Belkin Headphone Adapter for iPhone full review
The iPhone’s headphone jack is recessed into the iPhone’s body, making many third-party headphones incompatible.
For the broadest choice of headphones, the solution is an adaptor that plugs into the recessed jack. A number of vendors, including Belkin, Griffin Technology, and Shure have announced such adaptors. The smallest and simplest so far, Belkin’s is just over two inches long and covered in thick rubber. Plug it into your iPhone’s headphone jack, and you get a standard headphone minijack into which any 3.5mm stereo miniplug – your run-of-the-mill headphone connector – can be inserted. Every set of headphones we tested worked with the Adapter, and the plug end is thin enough to fit in the headphone-jack opening of every iPhone case we’ve received so far.
The Adapter is fairly rigid, which means you need some clearance at the top of the iPhone for the Adapter and your headphone plug. You can bend the Adapter in the middle, and it bends much more easily after you break it in a bit, but you should still assume that you’ll need an inch or so of clearance. The Adapter’s headphone jack also fits tightly with most third-party headphone plugs; when you pull on the headphone plug, you’ll probably unplug the adaptor instead.
To answer the question of most interest to audiophiles, the Belkin Adapter does affect sound quality – but only slightly. We tested the Adapter with V-Moda’s Vibe Duo – an iPhone-focussed (it includes an inline microphone for making calls) version of the company’s excellent Vibe. The Duo provides sound comparable to the Vibe – which is to say, much better than Apple’s stock earbuds – and uses a miniplug small enough to fit the iPhone’s headphone jack, so we were able to use the Duo both with and without the Belkin Adapter.
When switching between a direct connection and the Adapter, there was a slight difference in overall sound quality. However, the difference was noticeable only in immediate, direct comparison and was small enough that only the most golden-eared and picky audiophiles (and we count ourselves among their number) will notice – and even fewer will care.