By PURPLELEC | 27 July 2023 | 0 Comments
USB-C hubs are more or less a necessary
These days, USB-C hubs are more or less a necessary evil.Many popular laptops have reduced the number of ports they offer, but we still need to plug in more and more accessories.Between the need for dongles for mice and keyboards, hard drives, monitors, and the need to charge headphones and phones, most of us need more — and many different types — of ports.These best USB-C hubs will help you stay connected without slowing you down.
If you start looking around for a USB-C port, you may quickly find the term docking station mixed with a hub product.While both devices expand the number and types of ports you can access, there are some differences to be aware of.
The main purpose of a USB-C hub is to expand the number of ports you can access.They usually offer USB-A ports (often more than one) and usually offer an SD or microSD card slot.USB-C hubs can also have various DisplayPorts and even Ethernet compatibility.They consume power from laptops and are usually very small and lightweight.If you’re traveling for business, the small size makes them easy to fit in your laptop bag, even if it means you need to head to your local coffee shop for a change of scenery.If you’re on the go a lot, have little workspace, or just don’t need a plethora of ports, a hub might be the way to go.
On the other hand, docking stations are designed to provide desktop functionality to laptops.They typically have more ports than USB-C hubs and provide better connectivity for high-resolution displays.They are larger than hubs and require a power source other than your laptop to power your devices.All of this means they are also more expensive and larger than hubs.If you just need the extra ports at your desk and want the option to run multiple high-end monitors, a docking station should be the way to go.
One of the main differences between hubs is the number and type of ports.Some only offer multiple USB-A ports, which can be fine if you’re only plugging in things like hard drives or wired keyboards.You’ll also find HDMI, Ethernet, extra USB-C, and an SD card or micro SD card slot on some devices.
Figuring out what type of connection you need and how many ports you might need to plug into at one time will give you a better idea of which hub is best for you.You don’t want to buy a hub with two USB-A slots just to realize you have three devices with that slot and have to keep switching them.
If the hub has USB-A ports, you also need to check which generation they are, as older generation USB-A ports may be too slow for things like transferring files.If it has extra USB-C, you’ll also want to check if it has Thunderbolt compatibility, as this will give you faster speeds.
If you’re using a hub to connect one or two monitors, be sure to check the type of display port, as well as resolution compatibility and refresh rate.There’s nothing worse than plugging in a monitor and having it slow and lag when trying to work or watch something.If you really want to avoid lag, aim for at least 30Hz or 60Hz 4K compatibility.
Why it’s on the list: With three well-spaced USB-A ports, as well as HDMI and SD card slots, this hub is a pretty well-rounded option.
The EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub will have all checkboxes checked in most cases.It has three USB-A 3.0 ports for fast data transfer.One of the ports is also BC1.2, which means you can charge your phone or headphones faster.There’s also a USB-C port on the hub that provides 100 watts of power output, but 15 watts is used to power the hub itself.It has a 5.9-inch cable, which is long enough to extend from the laptop on the laptop stand, but not so long you’ll have to deal with more cable clutter.
There is an HDMI port on the EZQuest hub that is compatible with 4K video at 30Hz refresh rate.This can cause some lag for serious video work or gaming, but should be fine for most people.The SDHC and micro SDHC card slots are a great option, especially for those of us photographers with older Macbook Pros.You’ll no longer need to carry a bunch of different dongles with this hub.
Why it’s here: The Targus Quad 4K Docking Station is top-notch for those who want to connect multiple monitors.It supports up to four monitors via HDMI or DisplayPort at 4K at 60 Hz.
If you’re serious about your monitor setup and want to run multiple monitors at once, this dock is a great option.It has four HDMI 2.0 and four DisplayPort 1.2, both of which support 4K at 60 Hz.This means you can get the most out of your premium monitor while getting plenty of screen real estate.
In addition to the display possibilities, you also get four USB-A options and a USB-C as well as Ethernet.3.5mm audio is also nice if you’re streaming and want to be able to use a microphone.
The downside to all this is that it is very expensive and not travel friendly.If you want to save some money and only use two monitors, there’s also a dual-monitor version that’s a little cheaper.Or, if you travel a lot but still have access to multiple monitors, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Mini is a great alternative.
