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WFH Wisdom: A USB-C-to-A adapter is a tiny, useful widget

The past couple of mobile phones I’ve carried, Pixel 1 and Pixel 4, had USB-C type charging ports. They came with the little adapters to convert the USBC-C port to a USB-A type connector. The adapter was provided so you could use the charging cable, also provided, to migrate from your old phone to the newer model. This worked well enough that it didn’t bear mention here. Thereafter, the little adapter widget got filed into a box of such treasures.

Pixel USB-C to A Adapter

Where the Pixel 1 had a standard 3.5mm TRRS headset jack the Pixel 4 does not. This has proven inconvenient. I’ve not found a BT headset that I like. I bought a USB-DAC dongle to allow me to continue using my beloved Etymotic ER3XRs when out kite flying.

Sennheiser SDW 5035

When in the office I prefer to use a headset. The Pixel 4 can be linked via BT to the Sennheiser SDW 5035 DECT cordless headset on my desk. This is ok. The DECT headset supports HDVoice over BT, so calls to my wife’s Pixel 4 sound good.

However, I needed solution for in the house. Most especially since the Harris County Work Safe/Stay-at-Home order has entrenched isolation for a little longer. This new reality means that in recent weeks I’m using my mobile phone more than I would have in the past.

Sennheiser SC 60

Turning to my little junk box I revisited the little USB-C-to-A adapter, this time using it to connect a Sennheiser SC60 call center headset. This is one of the last headsets I evaluated for ZipDX. ZipDX maintains a list of headsets recommended for interpreters using our multilingual conferencing. We’re particularly demanding, requiring a USB headset that correctly handles double-talk. Sadly, some common low-cost models fail this test.

Happily, the SC60 works really well with my Pixel 4. It gives me the convenience of hands-free operation without degrading the audio experience for the people on the far-end. Wideband capable, it even works well when I’m calling another T-Mobile subscriber and enjoying HDVoice.

A headset is still vastly preferable to using the built-in speakerphone.

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