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Essential

How badly do you want a headphone jack on your smartphone? Android creator Andy Rubin’s smartphone startup, Essential, is still alive after laying off 30 percent of its staff, and it’s still producing products. The latest is a headphone jack attachment called the “Audio Adapter HD” for the company’s only standalone product, the ill-fated Essential Phone. The Essential Phone doesn’t have a headphone jack built into the device, but it does have a modular accessory system that this headphone jack can click onto. So if you really, really want to use wired audio, you can fork over a $150 for this accessory. That price seems just a bit excessive considering the entire phone has had fire sales for $250 and $224.

The Essential Phone is compatible with the usual headphone jack dongles, so this add-on is being pitched as an artisanally crafted accessory for the discerning audiophile. The company says the “limited edition” accessory is “handcrafted” and made from “100% machined titanium.” Inside is the beloved 3.5mm audio jack and a high-quality DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) from ESS Sabre. You’ll also get three free months of the Tidal HiFi music service. Besides the higher-quality DAC, the other advantage this attachment offers over the usual USB-C dongle is the ability to charge the device and listen to music at the same time! What a concept.

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