A sturdy accessory to help you stay connected.
As I upgrade my technology – especially my laptop – I always end up adding accessories. One of the most important ones I’ve included in my list of must-haves is a multi-port hub. There are dozens of these types of devices in the market so how do you know which one to choose? I usually go with a known company that I trust and I also look at the features that the dock might provide. One of my favorite companies for accessories is Plugable. They recently released the USB-C 7-in-1 Multi-Function Hub that has been a nice add-on for my standard laptop kit.
The hub provides users with the ability to enhance their set-up with 7 options for expansion. The hub has 3 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x HDMI port, 1 x SD card slot, 1 x Micro SD card slot, and a USB-C power delivery charging port. The hub connects to a computer using a single USB-C cable and supports up to 4K 30Hz resolutions with an external monitor. The USB 3.0 ports are backwards compatible to USB 2.0 and they support high-speed data transfer up to 5Gbps. The USB-C charging port is compatible with passthrough charging (up to 87W) and can support power adapters up to 100W.
Special Note from plugable.com: “Our hub is not compatible with USB Type-A systems using a USB Type-A to USB Type-C passive adapter as these do not support USB-C DisplayPort alternate mode or USB-C power delivery. Also, it is not compatible with most smartphone devices equipped with a USB-C port.”
|Compatibility||Windows, Mac, Linux systems with USB-C 3.1 Gen 1/Gen 2 support|
|Ports||3 x USB 3.0 ports 1 x 4K HDMI 1 x SD card reader 1 x microSD card slot 1 x USB-C Power Delivery charging port|
|Power Delivery||Up to 87W|
|In the Box||USB-C 7-IN-1 HubQuick Start Guide|
The hub (or dock) ships in a high quality retail box. An image of the product is on the front of the box and a nice name/product description can be found just below it. The back of the box includes some basic details of the product and introduces the main features of the hub. One of the things I really like about hubs like this – aside from their portability – is that they are plug-n-play. They don’t require any special software to operate and they just work. I’ve seen some hubs like this that have an LED indicator light to show the user that it’s connected, but the Plugable hub does not have that.
The build quality of this hub is very good. The cable extension is flexible but doesn’t feel like it will break and the body of the hub is encased with aluminum. It’s very sturdy and built to withstand frequent travel and regular daily use. To be honest, I’ve used these types of hubs for setting up a permanent workstation as well as simply connecting to an external hard drive while I’m working remotely. They are versatile and I recommend anyone with a modern laptop carry one. Plugable’s 7-in-1 hub has a lot to offer espeically since it includes both an SD card reader AND a Micro SD card reader.
When I test hubs like this I usually incorporate some sort of speed test as then comment on how well attached devices performed while being connected through the hub. This time around, I had a slightly more unique testing experience. First of all, I did complete a speed test using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test. I was using a USB 3.0 flash drive in one of the USB-A 3.0 ports. I measured a speed of 62.9 WRITE/153.3 READ while connected to the hub. The flash drive I was using was the SanDisk Dual Drive Luxe which has both a USB-A and USB-C connector on it. So, after completing the speed using the hub, I did it again connecting the USB-C connector of the flash drive directly into the laptop. I got approximately the same speed results.
The second part of this test – device connection – actually involved a large display tablet by XP-Pen. What was interesting about this test is that it used not only a USB-A port, but also the HDMI port for the display to function properly with the laptop. I wasn’t sure how the hub would handle this type of connection, but it was flawless in execution. The hub did get a little warm after extended use, but it proved that it can handle any task you throw at it. One thing I did notice is that the USB-C port is strictly for charging and will not transmit data.
Plugable has proven to be a trusted designer of high-quality accessories. I’ve been using their products for a couple of years now and they have been trustworthy when it comes to performance. I don’t hesitate to recommend Plugable as a brand and since USB-C hubs like this are a dime-a-dozen these days, I would choose the 7-in-1 Multi-Function Hub from Plugable over other brands to ensure my needs were being met.