Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter Review

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adaptor

Adapters that add thicker ports on Apple’s laptops are definitely nothing new. Even the newest MacBook Pro doesn’t feature an Ethernet port and the 12-inch MacBook and the MacBook Air are way too thin to allow a wired Internet connection. Because of this, you are forced to use an adapter if you want to connect an Ethernet cable to your new Apple machines.

Even though Wi-Fi is alright for most of your everyday activities, even the tech giant admits that a wired connection is necessary from time to time. In order to address this issue, Apple sells a very fast Thunderbolt to Ethernet Adapter for $29 and a slower USB Ethernet Adapter for the same price. However, the new MacBook doesn’t have any of these two ports so it requires a USB-C to USB Adapter sold by the company for $19 which can be used with the slower Ethernet adapter.

The good news is that because USB-C is slowly becoming an industry standard, some accessory manufacturers such as Kanex have already created some solutions like the USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter. The accessory from Kanex retails at $29.95 and is compatible with both the new MacBook and other computers that use a USC-C port. Here is our Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter review.

It’s quite easy to mistake the Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter with a Lightning to Ethernet adapter for iPads and iPhones when you first look at it. However, the adapter is a USB dongle that has a pretty bulky Ethernet port on one end.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adaptor

This is the first time I connected my new MacBook to a wired connection since I got it in April. While this may not seem like such a big deal, it is pretty useful to have the option to connect the new MacBook to a wired Internet connection when you absolutely need to. It’s nice to have the possibility to use the machine with an Ethernet cable, for both speed and reliability. On top of this, sometimes you just need to use a wired connection if there is no Wi-Fi around or if you have to connect your laptop to another computer by using the Ethernet port.

The USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter from Kanex looks surprisingly similar to other adapters made by Apple itself, even though its casing is a tad greyer than the bright apple used by Apple on its adapters and cables. However, this may combat the discoloring that comes over time. The end of the adapter is also bigger than the USB adapters made by the tech giant and measures 0.25 inches thick and 1.25 inches wide.

The size of the cable on the Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter is 11.5 inches long. The Apple USB Ethernet adapter has a cable that is only 8 inches long and when it is attached to the USB-C to USB adapter it measures 12.75 inches. The length of the cable is very important when connecting it to a modem or a router and the adapter made by Kanex lets the Ethernet port end hang very comfortably from the USB-C end of the adapter.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adaptor

Even though the adapter really looks similar to the USB-C Charge Cable that comes with the new MacBook, when you take a look at the RJ45 end of the Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter it becomes pretty obvious why Apple chose not to include such a port on their ultra-thin machine. The adapter is a lot thicker than the thickest part on the new MacBook. You can get an idea of just how thick it is by imagining two iPhone 6 smartphones stacked together.

Even though you won’t know they’re there until you see the Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter in action, the device has two LEDs inside. This is something that you won’t be able to find on any of the two USB Ethernet adapters made by Apple. Both of those LEDs glow green when the device is connected. One of the lights is intended to show connection as the LED remains green when the device is connected and the other shows the data transfer speed as it pulses at different speeds. However, it’s worth mentioning that the first LED still remained green when I unplugged the Ethernet cable. An idle computer will reveal a slower flash of the LED while opening more tabs in Safari will create a constant flash of the light until all your tabs have loaded.

The Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter works exactly as you would expect, the only surprising thing about it being the green LEDs under the casing. If the flashing LEDs are way too distracting for you, you can just buy the USB to Ethernet and USB-C to USB adapters from Apple and be done with it. However, this device from Kanex is the first of its kind and offers a port for Ethernet for the same price that the tech giant sells the Thunderbolt Gigabit Ethernet adapter for.

Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adaptor

If you wish to add access to an Ethernet port on the new MacBook for occasional or frequent use, especially for downloading software with a greater speed, the solution offered by Kanex is a very good one and it comes at a very decent price tag. Its biggest problem becomes apparent when you have to use both the power and the Ethernet, because the MacBook only features one port. A solution for this issue may be a hub-style adapter, but this will only add more things that you’ll need in order to use the new MacBook as you please.

