This Xiaomi USB-C to Mini DisplayPort adapter will simplify your miserable dongle life
When Apple went all-in with USB-C on its late-2016 MacBook Pros, it irked a lot of people because that means they now need to buy multiple dongles to continue using their existing accessories. To ease the transition, Apple offered some USB-C accessory discounts but that ended in end March.
While Apple may have taken its love for USB-C a bit too far, there’s no denying that this is the connector of the future. An idiot-proof, reversible mating interface, support for super-fast charging (up to 100W using Power Delivery), and the ability to transport non-USB signals, USB-C has quite a lot going for it.
But until everything uses USB-C, we need dongles.
Xiaomi’s USB-C to Mini DisplayPort dongle primary function is as what it says on the tin, and that’s to convert a USB-C port to a Mini DisplayPort, so that you can continue to use your Mini DisplayPort-equipped display with your USB-C laptop. According to Xiaomi, it supports up to 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) @ 60Hz.
But it doesn’t just stop there. In addition to the video port, the dongle (model: ZJQ02TM) has two USB Type-A ports and another USB-C port for connecting to other USB peripherals, such as flash drives. This USB-C port supports power passthrough too, which means you can use the laptop’s power adapter to power the whole setup, instead of draining power from the laptop. This mode will also charge up the laptop. For the 12-inch MacBook that only has one miserable port, this is crucial.
Interestingly, the dongle supports the newer USB Power Delivery 3.0 standard, and can deliver power up to 65W (5 – 20V @ 0 – 3.25A). This applies to the “male” end, that is, the connector that goes into your laptop’s USB-C port. On the other hand, the USB-C and each of the two USB-A receptacles onboard the dongle can output a maximum of 12.5W (5V @ 2.5A) and 7.5W (5V @ 1.5A) respectively, so it’s unlikely that you’d unwittingly fry a connected device. While USB PD 3.0 support on the dongle is noteworthy, it shouldn’t matter much from a usage point of view; USB PD 3 is backward compatible with USB PD 2 anyway.
In sum, the Xiaomi USB-C to Mini DisplayPort multi-function adapter works well, and I didn’t notice any out-of-spec behavior. For those unfamiliar, USB-C to Mini DisplayPort dongles aren’t uncommon, and you can pick one up for as cheap as S$12 in some stores. But a USB-C to Mini DisplayPort dongle with two USB-A ports, USB-C power passthrough, and 4K/60p and USB PD 3.0 support is quite a rarity. If you’ve a USB-C laptop and often connect it to a monitor or projector, I’ll say get it to make your dongle life easier. One-port MacBook users will love this dongle.
To end, here are a few more miscellaneous observations about this Xiaomi adapter, for those interested in the nitty-gritty:
- Xiaomi co-designed this adapter with Chinese company Linxee. It uses Fresco Logic’s USB 3.0 hub controller but is wired as a USB 2.0 hub. The Type-C port controller is also sourced from the same company.
- In case it isn’t clear, your laptop must support USB-C charging if you want to use the charging function. Similarly, the laptop and connected power supply must support USB Power Delivery for the PD function to work.
- In order to carry DisplayPort signals, the laptop must support DisplayPort Alternate Mode over USB-C.
- The two onboard USB-A ports support data passthrough, but only at USB 2.0 speeds.
- Since the dongle’s USB-C connector outputs no more than 65W, it won’t charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro as fast as when it’s hooked up directly to its own 87W USB-C charger. Lower-power laptops should work fine.
- Sure, you can plug the dongle to any USB-C/PD device (e.g., Nintendo Switch) to charge it, but I’m not sure why you’d want to do that, especially if you’ve a USB PD adapter connected on the other end. If you need an affordable and good USB-C power adapter, Xiaomi makes one.
- Remember, the USB-C port on the dongle outputs up to 12.5W and doesn’t do USB PD, and each of the two USB-A ports goes no more than 7.5W. That’s sufficient for driving low-power USB storage devices like flash drives or keyboards and mice. You can also use them to charge your phones and tablets and power banks, just don’t expect very fast charging speeds.
- And nope, the dongle doesn’t support other proprietary charging tech, such as Qualcomm Quick Charge. It also doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3.0. At the end of the day, this is a simple dongle, not a full-blown desktop docking station.
- For what it’s worth, Xiaomi also makes a USB-C to HDMI dongle priced at 149 Yuan. This version supports 4K over HDMI, USB 3.0 transfer rate (5Gbps), as well as USB PD 2.0.