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When buying a new MacBook it's always good to consider what kind of internet connection you have at home or wherever you'll be using the machine, it's definitely wise to buy one of these bad boys if you want any kid of wired connection as the newer models don't have ethernet ports. They have the new thunderbolt ports which are faster and can do several things like external memory and various other add ons.
There are a lot of reviews on the apple website saying that it breaks easily, I can say from personal experience that it definitely doesn't. It's a sturdy piece of kit like with all of apple's products. It's just a shame that it isn't included in the box with new MacBooks, they supply an extension cable for the charger so why not an ethernet adapter?
It is annoying that you have to buy it separately, and at around £25 it's an extra little add on to the overall bill. It's not great to have to fork out but in regards to connectivity it's pretty essential.
As for using it it's literally just a case of plugging it in, there's not funny business over installation or setup it's just a plug in and go kind of thing. It does come out pretty easily though which is annoying, especially if you're in the middle of a lengthy download.
Speed wise it's held up to my standards which are pretty high, I've had no quarrel with the speed it carries so that's all good, no complaints there.
Size wise it's very small, not obtrusive at all but the cable connecting the thunderbolt part to the box that converts the ethernet is a bit stiff and hard to bend, makes me a bit wary for it's durability, but I've been using mine daily and moving it around the room all the time and still no problems so I wouldn't worry.
Unfortunately the internet in my University halls of residence isn't wireless, so you have to connect via an ethernet cable. What's even more unfortunate is that the Macbook Air doesn't have an Ethernet port so I had to spend extra to get this adaptor. With this product you also need to purchase an ethernet cable if you don't have one, but they can be picked up extremely cheaply on Amazon or Ebay - I bought a 5m cable for £1.50 on Amazon with free delivery! I believe that the new Macbook Pro with Retina display doesn't have an ethernet port, either. To be honest I'd rather have a thinner and lighter laptop and buy an extra adaptor, since most places have WiFi as the norm nowadays it's not too much of a risk.
The adaptor itself is currently £25 on the Apple website and they can be picked up from Amazon for around the same price as well. This does seem a little steep, but personally I'd rather buy an Apple made product which is more likely to work with my computer instead of one of the cheaper USB alternatives. The adaptor is the standard Apple white design, and plugs into the Thunderbolt port on the right-hand side of the Macbook Air. The product itself is around 10cm in length making it extremely portable and can easily fit in most laptop cases or easily in a backpack.
The device is very simple to use - just plug and play. Some computers may require you to update the Thunderbolt software before you can use this adaptor. My advice would be to test this out at home first, so you can download the update via your wireless. You'll know if you have to update as it'll say there's no Thunderbolt Ethernet connected under System Preferences -> Network. The update is then very simple to find on the Apple website. Once it's all up and running, the internet is very fast - I was impressed. Sometimes the wired connection is actually a lot faster than a wireless one which is a bonus.
The only problem I have with this is that on the Macbook Air there's only one Thunderbolt port, so when you're browsing the internet with the adaptor plugged in, you can't use the Thunderbolt port for any thing else - e.g hooking up your laptop to an external monitor. If you tend to do this often, I'd recommend that you buy one of the Apple branded USB to Ethernet adaptors instead, so you can do both at once! It just depends on the way you use your laptop to be honest. The fault doesn't really lie with the adaptor, it's more of a 'fault' with the laptop itself!