Best USB-C Adapters for Windows Mixed Reality and VR

Thanks to lower system requirements for Windows Mixed Reality (WMR), many laptops with nothing more than integrated graphics can indeed offer up a satisfying experience. However, many laptops without a dedicated graphics card (GPU) also won't come with the required ports (like HDMI) for a connection, so you have to look for an adapter. Likewise, if you're working with an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, you might need an extra port or two for sensors or other accessories that only uses USB-A. Do note that the Rift and Vive are quite finicky when it comes to HDMI, and you might see positive results one minute and negative results the next when using an adapter. Your best bet is to connect straight to the HDMI port on your PC when using either VR system.

Since most modern laptops seem to be using USB-C quite frequently, I've put together this list of USB-C adapters ― to HDMI or to USB-A ― that work with WMR and VR.

See Windows Mixed Reality at Microsoft Store

Best USB-C to HDMI adapters

Thanks to Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C ports with DisplayPort Alt Mode, you should be able to run VR from a laptop without an HDMI port. These are the best display adapters we could find.

Surface USB-C to HDMI adapter

 Surface USB-C to HDMI adapter

Anyone with a Surface Book 2 will want to check out this official adapter from Microsoft. It's by far the best option for connecting a WMR head-mounted display, offering up a lag-free connection that doesn't stutter and tear. Yes, it is pricey compared to other options (about $40), but this seems to be the norm with most Surface-branded products. Check out Executive Editor Daniel Rubino's review for more information.

See at Microsoft Store

uni USB-C to HDMI adapter

uni USB-C to HDMI adapter

This USB-C to HDMI adapter from uni (about $20) also seems to work just fine with the Surface Book 2 and WMR, plus it's half the price. It also supports a 4K display at 60Hz for when you're not in a virtual world.

See at Amazon

Plugable USB-C to HDMI 2.0 adapter

Plugable USB-C to HDMI 2.0 adapter

Plugable makes some great products that don't hurt the wallet too much, like this USB-C to HDMI 2.0 adapter (about $18). It supports up to 4K resolutions at 60Hz, and works with WMR (as long as it's not being used with a Surface Book 2). As for the Rift and Vive, like most scenarios the general consensus is that it's hit or miss.

See at Amazon

Best USB-C to USB-A adapters

Whether your laptop has no USB-A port or you need extra ports for your Rift sensors, these adapters and hubs should do the trick.

Aukey USB-C hub

Aukey USB-C hub

Connected to the Razer Blade's Thunderbolt 3 port, this hub from Aukey (about $65) was able to handle both USB-A and HDMI needs for WMR. As an added bonus, you're getting up to 100W of charging for any compatible laptops, SD and microSD card readers, Ethernet, and VGA. For something you shouldn't have a problem using outside of VR, this option might be worth the extra money.

See at Amazon

Plugable USB-C to USB-A adapter

Plugable USB-C to USB-A adapter

Laptops will often have an HDMI and USB-A port on opposite sides of the chassis, which is right where this six-inch adapter from Plugable (about $10) really shines. I tested WMR on my LG gram 15Z980 and had an issue during first time setup, though once the setup was complete I tried again and had no issues thereafter. This adapter really only has one use, though it is the right price and can be used with multiple devices outside of VR. As for Rift sensors, this adapter seemed to not have any issues.

See at Amazon

OLYCAM USB-C multiport adapter

OLYCAM USB-C multiport adapter

Another adapter that gives HDMI and USB-A connectivity through the same USB-C port, this OLYCAM adapter (about $30 CAD) also has an extra USB-C port that can be used for power delivery if your laptop supports it. Again I tested this adapter with an LG gram's Thunderbolt 3 port, and I had no issues using WMR. This is the cheapest multiport adapter tested, though it's unclear how well it would work for Rift or Vive.

See at Amazon

Anker USB-C OTG adapter

Anker USB-C OTG adapter

For anyone attempting to connect their Vive Linkbox to their PC via USB-C, an OTG adapter might be the thing needed to get it all working properly. A thread posted by Reddit user Omnomnom334 asks the question of what's need to connect correctly, and the answer (which was confirmed to work by Omnomnom334) is this Anker option (about $8). In this case, the HDMI cable is still plugged straight into the PC for best results.

See at Amazon

More resources

Have a look at our Windows Mixed Reality ultimate guide for far more information.

Windows Mixed Reality ultimate guide

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