Innovative solutions to charging woes for USB-C users.
What do you do when you find yourself suddenly with a new machine that has USB-C as its only means of cabled connectivity? Well, you start looking at adapters and hubs that can supplement your needs. There are some premium accessory companies out there that want to charge upwards of $100 for adapters when you really just need a solid connector that works. One company that I’ve come to really like is Kanex. They focus on creating innovative accessory solutions while still developing stunning devices. Today, I’m looking at two of their products — the USB-C Multimedia Charging Adapter and the 4-Port USB Charging Hub with USB-C.
4-Port USB Charging Hub with USB-C
This 4-port USB charging hub is a very useful device especially when you are on the go. It provides you with 4 USB 3.0 ports so that you can connect to your favorite USB devices at one time. I really like the design of this hub. It has two ports on one side and two on the other along with a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port for pass through charging of the laptop. Because I just made the switch over to a USB-C only machine, this is a very welcome addition to my portable connectivity collection. I really like that it has a short, but flexible extension cable that plugs into one of my four USB-C ports. The longer my laptop was charging, the more I perceived warmth on the hub. It wasn’t hot to the touch, but it was definitely warm. I started noticing the heat after my laptop had gained about 10% battery power.
Because the ports at USB 3.0, you can expect to receive approximately 5 Gbps transfer speed (top industry average). I have a PNY Turbo 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive that I like to use for testing products like the Kanex hub. First of all, when I plugged the drive into the hub, it didn’t immediately appear on my desktop. When I opened a Finder window though, it popped right up. I’m not sure if that’s because I have my desktop set for iCloud Drive or not, but I still found it odd. I transferred a file from the flash drive to my MacBook Pro’s desktop that was 5.11GB in size in 48 seconds. When I ejected the drive from the laptop, it disappeared immediately.
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USB-C Multimedia Charging Adapter
The Multimedia charging adapter different a bit from the 4-Port USB hub. For one thing, it doesn’t have 4 USB ports. There is one USB 3.0 port, one HDMI, and one USB-C power port. This adapter is simply made for the connection between your computer and an external monitor. You could connect to any HDMI device, but it’s meant for monitor connection. Again, I like the design of the adapter — one port on each side and a short extension cable — and there is minimal perceived heat detected on the adapter itself. Also like the hub, the Multimedia Adapter allows for a quick connection to my USB flash drive. The HDMI port works flawlessly and I was able to extend my display easily to another monitor. Because Apple computers allow for closed-clamshell mode when you connect to an external monitor, you should be able to use this adapter to complete that connection with HDMI.
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All in all, these two portable devices make it easy to remain portable and productive with my new MacBook Pro. You have to be cautious when investing in connectors that come from third parties, but I’ve come to really like and appreciate the devices from Kanex.