REVIEW: The iPhone 7 headphone dongle

Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack in the iPhone 7 has already caused a lot of anger among customers before they even get their hands on the device.

Apple clearly saw this controversy coming, so it invented a solution for those who still want to use their regular old headphones with their new iPhone 7: a dongle that plugs into the iPhone’s Lightning port and acts as an adaptor for traditional headphones that plug into the standard 3.5 mm jack.

The dongle comes included with every iPhone 7.

I’m not a big audio nerd, so I always use the EarPods that come included with my iPhone as my primary set of headphones. They may not sound the best, but they’re free and work good enough for me. So I personally didn’t have a huge problem with Apple’s decision to remove the headphone jack since the iPhone 7 also comes with a pair of EarPods that plug into the Lightning port.

But I realise there are plenty of people out there that have a pair of traditional, non-Apple headphones they love, so they may be curious if the dongle is a good solution.

For the most part, it works fine. Just plug the dongle into the Lightning port and then plug your regular headphones into the dongle.

Like this:

I borrowed a colleague’s pair of high-end headphones as I tested the dongle. I didn’t notice a change in audio quality, and everything worked smoothly. It really wasn’t much of a bother to have the extra adaptor, and you won’t notice any interruption to the audio. Just plug it in and play your music. You won’t be disappointed.

There are only two potential problems with the dongle:

First of all, it looks a bit awkward having that extra wire dangling from your iPhone. It’s not ugly, but it seems unnecessary to have an extra wire constantly dangling from your iPhone. Eventually, this likely won’t be a problem as more manufacturers build Lightning headphones or people gravitate towards wireless options. But for now, the dongle is an strange-looking fix.

Second, I have a feeling a lot of people are going to lose their dongle. It may fit snugly in the iPhone’s Lightning port, but it is very tiny, just three inches long. It will also cost you A$12 to replace it at the Apple Store.

But including the dongle with every iPhone 7 was a smart move. Apple may believe traditional headphone jacks will go extinct one day, but that’s clearly not the reality right now. The bottom line: You’ll still be able to listen to your music any way you want to with the iPhone 7. You can’t ask for more than that.

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