Key Features

The Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter adds a much wanted wired Internet connection port on the new MacBook, which may come in very useful in Wi-Fi dead zones. The adapter doesn’t require any setup and works right out of the box. The 11.5 inches long cable is also pretty cool and the fact that it comes in almost the same color scheme as other adapters produced by Apple is a nice touch as well. On top of this, the device is also compatible with other computers, not just Apple ones, including the Google Chromebook Pixel.

So there you have it. This was our Kanex USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet adapter review.

Images source: 1, 2, 3, 4

Apple 12-inch Retina MacBook Review

12-inch Retina MacBook

The 12-inch Retina MacBook from Apple might be one of the greatest looking laptop’s I have ever had the pleasure of toying with. Beautiful design? Yes sir. Do you absolutely need it? No way! At this price range you can get a laptop that stands better in the performance, and battery-life department undoubtedly. But I digress, let’s move on to our review and see what’s the deal with Apple’s 12-inch Retina MacBook.

It doesn’t live up to the hype

If you jumped on the bandwagon, please get down, because it’s not at all what you would expect. It’s lightweight, thin, and you can take it with you almost anywhere you want to go to because it’s super portable, but because it’s super portable Apple cut down on some key features, and for $1300 I definitely say a stern no, thank you!

Its design

12-inch Retina MacBook

This laptop is so damn fine, I’m actually feeling guilty that I dumped it on my cousin – the fool won’t even appreciate how superb it really is.

Apple had to built things from the scratch to make it so thin. The 12-inch MacBook doesn’t have a fan, because there are no moving parts inside, everything is clunked together. Apple also completely re-designed the keyboard especially for this laptop – it features new butterfly switches that makes the keyboard 40% thinner than your average one, and the keys are 17% larger. Some of you might not like how it feels, and even I had a couple of infuriating days trying to type, and maintain my word per minute counter.

But all of the issues went away after the first week – and if this is your first laptop, you won’t have to worry, because the keyboard is truly perfect. I’m just a little bit weird because one might say that I’ve tried’em all out!

The keyboard isn’t the only new thing that Apple features on their new product. The touch trackpad is called Force and it tries to give the user a ton of stuff to do with it, but to be honest, I’ve never used them more than once, or twice. I seriously don’t understand why is it easier to open the word definition with Force, rather than just typing the word in Google and pressing search – tracklements meaning, and voilà, the first result is the definition for the word.

12-inch Retina Macbook

Even though you can do so many things with the trackpad – useless things mostly; it feels exactly like the rest. If you’re used to Apple laptops, then this trackpad won’t be news to you.

In the near future, third-party app developers will be bringing new features to Force – a really great idea to give developers the ability to meddle with the potential of the trackpad. Kudos to Apple for the initiative of  letting others do their job for them.

The Retina MacBook comes in 3 colours: Gold, Silver and Space Gray.

Who in their right mind would choose Gold? It’s unbelievably tacky, and you look like a 12-year old that found out that gold means rich. Sheesh, please stop this trend. I bought for myself the Space Gray model because it sort of pulled off the business feeling – it’s classy, and at the same time it doesn’t stand out as something an attention-seeker would buy.

Retina Macbook 13 inch and 12 inch

Now, if you already have an iPad, you won’t need this laptop. Why? Well, for starters it’s almost the same size as an iPad, and it runs OS X. It does have a larger screen, and I have to say more exquisite – Apple outdone themselves with the Retina display; it’s just gorgeous! I would buy the device only for the screen. The laptop features a resolution of 2304×1440,  226 pixels per inch at 16:10 aspect ratio. It’s a shame that the Face Time camera consists of only 640×480 – it does its job, but don’t expect stellar video footage displayed from you in Skype meetings or whatever you use.

Now, the built-in speakers are just awesome – you won’t need to pair the device with other speakers because the output is phenomenal. I didn’t think it had the power in it when I first put my hands on the laptop. It put down me in my place and taught me a nice lesson in humility and prejudice.

12-inch Retina MacBook

What I seriously dislike, and think that it’s a huge mistake on Apple’s side is the part where they included just one peripheral – one USB Type-C port, and a headphone jack. Can’t connect the Retina MacBook to your TV through a HDMI, can’t recharge your smartphone, and transfer data from your USB stick at the same time. I was bothered with the lack of ports. Sure, Apple sells a couple of adapters, and you could always go that way, but we shouldn’t. It’s a trend I don’t want to see alive.

