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The Hidizs SD2 did greater than give my cellphone again its 3.5mm port

My biggest problem with the phone world deciding the humble 3.5mm headphone port deserved to die? That my rather pricey in-ear monitor wired headphones got made redundant in favour of lower quality Bluetooth buds. Or at least, they did; now the Hidizs SD2 (£50, from Amazon) has given my mobile its port back, bringing my IEMs out of retirement.

It’s not like DAC dongles aren’t a dime a dozen, of course, but I never liked the thought of one sharing a pocket with my phone, in case it scratched the screen. That’s not a problem for the SD2. This pint-sized plugin sticks straight into your phone’s USB-C port, with no trailing cables. At just 6g you’ll quickly forget it’s even plugged into your phone.

A 45-degree angled port provides plenty of room for even the most over-engineered 3.5mm cables. It didn’t bulge out of my pocket when plugged into the portliest of phones I had on test. Even better, it recognises in-line remote controls and built-in microphones, so you don’t have to disconnect if a call comes in.

It’ll play nicely with the latest iPhones as well as Android mobiles and tablets, Windows and Mac computers, and even handheld consoles like the Steam Deck. There are also Lightning and USB-A adaptors in the box, so older devices aren’t entirely left out.

There’s a black version that’s a little more subtle than the silver model I’ve been testing. Both have Gundam-style graphics that are a bit love-it-or-hate-it. The build, a mix of aluminium and polycarbonate, is about right given the asking price.

Inside, an ESS Sabre ES9270 DAC does all the heavy lifting. It’ll support up to 32-bit/384kHz PCM tracks and DSD128 files, which a far and above what even the best Bluetooth codecs can manage. A tiny LED on the front indicates if your tunes are up to scratch: red is for anything below 48kHz, while blue represents Hi-Res territory. A healthy 70mW+70mW power output at 32 ohms is more than enough for premium pairs of earphones, too.

It sounds fantastic for the size and price, with a neutral presentation that doesn’t try to colour your music in any particular direction. There’s no congestion of instruments or frequencies, and a real abundance of detail when dealing with lossless files. There’s no app to download, either; just plug and play. It’ll happily respect any third party app’s baked-in EQ adjustment, though. There’s zero latency, so it’s also ideal for gaming or watching videos.

Anyone sitting on a perfectly good pair of wired earphones will want to check this out. Bluetooth might be convenient, but with an SD2 in your pocket you never have to worry about running out of battery life mid-playlist.

The SD2 is on sale now for $50/£50, from Amazon and directly from Hidizs.

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