Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter review

February 4, 2017


So I bought the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter from Apple together with the latest MacBook Pro "13-inch (no TouchBar), mainly because I needed an USB-C to HDMI adapter, which is required for my work. I'm doing a lot of presentations and need it to connect to projectors. Retailing at 1690 NTD (USD 49), this adapter certainly wasn't cheap. With that said, it did come with another USB-A and USB-C port, effectively giving me 3 different I/O ports, and thus adding additional value. There are other pure USB-C to HDMI adapters from third party brands, but I opted for Apple's own product, because I know their quality control is one of the best in the industry (I know that from friends in the Taiwanese supply chain). Since I bought an expensive laptop, I'm not going to save money on USB-C adapters. There were stories about bad quality USB-C cables causing issues with products, and that's definitely something I want to prevent.

Features

This adapter allows you to simultaneously:

Charge your Mac
Through the USB-C connector.

Connect to other standard USB-A devices or hubs
Pen drives, external HDDs or SSDs, mice, keyboards, and other accessories.

Connect to external HDMI video devices
TVs, projectors, displays.

Specifications

These are specifications from Apple's product page:

HDMI (1.4b)
720p and 1080p HDTVs, projectors, and displays at up to 1920 x 1200 resolution, 4K Ultra-HD TVs and displays with resolutions (3840 x 2160 at 30Hz, 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz).

USB-A (USB 3.1 Gen 1)
Data transfer at up to 5 Gbps (equal to 625 MB/s).

USB-C
Charges your computer, but it doesn't transfer data (you need to use the USB-C Power Adapter and USB-C Charge Cable to charge your Mac).

Dimensions

Length 
135 mm (50mm without the cable)

Width
55 mm

Weight
37 g

Outlook

The adapter looks nice. I like the design of Apple's adapters, it's a very clean and minimalistic aesthetic, and unlike third party accessory makers, Apple doesn't slap a big logo on there. The surface is just symplistic and white, coming mostly in oval shapes, making them pleasant to hold in one's hands.


The adapter is no larger than my palm.


Left to right: USB-A, HDMI, USB-C.


This is how it looks like plugged into the MacBook Pro.

My verdict

All in all I think the Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is a good quality product with some reasonable value (now that it's on a discount), so I would recommend it. It works well, and when you connect a cable, you have to apply a lot of force to insert it into the slot. Once in, it's pretty firmly connected, and it would be difficult that a shake could release it. When I plugged it in for the first time, Apple asked me to update the firmware (took about 5 mins to finish this).
Many people opt for third party USB-C hubs, but I personally find them too big and too clunky. The good thing about this adapter is that it's fairly small and light weight. I put it in my messenger bag and it feels as if it's not there at all with its 37 g. While that is good in terms of weight, I do feel that it might easily get lost or forgotten somewhere, which could cause big problems. The bad side of Apple's new portless strategy is that adapters are yet another thing that you need to keep in mind when you bring your MacBook Pro along. I did forgot it once due to oversleeping and rushing to work, but luckily it was on a day where I did not require it. Now imagine if you buy several adapters, then things can easily get very messy. I'm definitely going to buy the USB-C to Lightning adapter to charge my iPhone, and possibly a USB-C to Micro-B adapter for my external disks. Ultimately my goal is to connect every of my external devices directly to my MacBook Pro without needing the USB-C to USB-A adapter, but I think it will take several years before the industry completely shifts to products with default USB-C connectors (like mice, keyboards, external hard drives, flash drives, accessories). By that time I will probably be looking to upgrade my new MacBook Pro, so I better worry about that in a couple of years.

Check out also my list of top USB-C adapters for the new MacBook Pro.