Its performance

12-inch Retina MacBook

When you buy a laptop this tiny, and thin, you shouldn’t expect a stellar high performance machine – remember that you are buying it because it’s super portable.

It sacrifices its CPU, and GPU for portability, so the 12-inch MacBook isn’t doing well in the high usage department – don’t expect to render videos any time soon. I, for one, use my laptop to render videos, and create music in Ableton, and the MacBook didn’t stand a chance. For my line of work it definitely doesn’t suit me.

If you’re planning on typing away essays, books, watching movies, and listening to music, it’s the perfect little cute device, but if you dwell in other performance taxing hobbies I would recommend you look elsewhere.

Intel’s 14-nanometer Broadwell-Y Core M processors are new, and only a few devices have them. The 5 Watt Core M processor keeps the laptop cool and silent, at least, that’s what the official statement says. Unfortunately, I’ve seen the device overheat because I had too many tabs open in Chrome, and I had to shut them down. It didn’t happen while using Mozilla’s Firefox – I don’t use Safari; so maybe it’s a Chrome thing, but still it did happen.

Its battery life

12-inch Retina MacBook

Apple states that the 12-inch device can last up to 10 hours. I’m telling you that the laptop was alive for only 4 hours – I didn’t even do much. No costing apps, or anything like that. I surfed the web, stared at some YouTube clips, used Skype, and of course, how could I forget, Facebook – our new overlord. But don’t let that put you down, because it can fully recharge, from 0% to 100%, in 2 and a half hours.

Three models to choose from

There are 3 models for you to choose from, all of them available in Gold – ugh; Silver – meh; and Space Gray – yum!

  • 1.1 GHz dual-core Intel Core M Processor, Intel HD Graphics 5300, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage – $1,300!
  • 1.2 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, Intel HD Graphics 5300, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage – $1,600!
  • 1.3 GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor, Intel HD Graphics 5300, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of flash storage –  $1,750!

So to sum it up:

  • Pros

– Ultra-thin, super portable, and fabulous design

– Super silent

– Built-in speakers output raw power

  • Cons

– Low battery-life

– Expensive for borderline weak performance

– It randomly overheats

The competition

At $1,300 you have a ton of other awesome devices to choose from like:

  • Toshiba Satellite S55-B5258 15.6-Inch Laptop

Option to the 12-inch Retina MacBook

It consists of Intel Core i7-4710HQ processor (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz) with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, Mobile Intel HD Graphics, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD, beautiful 15.6-Inch screen, and it can also output 4k Utra HD. No, there’s no catch, and it’s only $750!

What you should know is that it doesn’t have a DVD Drive, and it may be a deal-breaker to some. It has 1 USB 2.0 port, and 2 USB 3.0 ports, a HDMI port, and a SD Media Card Reader – also a HD webcam with an integrated microphone.

Its battery life lasts a little bit longer than the 12-inch Retina MacBook – about 5 hours!

  • HP Envy 17-J130US 17.3-Inch Touchsmart Laptop

Option to the 12-inch Retina MacBook

It consists of Intel Core i5-4210U processor, Intel HD Graphics 4400, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD, and a 15.6-Inch screen. It costs $900!

The processor is a little bit weaker than the previously discussed Toshiba, but this one has a DVD Drive, and a better GPU. The Intel HD Graphics 4400 is really great for laptops, and gamers won’t have problems running the latest games – in all fairness, no at the maximum settings, but somewhere along low, and medium should suffice.

Regarding its battery life, it stands on the same level as Apple’s 12-inch Retina – 4 hours!

  • Lenovo Ideapad G505S 59406417 15.6-Inch Laptop

Option to the 12-inch Retina MacBook

It consists of AMD A10-5750M 2.5 GHz Processor, AMD Radeon HD 8650G Graphics, 6 GB of RAM, 1 TB HDD, 15.6-Inch screen. It costs about $900!

If I were you, I would go with this one. Sure, it has only 6 GB of RAM, but the AMD processor coupled with the AMD GPU will work like a charm in video-games, movies, and also rendering videos and such.

Battery life is better than what Apple’s device offer, and it can last up to 5 hours!


Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


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