Great expansion option for the Mac Mini.
Twenty-one years. That’s the amount of time that I’ve been using a laptop as my daily-driver computer for both personal and business activities. In 2001 I decided I was on the move too much to be pinned down to a desktop even though I needed the extra storage space and power that a desktop could provide back then. I always ended up finding ways to make laptop life work for all those years. When Apple began the transition to Intel chips back in 2006, I had been doing the laptop thing so long that when I bought an iMac it was basically my home media machine – my always-on home server. My laptop was still my go-to computer and over the years, they have become just as powerful as – if not more powerful than – desktop computers.
After a year of homebound work due to the pandemic, I decided it was time for an upgrade and I opted for a Mac Mini instead of a MacBook Pro. The main reasoning for this was the power of the new Apple M1 chip. Since my work habits have changed and I am working from home 100% of the time, I found myself going without a laptop. Even though the MacMini is a wonderful computer, I still found it lacking in one area – ports. Fortunately, Satechi had a fantastic solution for connectivity with the Mac Mini – the Type-C Aluminum Stand & Hub for the Mac Mini.
The Satechi Type-C Stand and Hub is designed to work with the Mac Mini to transform it into a powerful workstation. The hub is equipped with a USB-C data port, three USB-A data ports, a Micro SD card reader, a standard SD card reader, and a 3.5mm headphone jack port. There are built-in air vents that help regulate temperature and promote airflow for the MacMini. The dock is supposed to feel like a natural extension of the Mac Mini and is available in two colors – space gray and silver. It has an elegant aluminum finish and it blends together with the Mac Mini as if it were supposed to be one cohesive unit.
This hub is designed for Mac Minis that are from the model year 2018 or later and while there might be slight color variations due to manufacturing processes, the dock is well-matched to the Mac Mini’s colors. The USB-A ports are not designed to support CD readers or charge iPads. The dock measures 7.75 x 7.75 x 0.69 inches and it weighs 0.66 lbs. The USB-C data port can reach data transfer speeds up to 5 Gbps, but it does not support video or charging. The three USB-A ports also transfer data at a rate of 5 Gbps and the Micro/SD card readers transfer at a rate up to 104 MBps. The dock also comes with a 1-year warranty from Satechi.
One of the things I really like about Satechi is that they have solid packaging. There is a nice photo of the product on the front and lots of details about the product printed on the exterior of the box. The box is a good package for retail shelves since it does a good job of describing and showing off the product.
Even though Satechi refers to this as a stand & hub, I feel as though this device is more like a docking station than a traditional hub. One of the only downsides I’ve found with my Mac Mini is its lack of ports. It only has two USB-A ports and two Thunderbolt ports. Because of this, I find the Satechi docking station to be a lifesaver.
Setting up the dock is very easy. It is bus-powered and plugs into the Mac Mini using a USB-C cable. This cable is built-in on the dock and it is designed to curve up to the Mac Mini. I love this well-thought-out cable management.
I really wanted the Satechi hub so that I had easily accessible ports from the front of the machine. I have another Thunderbolt dock connected to my Mac Mini, but it’s more for permanently installed peripherals (i.e. my monitor, LaCie storage array, etc.). Having the ports accessible from the front of the dock has really been amazing. It’s increased my productivity quite a bit because the front-facing ports are a big time-saver.
I did perform some real-world testing and ran each type of port through Blackmagic Disk Speed Test to check the validity of the specs provided by Satechi. The table below outlines the results. You will see that there is a column for the provided spec and actual results. I included this so readers of this review could see the direct comparison.
|USB-C||Up to 5 Gbps||SanDisk 1TB Ultra Dual Drive Luxe||Read: 66.1 MB/s|
Write: 156.7 MB/s
|USB-A||Up to 5 Gbps||SanDisk 1TB Ultra Dual Drive Luxe||Read: 65.8 MB/s|
Write: 152.9 MB/s
|SD Card Reader||Up to 104 MBps||SanDisk Extreme Plus 32GB 90 MB/s SDHC||Read: 53.0 MB/s|
Write: 91.0 MB/s
|Micro SD Card Reader||Up to 104 MBps||Transcend 16GB MicroSDHC Class 10||Read: 10.5 MB/s|
Write: 89.8 MB/s
I’ve loved Satechi gear for a long time and this hub is no exception. It’s got a sleek design and it fits really well with its intended partner – the Mac Mini. I think it’s a really great value for its price and I would recommend it to any Mac Mini owner who needs additional ports and functionality from their workstation.