7 best USB dongles for seamless connectivity

Kelsey Chapman
Tuesday 29 December 2020 20:26
Tech
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Dongle is an absurd word dreamed up by tech folks some time ago that can represent a device that does anything from increase wireless connectivity to making sure your old headphones work with your iPhone. We looked at several of the top-rated items in this category across the board considering their purpose, and the seven choices below represent some of the most practical, useful, and top-rated items to emerge on the market. Whether your goal is to connect multiple devices in your home office without the mess of chords or just need two incompatible machines to work together without a hassle, keep reading to see which dongle is right for you.

Related: Check out our favorite Wifi routers to pair with these dongles to achieve your fastest internet speeds.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Falwedi 6 in 1 USB Type C HUB

Considered a flawless all-in-one type device, the Falwedi has an HDMI port, a TF SD card slot, an SD card slot, three USB 3.0 ports, and plug-and-play capability when used with a type-C device. Its compatibility with many Apple, Dell, and Google devices (among a longer list) makes it a great option for users across the board. One reviewer among the 395 ratings (of which 95 percent were five-star) sums it up nicely: “With this device, i keep it plugged in and can do every task I mentioned above. Seems very durable. It looks cool. And all my coworkers have been asking me where I got it. Highly recommend this item.”

Lasuney USB C Hub

How do you improve upon the 6-in-1 greatness of the Falwedi model above? Make it out of aircraft grade aluminum then add two more functions and let the near-universally positive reviews do the talking.

“I like the design of this hub. It feels like a good product and looks well made,” writes one buyer. “The tip of the USB-C cord appears to be gold plated. The symbols and text are all etched into the steel. The length of the USB_C cable is a good size to me (about 4.5" long).” While many reviews echo this sentiment and rave about the hubs versatility and construction, some note that it has a tendency to heat up quickly so keep an eye on that should you be using it for more demanding projects.

Google - USB-C-to-3.5mm Audio Adapter

There are no bells, whistles, or copious uses to be found here, but if all you need is a reliable adapter that lets you listen to music from your phone with ease, this under $10 option is your finest one and well-rated to boot. Simple as it may be, one reviewer excitedly reports: “This adapter allows me to listen to standard wired headsets with the male 3.5mm plugs. It converts the USB-C charging port of my Note 10 to a 3.5mm standard headphone jack. And...not only does it play music into the headset, it also works with phone calls!”

ASUS Dual-Band AC1200 USB Network Adapter

“This is an awesome little network adaptor!!” a user raves about the ASUS network adapter, a handy little tool for boosting your wifi speed to “blazing speeds” and expanding your network coverage. They add that it “turned [their] Lenovo laptop into a 5G network and the network adaptor is practically invisible!”

Another user who is an avid gamer and needed a laptop upgrade was able to use this product as a relatively inexpensive way to up their throughput from 40 to 160mb as measured by a speedtest they conducted. “It's like having a brand new laptop,” they exclaim. “Totally happy with this very small unit--the dongle just protrudes about 1/4" from the case of the computer. Works perfectly.”

Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter

In the same vein as the Google headphone jack adapter, the OG Apple headphone adapter allows you to connect devices that use a 3.5 mm audio plug to your Apple Lightning devices seamlessly. They are very convenient and useful, however with their low cost and easy-to-lose size, you may want to grab a few to keep on hand in case you lose one.

Apple USB-C to USB Adapter

The USB-C to USB adapter by Apple is used to connect iOS devices and many standard USB accessories to a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) enabled Mac. Whether a flash drive, camera, portable media player, keyboards, or any other devices, this handy and affordable little cable will ensure connectivity for nearly all your projects and make for a smooth transfer.

Insignia Bluetooth 4.0 USB Adapter

This helpful little gadget comes in handy for those looking to involve less corded contact in their workstation by allowing up to seven Bluetooth-enabled devices to stay connected to a Bluetooth-compatible computer within a range of up to 20 feet for steady connectivity minus the clutter and hassle. It's for PC users only and even then only those using Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, so while not universally helpful, it is a decent option for anyone working on those systems looking for a streamlined hookup.

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