Why it’s here: The pluggable USB-C 7-in-1 hub offers three fast USB-A 3.0 ports, perfect for plugging in multiple hard drives.
A pluggable USB-C 7-in-1 hub is a great choice for most people, especially those who need to plug in multiple USB-A devices at the same time.You won’t find a travel-friendly hub with more USB-A ports other than larger, more expensive USB-C docks.
In addition to the USB-A port, it has SD and microSD card reader slots and a USB-C port with 87 watts of pass-through charging power.There’s also an HDMI port that supports 4K 30Hz, so you can stream high-quality video without issue.It’s a very small device that can easily fit in a bag and take with you on trips or coffee shop outings.
Why it’s on the list: This hub works with just about any device, has a long 11-inch cable, and is compact enough to use on the go.
This Kensington Portable Dock is more of a hub than a docking station, but it can get work done while you’re on the go.At only 2.13 x 5 x 0.63 inches, it’s small enough to fit in a bag without taking up too much space.It has an 11-inch power cord for good reach when needed, but it also comes with a cable storage clip to keep things organized.
There are only 2 USB-A 3.2 ports, but that should be enough for most travel situations.You also get a USB-C port with 100 watts of pass-through power.It has an HDMI connection that supports 4K and 30 Hz refresh rate and a VGA port for Full HD (1080p at 60 Hz).You also get an Ethernet port if you need to plug in for internet access.
Why it’s here: If you need a lot of ports with plenty of power, the Anker PowerExpand Elite is the way to go.It has eight different types of ports for a total of 13 ports, three of which can be powered.
The Anker PowerExpand Elite Dock is for those who want a serious device hub.It has an HDMI port that supports 4K 60Hz and a Thunderbolt 3 port that supports 5K 60Hz.You can run them for dual monitors at the same time, or even run a USB-C to HDMI dual splitter to add two monitors at 4K 30 Hz, resulting in three monitors.
You get 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, one for connecting to a laptop and providing 85 watts of power, and the other for 15 watts of power.There’s also a 3.5mm AUX port, so if you need to record, you can plug in a headphone or microphone.Unfortunately, there’s no fan, so it gets pretty hot, although putting it on the side helps.The 180-watt power adapter is big, but this dock probably does everything you could possibly need it to do.
Why it’s here: USB-C hubs can be very expensive, but the Yeolibo 9-in-1 hub is very affordable while still having a huge selection of ports.
If you’re not looking for bells and whistles but still want port options, the Yeolibo 9-in-1 hub is a great option.It has a 4K HDMI port at 30 Hz, so latency won’t be an issue.You also get microSD and SD card slots that our photographers can use anytime.The microSD and SD card slots are super fast, up to 2TB and 25MB/s, so you can quickly transfer photos and get on with your life.
There are a total of four USB-A ports on the hub, one of which is the slightly older and slower version 2.0.That means you can plug in many hard drives or dongles for things like a mouse.You also have the option of 85-watt charging via the USB-C PD charging port.For the price, this hub really can’t be beat.
USB-C hubs range from $20 to nearly $500.A more expensive option is a USB-C dock that offers plenty of power and more ports.Cheaper options tend to be slower with fewer ports, but are more travel friendly.
There are many hub options with multiple USB-C ports.These hubs are helpful if you need to expand the number of ports a laptop offers, as many only offer two or three these days (looking at you, Macbooks).
Most USB-C hubs don’t require power from the computer itself.However, the dock does require power and must be plugged into an outlet to use it.
As a Macbook user, USB-C hubs are a fact of life for me.I’ve used it a lot over the years and have learned the basic features to look for.When choosing the best USB-C hubs, I looked at various brands and price points, as some can get quite expensive.Also, I looked at the types of ports available, focusing on the ones most people use on a daily basis.A good location with space between ports is also important, as crowding may prevent them from being really useful.Speed and the ability to charge devices are also factors I consider, since you don’t want your workflow to be slowed down by your hub.In the end, I combined personal experience with various hub and editorial comments in making my final selection.
The best USB-C hub for you will give you the ports you need to connect any device at the same time.The EZQuest USB-C Multimedia Hub comes with a variety of port types and port counts, making it the best all-around option.
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