It does get warm, but not as hot as the one from Lazada. Also quite notably, the display works reliably, no flicker or other anomalies. Sometimes, I suppose, it’s just better to get the official accessory.

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