Dongles for the USB-C port on the MacBook are easy to come by, but there aren’t a lot of really good hubs. Satechi’s latest, which cleanly match the style and color of the latest MacBooks, may be the best option.
It’s a small, sleek aluminum array of ports packing three USB 3.0 inlets, a MicroSD card slot and an SD card port. A pinhole up top lights up blue when it’s plugged in, and Satechi’s branding is hidden on the underbelly.
The hub doesn’t draw power from your MacBook; it’s simply a pass-through for peripherals. If you wanted to, you could leave it plugged in all the time.
You could use the hub to power an iPhone or iPad from your MacBook — or transfer photos — but it doesn’t allow for pass-through charging of the MacBook (even if you had a USB to USB-C cable). You also can’t use both SD card slots at the same time.
Thunderbolt and ethernet ports are also missing.
Reading and writing to an external drive was just as fast (or slow) as a MacBook Pro. Using a simple micro USB cable linked to a Samsung SSD, the speeds were identical.
Slipping USB cables in and out of the ports did give me a bit of pause, though. Its form factor isn’t the sturdiest, so be gentle when you’re removing drives. Like your MacBook, Satechi’s hub is gorgeous, but a bit delicate.
For many users, this USB-C hub will be just fine. It gives you most of what you may be missing from a MacBook Pro, and is light and durable enough for travel. I’m not crazy about the fact there’s no passthrough charging, or that the USB-C end doesn’t have a protective shield, but those aren’t deal breakers. The tradeoffs are far outweighed by three USB ports and two SD card slots; more than adequate, even if I do need extra dongles.
You can find the Satechi USB-C hub on Amazon for $34.99.
Published November 13, 2015 — 23:37 UTC