Laptop manufacturers continue to cut down the dimensions of notebooks to make them appear more sleek to look at, less heavy to hold, and more efficient overall. There are a few drawbacks that include the reduction of available ports. You'll sometimes struggle to locate full-size USB Type-A ports, which is where something like the StarTech 4-port USB-C hub (opens in new tab) comes in.
This USB-C hub only requires a spare Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 port. Because it's bus-powered (it draws power directly from your computer), there's no need for an external AC adapter, making it ideal for travelers and for those who use their notebooks primarily away from home and office. As the name implies, up to four devices can be connected to the hub, allowing for a mouse, keyboard, and USB drive setup.
What sets this hub apart from others is the inclusion of switches for each port, which allows you to toggle the data and power flow to that connected device. It may sound like a strange feature to have, why not just pull out the cable every time you wish to turn off a hard drive or other accessories? Because each time you insert or remove a USB cable, you cause wear.
These switches will save unnecessary strain and wear on the ports of the hub, and the cables you connect to it. It won't reduce it by much, but if you unplug something daily, this could prevent against damage to that cable or device. It also makes it easier to manage what's being powered at any given moment without messing around with cable management.
As an added bonus, StarTech throws in a two-year warranty, just in case something goes horribly wrong. One thing to bear in mind is the lack of an AC adapter, meaning high-power USB devices will not be compatible due to this hub only drawing power from the notebook.
Who should buy this USB-C hub
Should you be the owner of a notebook with only USB-C ports, be it Thunderbolt or not, you can make full use of this hub to allow the connection of devices that rely on USB-A. It's compact enough to be packed away whilst traveling and has some handy features like the individual port switches.
Don't fret if you have hardware that has a USB 3.1 generation 2 port as this hub will work just fine at reduced speeds. Overall, StarTech has packed just the right amount of tech into this hub without making it look and feel bloated, overpriced or overkill for what you need a small, compact USB hub for.
The hub can be purchased for around $35 and is well worth the price should you need a few more USB-A ports at hand.
Expand your ports and horizons.
This USB-C hub from StarTech has everything you need to hook up more devices to your restricted notebook. Utilizing the speeds of USB 3.1, it's possible to activate individual ports thanks to the inclusion of switches.
Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
There really is a quality difference between hubs like this. Tks for the review.
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