With technology progressing at an alarming rate, thankfully USB is catching up, moving away from the traditional connector that was both limited in terms of speeds and durability to a more robust, high-speed one. This has been named USB-C, the natural progression from A and B, and certainly unlocks a number of possibilities for devices going forward. The downside to the introduction of USB-C however is that your old devices still need to be powered if they’re sporting those older style connectors
Now, along with the introduction of USB-C, a whole host of new USB-C hubs have similarly been released to expand the number of ports that your PC or laptop can take.
If you’re accustomed to Dell products, you won’t be shocked that one of their devices has pipped the rest to make it to the top – the Dell DA300 6-in-1 USB-C Hub. This USB-C hub is stellar for a number of reasons and here’s why.
Right off the bat, you can tell by the name that you’re getting connections galore being a 6-in-1 hub. In fact, you won’t just be impressed with the number of ports, you’ll be wowed by the variety too. You can utilize HDMI, DP, VGA, Ethernet, USB-C, and USB-A, the Dell USB-C Mobile Adapter slots for all compatible devices, which is fantastic and more than most other options offer.
Moving to the design of the actual Dell USB-C hub, it’s certainly different to what you usually see with a disk-like look and feel rather than the go-to ‘bar’ look that most other companies opt for. This makes it nice and compact rather than a long rectangular body that is sometimes cumbersome. Moreover, the wire for connecting to your PC or laptop is conveniently wrapped around the core of the device, hiding it from plain sight and not getting tangled.
The only real problem that we’ve seen is if you’re looking to use the USB-C hub for multiple monitors. Yes, it does have an HDMI and VGA out port but these can’t be used simultaneously, only at separate times. So, if you want to extend your screen with one monitor then it’s perfect but any more and you’ll be struggling.
Usually associated with gaming peripherals and internal PC components, you might be surprised to find that Corsair actually manufactures USB-C hubs too.
You can initially notice that this USB-C hub is a little on the larger side which really is its only unattractive feature. The reason why it’s bigger in nature is because it houses a wide range of different connections as well as Thunderbolt 3 tech.
Focusing on those connections, it boasts 2 x USB-C 3.1, 2 x USB-A 3.1 ports, 2 x HDMI ports, 3.5 mm audio combo jack, gigabit Ethernet port, SD card slot, and that Thunderbolt 3 connection we mentioned earlier. It’s also powered via AC which means it wont be drawing any power from your PC or laptop, especially handy if you’re already pushing that PSU to the max with other heavy-duty internal components.
The Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a stellar bit of kit and more than deserves its place on the best USB-C hub list thanks to the number and variety of connections it can hold. Yes, it’s large but we think the only major drawback we can see is that it is quite costly and for those wanting a more cheap and cheerful option, this certainly isn’t it.
Speaking of cheap and cheerful though, if you’re in the market for a simple but effective USB-C hub that just gets the job done, the Anker 4-Port USB-C to USB 3.0 is exactly what you need.
As alluded to by the name, the Anker details only traditional USB connectivity, which could be seen as a downside to those who want to hook up a bunch of different devices or slot in SD cards, but if you’re only looking to expand your USB connectivity, this is perfect. Again, as the name states, it has 4 ports for you to enjoy
With it simply powering USB devices, this does make it extremely compact and lightweight, a huge plus for those with little room on their desk or for those who are wanting a more portable USB-C hub for those on-the-go laptop moments.
It is limited to USB 3.0 though and doesn’t sport that newer 3.1 tech. While this is a little annoying for those that want the fastest and most up-to-date devices, it’s still great and definitely does what’s required.
If you’re wanting to maximize the value you’re getting from a USB-C hub, the HooToo USB-C Adapter could be the perfect choice. Yes, it’s not a well-known brand, but that shouldn’t put you off as often with these lesser-known manufacturers, there are gems of products to be had.
This is a 6-in-1 USB-C hub that isn’t single-minded allowing 3 USB, 1 HDMI, 1 PD, and 1 SD card all to be connected at the same time, really emphasizing that ‘hub’ nature of the device and dramatically expanding/adding to the ports that your current equipment has.
In terms of design, the HooToo is nice and compact with a short but effective wire to hook up to your machine. Its body is made from aluminum alloy with an ionized finish too which should slot right into most peoples’ aesthetically pleasing setups with little to no issue.
Finally, last but no means least is the Kingston Nucleum USB-C Hub. It looks very similar to that of the HooToo with its silver body, compact nature, and wired connection, but has that Kingston prestige that you’re probably aware of.
Where it does one-up the HooToo is that it offers up an extra port taking that number to seven. These include USB 3.1 Type-C power pass through, USB 3.1 Type-C data transfer port, SD card slot, Micro SD card slot, USB 3.0/3.1 backward compatible with USB 2.0, and 4K HDMI. These should certainly satisfy your expansion needs and will probably more than enough for the average user.
It is a little expensive in comparison to the HooToo but as previously stated, it does come with the Kingston build quality and that extra port which could be enough to justify that extra cost.
While you might be used to the more simplistic USB hubs that offer just USB ports to power your devices, nowadays they are so much more detailing a bunch of different ports and slots. This is especially true with the best USB-C hubs that can have around 5-7 different connections taking HDMI, SD cards, ethernet cables, and more. This is obviously incredibly useful if your PC or laptop is lacking that connectivity and is easily expanded through this method. This does come at a cost though as you would expect. SO, it’s worth carefully considering before jumping in and buying the largest USB-C hub around. Think about what devices you own and what connectors they sport then go from there.
Plain and simple, there are two ways in which you can connect USB-C hubs to your machine - via a wire or directly inserting it. These both offer advantages such as extending the reach of the hub if it’s wired, or having a more compact feel of a direct connection. But, there are disadvantages too, with a wired hub more prone to failure thanks to the cable, and the direct connection being limited in its flexibility. Ultimately, this is something that needs to be considered based on your setup and how you intend to use the USB-C hub. But, as shown in the picks above, there are a bunch of either variant on the market so don’t worry about it being tricky trying to find them.
Overall, the best USB-C hub in our opinion is the Dell DA300 6-in-1 USB-C Hub. Not only is it nice and compact with a retractable wire, the fact if offers you six ports to take advantage of is fantastic. These ports are all different too which is handy for those that have a bunch of different devices that need to be connected and ones you probably won’t typically find on your machine.
If you are looking for a simplistic USB-C hub though, the Anker should be your choice. It expands your USB arsenal exponentially while also being budget in nature.