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USB-C to USB-A adapter - the best choice

Since I switched from an old MacBook Pro with normal USB sockets to the 2017 model with USB-C ports, I have of course had an increased need for USB-C adapters of all kinds.

The adapter most frequently used is certainly the USB-C-to-USB-A adapter, which virtually enables the connection of USB devices such as mobile hard drives, printers, USB sticks, USB hubs, SD card readers, smartphones or Tablets are allowed with the laptop via the USB 3.1 Type-C socket.

As an alternative to individual adapters, you can also use small USB-C hubs optimized for the MacBook Pro (here is a test report), but for most applications I prefer to use individual adapters.

The USB 3.1 Type-C connector is small, but incredibly powerful in terms of functionality and data throughput. It is not without reason that Apple has opted for all of its new MacBooks.

The USB 3.1 Type-C connector is small, but incredibly powerful in terms of functionality and data throughput. It is not without reason that Apple has opted for all of its new MacBooks.

Adapter or adapter cable?

If you look around for these adapters at internet retailers, you will usually find two options:

  • Small adapters that have a USB-A socket on one side and a USB 3.1 Type-C plug on the other.
  • Adapter cables that also have a USB-A socket and a USB-C plug.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of these two variants? While the small adapters are of course more space-saving without an additional cable and may also look fancier at first, they still have two disadvantages that made me rely on the adapter cable:

  1. The adapters make the "lever" that is exerted on the USB-C socket significantly larger. If you get stuck on the cable or load it in different directions, the USB socket on the MacBook can be damaged or worn out.
  2. The adapters are often so wide that they partially cover a neighboring port on the MacBook Pro. This means that it is often not possible to use both ports on one side at the same time.

For this reason I decided on USB-C adapter cables and bought one from Anker as well as a significantly more expensive original cable from Apple. In order to find out whether there are disadvantages in using the cheaper alternative from Anker, I carried out speed tests with both cables, because this is the decisive criterion if you want to classify such a cable as good or bad.

If you still want a small adapter and not an adapter cable, I can help you this double pack from ESR . Recommend

In the test field are two USB-C adapter cables from Apple and Anker (photos: Sir Apfelot).

In the test field are two USB-C adapter cables from Apple and Anker (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Test setup for benchmarking

To run the speed test I have a USB 3 stick (Transcend Extreme-Speed ​​JetFlash 780 32GB, by the way, a very good and extremely fast stick!) and a mobile 2,5 inch hard drive (Seagate Expansion Portable, 4TB; also recommendable and fast!) with the anchor USB-C to USB 3.1 adapter cable (here at Amazon) and once with the Apple USB-C adapter cable MJ1M2ZM / A (here at Amazon) let run.

The software for the test is Aja system testwhich has served me well in the past. I ran each test three times with a file size of 4 GB and then calculated the average. Of course, the values ​​also depend on the computer you are working with, but I think that the new MacBook Pro models are just as fast in terms of data transfer, even if there are different processor configurations.

The results

I have summarized the measurement results in the following table. The information is given in megabytes per second (MB / s). Higher values ​​are better.

Apple adapter
Transfer rate
Writing reading
Anchor adapter
Transfer rate
Writing reading
Transcend USB stick68 MB / s - 188 MB / s68 MB / s - 190 MB / s
Seagate hard drive100 MB / s - 104 MB / s101 MB / s - 104 MB / s
Source of supplyAmazonAmazon

Summary

The measurements show that the cheap anchor adapter is by no means worse than the Apple adapter. On the contrary, the measurements for the anchor are even slightly better. The price difference between the two adapters is striking, because the Apple adapter costs around 25 euros, while the anchor adapter changes hands for around 7 euros. The Apple adapter looks a bit nicer in terms of design, of course, but since the cables that I clip to it are anything but pretty, I don't really care about their appearance.

Even if there are no significant differences in speed, the price and workmanship of the anchor adapter is better.

Even if there are no significant differences in speed, the price and workmanship of the anchor adapter is better.

As far as the build quality is concerned, the look of the Apple adapter is certainly a bit nicer, but the white cable that is built into the Apple adapter is a bit thinner and softer than the cable of the anchor adapter. I'm afraid that at some point a cable break can be expected here, as is often the case with Apple's iPhone charging cables. Here the anchor looks a bit more solid.

One thing is clear to me: if I ever need a USB-C adapter, this is it Anker USB-C to USB 3.1 adapter my choice. Current prices and the option to order can be found below in the product boxes.

Anker USB-C to USB 3.1 adapter
Almost 13 cm long adapter cable from USB-C plug to USB 3.1 socket (female). Inexpensive and good in quality.
1,36 EUR
Apple USB-C to USB adapter (MJ1M2ZM / A)
Also about 13 cm long with the same USB-C connector and the USB 3.1 socket (female). Usual pretty Apple look and solid workmanship.

If you want to connect an iPhone with a Lightning socket to your new MacBook, you will find that the iPhone does not come with a suitable cable. In this case you could also use such a USB-C to USB adapter, but one is more practical here USB-C to Lightning charging cable. I assume that Apple will switch the iPhone 8 or iPhone 9 at some point and switch directly to USB-C instead of enclosing a normal USB charging cable.

 

The page contains affiliate links / images: Amazon.de