At a Glance
Adapter for using third-party headphones with the iPhone’s recessed headphone jack.
As we’ve noted in several articles, the iPhone’s headphone jack is recessed into the iPhone’s body, preventing third-party headphones with larger miniplugs from connecting.
The solution is a headphone adapter that plugs into this recessed jack and then lets you use your headphones of choice. A number of vendors, including Belkin, Griffin Technology, and Shure have announced such adapters, and we’ll be taking a look at each. The first one we’ve had in our eager hands is Belkin’s $11 Headphone Adapter for iPhone.
The smallest and simplest of the announced adapters, 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 1/8-inch stereo miniplug — your run-of-the-mill headphone connector — can be inserted. Every set of headphones I tested worked fine with the Adapter, and the plug end is thin enough to fit in the headphone-jack hole 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 the plug from your headphones. (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 likely unplug the adapter instead — which is likely what you want to do anyway.
In fact, the fact that the Belkin Adapter is sturdy is its biggest drawback — it’s a bit unwieldy compared to simple thin-cable adapter such as the one from RadTech (also reviewed here on Playlist).–Dan Frakes