March 12, 2021 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of getting a new MacBook Air computer. But they have no ports! I hate no ports. What is the best dongle to give me my ports back? I'm noticing a lot of them don't seem to let you plug headphones in - I'd prefer a dongle that offers headphones. Thanks!
posted by azalea_chant to Technology (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you can wait till later this year, rumor is that they will start adding ports back.
posted by TheAdamist at 5:39 PM on March 12, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: FYI: The Air does still have a headphone port that also supports headphone with a microphone.
posted by advicepig at 5:42 PM on March 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Just bought a new air, it does have a headphone port. For dongles I have two of these and have no complaints - we use one on a chromebook and one on a mac for dual monitor / usb connectivity, seem to work fine.
posted by true at 5:45 PM on March 12, 2021

Response by poster: True, your link just led me to the Amazon homepage?

And I guess my question is now best dongle and should I spring for 16 gb of memory
posted by azalea_chant at 5:50 PM on March 12, 2021

You should check Wirecutter.
posted by evilDoug at 5:53 PM on March 12, 2021

Best answer: Memory depends on your use. I couldn't live without 16GB in my most recent Windows machine, but I haven't even strained the 8GB on my MacBook Air.

Yes, the Air does have a real headphone port. I find the two Thunderbolt ports entirely adequate, and for the rare times I've needed more than two ports, I have a random USB-C dockette that works fine (provides USB-C passthrough power, etc.)

One reason two ports are OK is that my Air is rarely plugged in to power. Its battery life is so long it could be an iPad.
posted by lhauser at 6:01 PM on March 12, 2021

Best answer: Not sure why it did that but I have both a "Vava 7 in 1" and a "Vava 8 in 1" and they are both perfectly fine, depending on what ports you might need. They both have usb-c power delivery so you don't burn an extra port. And regarding memory, I would always spring for the extra memory and never spring for the extra storage.
posted by true at 6:09 PM on March 12, 2021

Best answer: I have a MacBook Air - it's got a headphone jack, as others have pointed out, and I use an Aukey 8-in-one that gives me enough ports to work with. There are other sizes, and I've had no trouble with this brand so I'd expect one in their range to work well. It's $40 on Amazon.
posted by wanderingmind at 6:20 PM on March 12, 2021 [2 favorites]

All the laptops have a headphone jack.
posted by sideshow at 8:43 PM on March 12, 2021

Best answer: The jack hasn't gone away and the people who did reviews with the Apple-supplied 8GB models and were sceptical about 8GB being enough RAM were pretty gobsmacked about what they could do with it -- including apps like DaVinci Resolve that typically dry-heaved on 16GB Intel models. The M1 MacBook Air is a ridiculous thing. I've owned Mac laptops for the last 20 years and the first time I played with one at Best Buy I literally laughed at how good it is. It is a stupidly good computer. I'd personally spring for the extra storage because I have 20 years of photos, albeit backed up elsewhere, and I don't want them beholden to cloud subscriptions, but YMMV.

USB-C is weird depending upon what you want to plug into it, but you can certainly make do in lieu of transient things like an SD slot.
posted by holgate at 9:36 PM on March 12, 2021

re: RAM upgrades, one mental model is "wait to see if you need it, if future-you does find you need it then buy some extra RAM and plug it into a free slot / or swap out your existing stick". But that only works for computers built using modular components, not a new macbook air. Apple seems to be heading further and further away from upgradable hardware:

> There’s no memory slot or slots on the motherboard of an M1 Mac, nor is there an area where a memory chip has been permanently soldered on. Instead, the memory is integrated into the same package that contains the M1 itself. [...] when you buy an M1-based Mac and choose a memory configuration, that’s it. There have been many other Macs with soldered-on memory that couldn’t be upgraded, but this is a little different, since the memory is basically part of the M1 package itself
-- macworld.com re: m1 mac memory

Counterpoint, irrelevant if you have a personal preference for the mac software ecosystem or the build quality of mac laptops: I recently picked up a second hand 2017-vintage thinkpad laptop -- ignoring the processor difference, the specs are comparable to a new macbook air -- 8gb of ram, 256gb nvme ssd storage. I was blown away by how fast it boots with the nvme ssd. Second hand thinkpads cost about a quarter of the price of a new entry level macbook air. It has 6 ports in addition to headphone jacks, and i used one of those ports to install ubuntu and eradicate windows. Has one socket for expanding ram in future if required (yay) and another ram module soldered to the motherboard (alas).
posted by are-coral-made at 12:11 PM on March 13, 2021

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