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.
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.
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.
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.
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.