Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar Dongle – Review

wp-belkin-charge-audio-8 So Apple killed off one of the most important holes in the history of holes on the iPhone 7, the audio jack. Which now leaves you to decide, do I charge my iPhone or do I listen to some Taylor Swift? Obviously Swiftnation. But fret no more though, this dongle by Belkin will allow you to do both, so, lets check it out.


Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar Cable
First thing you’ll realize is how similar it looks to an Apple dongle. Made with a hard glossy plastic casing and a thick rubber coated wire, which I liked as it shouldn’t bend and tear as easily. If it didn’t have all this Belkin branding on it, I would’ve sworn this was straight outta Cupertino.

In terms of size, it’s about 4 1/2″ inches tall and 1 3/8″ wide, which is relatively large compared to another popular dongle no one likes – the Apple 3.5mm to Lightning dongle. So why do we need another dongle for the iPhone 7?
Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar CableWell Belkin is out to solve one very specific problem. Users who like to listen to their music, but also want to keep their iPhone charged, because no one likes having FOMO with a dead iPhone. The dongle plugs into your iPhone on one end and on the other has 2 female Lightning connectors.
Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar CableBoth being interchangeable, one is for a Lightning cable to charge that supports pass-through charging of up to 12W. It will work for the iPhone charger, iPad charger, or even external batteries and I didn’t experience slower charging speeds in either of them. Then another Lightning port for, well, Lightning headphones, like the ones included with your iPhone 7 or third party models.

I’m no audiophile, but it supports up to 24 bit 48 kHz lossless audio quality, which for a simpleton like me, sounded exactly the same as not have the adapter attached. It also supports the 3.5mm adapter and again, no issue in quality loss and inline controls work as intended and you can still take calls on attached microphones.
Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar CableSince it is a Lightning adapter, it will also work on any device newer than the iPhone 5, although I don’t see a purpose for that, unless maybe your audio jack is wrecked. But all in all, that’s all it’s for, power and audio. That means this won’t connect to iTunes for you. You can’t double your charge times by connecting 2 power sources. And disappointingly, it’s doesn’t work as an audio splitter.

So then, why would you want to get this? An one obvious reason would be if you use a really thick case that doesn’t support the Lightning dock, the only other thing that allowed you to do both as well. The cable tip is pretty slim so it’ll work even in thick cases like the OtterBox Defender Series.

There are a few other cases where this is useful, for instance, this works great to charge your iPhone overnight while listening to music or a boring podcast to help you fall asleep. At work, you want to tune out your annoying coworkers, you know who you are Jim, but also make sure you have enough juice by the end of the workday to get lit. Or what I use it for, in older cars without fancy Bluetooth signals shooting out of it. I can charge and connect to the stereo system with the 3.5mm adapter. For myself, it’s not a dongle that you take with you everywhere, I simply leave it where I use it the most, so in the car. This allows me to always be ready for some car kareoke.
Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge Rockstar CableI don’t think there are any cons for this, because for what it promises to do, it does it well in a relatively manageable dongle. I would like to see a Lightning and 3.5mm jack version, which will eliminate the need to carry this extra dongle. It is on the expensive side for a very specific purpose of charging and listening at the same time, but an alternative is to go with the Apple Lightning Dock with a 3.5mm jack built in or just cough up a little more for a nice pair of Bluetooth headphones.


AS AN ALTERNATIVE: Apple Lightning Dock