We Love the Dongle, Don’t We? Best USB-C Hubs to Get Your Laptop Back to Basics

Top Product: Anker PowerExpand Direct | $ 51 | Amazon | Clip coupon

Before that was cool, Apple introduced its first USB Type-C-only MacBook back in 2015, namely the 12-inch MacBook. While production inevitably ceased, it could be assumed that due to its prohibitively high price tag, this thin and light machine has unexpectedly impacted every laptop that Apple has affixed its logo to since then. These days, however, it’s not just the MacBook that lacks all of your favorite ports and slots – HDMI, microSD, SD, and the like; In fact, you’ll find that many of the best laptops now require multiport adapters and hubs to do simple things like expanding your screen to a second display, viewing photos from your digital camera, or even just plugging in your webcam for Zoom calls.

In part, I am writing this guide because I feel responsible for the burden I have placed on laptop users of all stripes. You see, a few years ago, when I was a freelance editor at TechRadar, I took it upon myself to try and stay ahead of the rest of the tech industry by prematurely ditching my old cables and accessories in favor of their USBs. -C equivalents. The end result was a comic inconvenience. Here I am with a USB-C to DisplayPort cable in tow, no second port to charge my laptop at the same time. I was a goddamn fool. However, the real second port was the friends we made along the way, and I gained a lot.

As a veteran as possible in the 5 years since USB-C entered the public consciousness, I have invested my endless supply of multiport hubs sent to me after I started writing articles like this through a call. Here are the best of the multitude, based on years of suffering.

Best USB-C hub overall: Anker PowerExpand Direct

After an old version of a similar hub I had for years started to fall apart, I started looking for a replacement multiport adapter to disguise myself on the side of my 16- inch MacBook Pro . Once I found Anker PowerExpand Direct , I reached out to my contacts at Anker for a device to review, and I have to say that it is as perfect as I hoped. Comes with HDMI output, two USB-A ports, microSD card slot, full-size SD slot, and not one, but TWO USB-C ports (hence the 7-in-2 nickname) – including one for 100W charging and another for data transfer – PowerExpand Direct pretty much has it all.

Well, sort of. The only downside is that despite having two USB-C ports, you also need to plug it into two USB-C ports on your computer, which doesn’t make sense if you’re using a MacBook Air or even a 13-inch base model . MacBook Pro . However, according to a post on the Super User forum , USB-C hubs are “too many,” as they call it, hard to find for some reason. Until recently, chips for these hubs were not available to OEMs, and several companies that have managed to market their multi-USB-C hubs have effectively migrated the interface to the older USB 2.0 specification. However, for someone like me with enough USB-C ports for a few days, there is nothing better than this .

Best for MacBook Air: Juiced Systems QuadHUB

Here’s the one I didn’t use, but since the Belkin I was about to recommend seems to be out of production, Juiced Systems QuadHub might be your best bet for those craving an extra dose of Vitamin C. Offering a pair of USB Type-A twins 3.2 Gen 2 and two USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 ports, while not the most versatile hub you’ll find, it is ostensibly one of the few USB 3.2 hubs you can find on Amazon, according to one enthusiastic at least observers:

There are many hubs with conventional 3.0 connections in both [Type-A] and [Type-C], but since I spent a lot of money on my laptop, I wanted to make sure to take advantage of the higher speed offered by USB 3.2. So my search finally led me to a Juiced Systems Quad Hub with two USB 3.2 [Type-A] and [Type-C] ports each. I have tested ports with both types of connectors and they work fine. – Jose Hernandez

For those aforementioned MacBook Air or 13- inch Pro users looking to add an extra high-speed reversible port to their artillery, the QuadHub is literally one of a kind.

Best for MacBook Pro: Aukey Link PD Pro

For our professional MacBook friends, data transfer capabilities alone won’t do the trick. You’ll also need ample connectivity and, most importantly, 100-watt power delivery to satisfy your MacBook’s hunger. The Aukey CB-C71 Link PD Pro might not be as addicted to ports as its 12-in-1 cousin , but for about half the price it won’t hurt your wallet. Unlike the QuadHub , the Link PD Pro boasts USB 3.0 speeds, claiming a peak data transfer rate of 5Gbps. With it, you get a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, SD and microSD card slots, and as an added bonus, Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired internet connections.

Like Anker PowerExpand Direct , it has an HDMI output, but it’s worth noting that it can only transmit 4K video at up to 30Hz . Anyone who prefers to move the cursor at 60fps (i.e. everything) will be disappointed with this limitation. To fix this problem and assume you have an extra port, I bought this USB-C to DisplayPort cable a YEAR ago and still can’t live without it.

With the Aukey Link PD Pro and the included towing bag, you can multitask without wasting power, whether you’re using the cheapest 13-inch MacBook Pro or its powerful 16-inch siblings .

Best hub by manufacturer: Apple USB-C Multiport Digital AV Adapter

Since I’m sick, I’m probably one of the few fans using Apple’s own USB-C dongle along with a third party adapter. Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot to be said for the look of an official Apple accessory, not to mention the quality: I’ve clung to this accessory longer than anything else I’ve used since the first MacBook I bought over fifty years ago, and it is still gaining momentum.

As you probably guessed, either from the above image or well-known data, the Apple USB-C Digital Multiport AV Adapter is pretty darn basic, it only has three connections: a USB-C port that you can only use for charging ( not for data transfer), HDMI-out (I already said why it’s not ideal) and one USB 3.0 Type-A port. And all this for almost $ 70! If you’d rather trade HDMI for an even lower 1080p resolution, you’re in luck – Apple sells a nearly identical multiport VGA cable for the same price.

Despite its flaws and the highway robbery sticker price, the Apple USB-C is still my favorite travel device. At one time, I’m pretty sure it didn’t cost much more than your average OEM hub, but of course that has changed as USB-C has become more prevalent. Buy this one when it goes on sale.

Best for the cheap: Vava VA-UC017

The most recent hub I use with my current setup, this Vava 7-in-1 USB-C adapter is about 2.3x the functionality of Apple’s multi-plug for just $ 20 if coupon cut in place. Providing the same 100- watt power delivery as the more expensive Anker PowerExpand Direct and Link PD Pro options , the device, formally known as the VA-UC017, has three USB 3.0 (up to 5Gbps), SD, microSD and HDMI.

With the exception of the cable, which is slightly longer than the official MacBook cord (7.1 inches versus Apple’s ~ 4 inches), the budget variant of the Vava is virtually indistinguishable from its competitors. want an economical pickaxe?

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