Ditch Your USB-A Dongle and Embrace the USB-C Life
I’ve had one thing of a tough relationship with dongles. Specifically, the humble USB-A dongle—the little factor you plug into your desktop or laptop computer laptop to make wi-fi peripherals like keyboards, mice, and headsets, work. These little issues have brought on me no finish of sleepless nights, emotional anguish, and private turmoil.
They look and really feel extraordinarily janky after they’re plugged right into a laptop computer, doubly so when it’s a must to plug a USB-A dongle right into a USB-C dongle as a result of so many laptops now have solely USB-C ports. They’re terrible, I hate them, and I want in poor health upon them. Thankfully, we’re beginning to see extra and extra units delivery with USB-C dongles, and these new digital barnacles are like a balm upon the religious wounds inflicted by the dongles of yore.
Why Do Dongles Even Exist
First issues first: Why do some units have dongles? Generally, wi-fi equipment like mice, keyboards, headsets, and gamepads will hook up with your units over both Bluetooth or the 2.4-GHz band. Bluetooth can introduce a palpable latency into communications between your equipment and your laptop. That can imply the audio is out of sync with the video, and your mouse and keyboard can really feel unbearably gradual.
That’s the place the 2.4-GHz band is available in. Not solely is it faster, eliminating any sense of lag between your units, but it surely has a for much longer vary than Bluetooth. That means you’ll be able to plug your headset dongle into your PC and rise up and stroll round with out dropping the sign, until you get fairly distant. All the greatest gaming equipment embody 2.4-GHz dongles today, as a result of whenever you’re gaming, even the slightest little bit of latency might be disastrous.
That used to imply your laptop or laptop computer could be coated in thick black rectangular dongles protruding of each out there port. But over the previous 12 months or two, USB-C dongles have change into the norm, and I’m by no means going again.
More Like USB-Cool
The greatest good thing about a USB-C dongle over Bluetooth is that I need not fumble with pairing and unpairing when switching units. But its leg up over USB-A is that I can simply seize my USB-C dongle from my PC, stick it into my pill or my sport console, and that’s that. Sure, that is doable with USB-A dongles, however there’s a catch. Look round at your units, and consider every one you utilize on a given day. How many have USB-A ports? Your desktop, positive. Your laptop computer, perhaps. But your cellphone? Your pill? Your sport consoles? Exactly.
Every gadget I personal has a USB-C port. Not simply my laptop computer and desktop however my (Android) cellphone, my iPad Pro, my Nintendo Switch, my PS5, the whole lot I take advantage of in a given day has USB-C ports now. Heck, even Kindles. That means my keyboard (Logitech G915), mouse (SteelSeries Prime Wireless), and headset (Logitech G735) can work seamlessly with any of them.
With that in thoughts, have a look at the worth of a good gaming headset. You’re wherever from $100 to $400 for a killer one; that’s not a negligible expense. When I have a look at a high-end gaming headset and I see no USB-C transmitter, I simply take into consideration how limiting that’s. An incredible wi-fi gaming headset can also be an amazing pair of wi-fi headphones, however with out USB-C connectivity, they’re severely restricted. They’re not take-everywhere, wear-everywhere headphones, however they’re priced like they’re.
Infinite Joy, or Crushing Darkness
Now let’s have a look at what it’s prefer to have a gaming headset that has a USB-C dongle. Here is the place you think about me and a pair of headphones gleefully bounding by means of a sunlit meadow in gradual movement, hand in earcup—not a care in the world, free from wires, free from the oppression of USB-A, we are able to go wherever collectively. The headphones include me to work, to the café, to the sofa to play some Elden Ring, and even to mattress if I would like rain sounds blasted into my cranium whereas I sleep. She is my fixed companion and I’m hers; we’re inseparable, hovering by means of the world swaddled in a comfortable quilt of infinite sound.
Sounds nice, proper? That’s as a result of it’s. Meanwhile, utilizing a headset with a USB-A dongle is form of like, effectively, have you ever ever seen outdated footage of Harry Houdini being sure in a straight jacket and chains, then locked right into a trunk and thrown into the sea? It’s form of like that, however as a substitute of being a magic trick the place you swim to the floor unscathed, you simply form of simply keep down there. Locked in the trunk. Chained up. Screaming into a chilly, detached ocean that may inevitably crush the life from you as you sink into its lightless depths. Forgotten. Alone.
It’s fairly straightforward to see which one’s higher. I don’t need to get chained up and drowned. That’s why I’ll all the time select a USB-C dongle over USB-A. Yes, this comparability is smart, don’t give it some thought too arduous.
Special supply for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This consists of limitless entry to WIRED.com and our print journal (if you would like). Subscriptions assist fund the work we do on daily basis.