Super stealthy looking portable hub
In 2016 Apple dropped the new MacBook Pro with TouchBar. This MacBook Pro is special as it only has USB-C for device connection. With that release, accessory makers started designing a whole new slew of wonderful adapters and products for this machine. USB-C is the way to go in my opinion and lots of other computer manufacturers have started to incorporate USB-C into their computers as well. Soon, it will be a USB-C world. Even with computers rocking USB-C there will always be accessories that still have the older USB-A connection and SD cards. This is why external hubs are a must. Pioneer has a very stealth-looking multiport adapter that I have been very happy to work with over the past couple of weeks.
The adapter is a heavy-hitter with the USB-C direct connection to a laptop. It features two (2) USB 3.0 ports, one (1) SD card slot, one (1) HDMI port, and one (1) USB-C input port. This last USB-C port is meant for connection to a power brick as the adapter supports power delivery (up to 29W). The multiport adapter is bus powered and does not require an external power supply in order to access any devices/card connected to it. The adapter is compatible with USB-C computers and Thunderbolt 3 computers with macOS 10.10 or later and Windows 8.1 or later. It’s very compact measuring only 109 x 46 x 13 mm and weighing in at 53 grams. At first glance, it’s a very sleek USB-C hub that will add a lot of functionality to your portable set-up.
The multiport adapter comes in a white and red box with an outline drawing of the device on the front. The front and sides call out the name of the product and the back has some basic details complete with a small diagram of how devices might be connected. When you open it you will find the hub inside a plastic and there is also a small instructions pamphlet beside the plastic housing. The instructions are written in both English and Chinese.
The APS-DKMT02 Multiport Adapter has a very slick look to it and it’s also built very well. When you hold it and press around the body of the hub you don’t feel any give thus making it a hub I would feel that would hold up very well over time. The adapter is plug-n-play with no outside software needed for basic functions. The instruction pamphlet is simple and printed on basic white paper.
It’s startup instructions state that you should connect the hub to the host computer and then connect devices. Even though the instructions are bilingual, they are mixed up together. For me, it would be easier to read if the two languages were separated. I also feel that the English version of the instructions are a little incorrect. For example, one line of the Precautions reads — “Ensure that your host USB Type-C port support USB Power Delivery.” The phrase should read — Ensure that your host USB Type-C port supports USB Power Delivery.
Since this is a ‘multiport’ adapter, there are multiple things I will be testing out — power delivery ability, USB 3.0 speed, and SD card speed. First, we will look at Power Delivery. It’s important to note here that the specs state that this hub should only support up to 29W for power delivery. This is enough to charge MacBooks, but not MacBook Pros. The 13-inch MacBook Pro requires 61W and the 15-inch needs 87W of power to charge. So, when I mentioned above that the USB-C Hub is not lacking in functionality, I should have rephrased that due to the fact it shouldn’t be able to charge those laptops. If you will notice, I said shouldn’t be able to, which means that it actually does. I tested the power delivery option using a 13-inch MacBook Pro and using the Apple power adapter and USB-C charging cable as the power delivery method, the laptop gained a charge. In fact, after 10 minutes charging through the USB-C hub, the MacBook Pro had gained 6% battery life. This was a very welcome surprise. I did try to measure the power delivery with a USB Digital Tester, but for some reason, it would register the power delivery transfer. I’m also happy to say that the hub remained cool even while charging the laptop.
The next step was to test connection of the USB 3.0 ports. I did this by plugging in a USB 3.0 flash drive from PNY. It took about 4 seconds for the drive to mount to my desktop. I copied a file that was 2.35GB in size to the drive and it completed the transfer in 33.7 seconds. The last test I ran was a speed test using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test (I will be using the same software for the SD Card, too). The result I got was 52.5MB/s write/128.8MB/s read. The flash drive remained cool to the touch even after all the tests I ran on it. The warmest temperature reading I got was 85ºF.
Finally, I tested out how well an SD card works with this multiport adapter. I had a SanDisk 8GB SDHC card handy so I plugged it in. The card mounted in less than 3 seconds, but it took a longer time to copy the 2.36GB file over to the card. The file eventually finished transferring after 4 minutes 22 seconds. The disk speed test showed that the card was only getting 9MB/s write and 38.4MB/s read speeds. I am willing to consider that could be because I was using a class 6 SD card, but it was rated with a 30MB/s read/write speed so I’m not entirely surprised by these results. The adapter was still cool to the touch, but its temperature had increased slightly. On the bottom of the device, I captured a 96º reading. But, this was after I had been using it for a while to charge a MacBook Pro and running various tests on both the USB flash drive and the SD card.
Overall, this Pioneer USB-C Multiport Adapter is a viable choice for mobile connectivity. I work remotely a lot and need to have the option for multiple types of connections. This lightweight, powerful connection tool makes it possible to connect without a lot of hassle. One of the things I was most surprised about during testing was the lack of heat transfer. I have another USB-C hub that heats up quite a bit the longer you use it. It does have an aluminum casing though and this one from Pioneer is plastic. That in itself may make the difference because the plastic could be more breathable. This hub looks great and has a classy design to it. I wish that included a CF card reader and a Micro SD card slot, but other than that, it is suitable for most mobile connection needs.
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