Bottom line: Dongles are a necessary evil until batteries and wireless options get a lot better. Google's new dongle helps save your phone's battery but will cost you a little more.
After dropping the headphone jack from the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google received some backlash for initially trying to grab an extra $20 for a much needed USB-C to 3.5mm dongle. Now, Google has decided that its $9 adapter is ready for retirement and has added a new dongle to its store page.
The new listing on the Google Store claims that the updated dongle can provide as much as 38 percent longer playback time compared to the previous version. Since there is an integrated digital-to-analog converter hidden in the little cable, most of the gains are likely attributed to changes made to that section.
When connecting the new dongle to a Pixel 2 or Pixel 2 XL, the accessory is now recognized faster with 53 percent less latency upon insertion. In practice, going from a few milliseconds to even less is still going to seem reasonably quick.
Finally, the new adapter shaves off a little material in every dimension, although so little that it may be completely imperceptible without a side-by-side comparison. The new dongle is 2.8-mm shorter, 0.7-mm thinner, and 0.6-mm narrower. These reductions result in an astounding weight savings of... 0.4 grams.
For those still running around with wired headphones regularly, the improved battery life could be a much welcomed change. Arriving at $12, it is a little unsettling to see Google going the route of Apple and charging more for accessories, but the extra battery life might make up for the extra $3 compared to the previous version.