Nate SwannerFormer Reporter, TNW
TNW's former West Coast writer in the PNW (Portland, Oregon). Nate loves amplifying developers, and codes in Swift when he's not writing. If TNW's former West Coast writer in the PNW (Portland, Oregon). Nate loves amplifying developers, and codes in Swift when he's not writing. If you need to get in touch, Twitter is your best bet.
On launch, Apple’s new MacBook didn’t have much going for it with regard to accessories. Now that USB-C is more familiar to device manufacturers, we’re getting some really powerful plug-in devices, and Minix’s NEO C is no different.
The hub plugs into a MacBook’s USB-C port and offers a lot of extensibility. There’s an HDMI or VGA port for monitors, ethernet, two USB ports for peripherals as well as SD and micro SD card slots. It also has a USB-C inlet for pass-through charging.
About the size of a credit card — and a half-inch tall — the NEO C won’t take up much room on your desk. It’s also small enough to pack in a bag for travel, though I find it best used at home. It’s made of Aluminum, and matches my Space Grey MacBook’s surface in both color and feel.
Leaving it on my desk, NEO C has turned my MacBook into a fairly nimble desktop computer.
While I wouldn’t dream of plowing through a heavy development session or editing a long video with my MacBook, NEO C may be the missing link for MacBook ubiquity. It satisfies many of those ‘but I can’t do —‘ arguments we have internally with ourselves about the MacBook and USB-C.
It’s not perfect by any means; I’d rather have a Thunderbolt port than an HDMI, and the constantly-protruding cable is a deterrent for packing it in a smaller bag. The cable isn’t supported well at the point it connects to the hub, either, which makes me over-think damaging it.
NEO C also gets warm to the touch during use. Not hot by any means, even when there are several devices using it at once, but still warm. Though it has pass-through charging, it’s about 20-30 percent slower than direct charging.
For travel, I’d suggest other options. Satechi’s hub has been updated to support pass-through charging, and has a profile better suited for sliding into your bag.
But for the desktop, the Minix NEO C can’t be beat. It retails for $89.90 via Amazon, and is available now.
➤ NEO C [Minix]
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