Have you heard the news? USB Type-C is the future that is here right now. More and more laptops, tablets, and phones are shipping with the ultra-powerful port and the Microsoft Lumia 950, and Lumia 950 XL are on that list.
Recently I sought to find the most powerful USB Type-C hub for Windows 10 Mobile. My investigation lead me to the MINIX NEO C. At $89 it is not cheap but is the only hub you will ever need for your phone. Bonus? Connect it up to your Dell XPS 13, Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro S, or Huawei MateBook for even more features.
Ports. Lots of 'em
In my quest to find the perfect hub for my Lumia 950 I was looking for one that would allow me to do Continuum and more.
Specifically, starting with the latest Redstone releases for Windows 10 Mobile these phones can now handle full Ethernet connections via a USB Type-C adapter. That is not news and in fact, I demonstrated that feat a few weeks ago testing various hubs.
So let's cut to the chase and I'll list the ports in this little beast.
Minix NEO C Hub
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- USB 3.0 x2
- USB Type-C for charging
- Full HDMI output (up to 4K supported)
- SD card reader
- TF (micro SD) card reader
That beats the Microsoft Display Dock handily since you are also getting an Ethernet port, USB 3.0 ports (instead of 2.0), and SD and TF card slots all for $10 less than the $99 price point from Microsoft.
With those features all in one hub you can connect it up to a Lumia 950 or Lumia 950 XL and:
- Use Continuum on any display or TV with an HDMI input
- Get 100+Mbps downloads over fiber optic Ethernet (if available)
- Connect an external USB3.0 drive
- Charge your phone
- Add a wireless mouse and keyboard (USB dongle)
- Edit photos or use music on an SD/TF card
...all at the same time. At that point, the only thing holding back your full PC experience is the phone itself.
The build quality is also superb as the Minix NEO C is made of a light alloy/metal. It's not nearly as heavy as a Microsoft Display Dock, but the quality is approaching it.
The bottom line
Even for small tasks, the Minix NEO C is perfect. Did Microsoft just release a new Insider or cumulative OS update for your phone? Plug it into your Ethernet at home and enjoy blazingly fast downloads. I'm not kidding either about the speeds, as you can see my test results using the nPerf app or from my Continuum screenshot below:
It hit 108 Mbps. Not bad for a phone*.
*Note: To use this particular Ethernet port you need at least Windows 10 Mobile build 14364.
I also use the Minix frequently for transferring files to my phone. Nothing beats the speed of a USB thumb drive to add music, copy over some photos, add some documents, etc.
With the full HDMI port and USB Type-C extra port you can use your phone in full Continuum mode while charging it at the same time.
Perhaps my only complaint, if I had to make one, is the main USB Type-C connector is part of the device. I would have preferred a spare port here instead so that I could use my own USB Type-C cable to add some distance between the phone and the hub. With the cable attached, it's a little less pocketable, and your phone will only have a few inches of breathing room between it and the cadre of wires and USB drives. That is not a deal killer, but something to consider.
Overall, the Minix NEO C is likely the best accessory you could invest in, especially going forward. Don't forget you can just plug this into newer laptops and tablets and also get the same experiences there as well making this a highly versatile add-on to your mobile arsenal.
Did you find a USB Type-C hub that can match or even best the features here at this price point? Let me know in comments and I'll take a look at it next time!
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.