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Best USB-C hub 2022 – CNET

Best USB-C hub 2022 – CNET

Best USB-C hub 2022 - CNET

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USB-C has greatly simplified the way we connect everything to a computer. A monitor, keyboard, Mouse, Ethernet, external storage, microSD and SD cards, etc. can all be connected via a USB-C port. Of course, connecting all of these things at once through a USB-C port requires a little help from a USB-C hub or a docking station with multiple ports. There’s plenty to choose from, and this list features the best USB-C hubs we’ve tested.

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For those who want a complete travel dock, the best USB-C hub is the EZQuest USB-C 8-Port Media Hub. There are cheaper options, but the EZQuest combines a great assortment of ports, durability for travel, and reliability over months of testing. It even has labels on the top to connect your devices even faster. EZQuest makes several other USB-C hubs, including a 13-in-one model also on this list. However, if a more robust docking station with Thunderbolt support is needed, the best we’ve tested so far is the Accell Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station thanks to an attractive low-profile design and a well-rounded assortment of ports, and it doesn’t get hot when fully utilized.

Narrowing down your options and finding the best USB-C hub comes down to knowing how much you need it, what data transfer speed you want, and exactly what connections you need. Here are some of our favorite USB-C docking stations we’ve tested. We’ll keep updating this list as we find new USB hubs and docking stations to recommend. And if you are looking to charge your USB-C devices, here are the best options according to our tests.

Read more: Best USB-C PD Chargers of 2022

Best USB-C Hubs

Josh Goldman/CNET

This USB-C hub has all the essentials most would need for use in the office or at home at a reasonable price, especially if your laptop is limited to only USB-C ports. There are three USB-A ports, including one with power, microSD and SD card slots, and an HDMI output that supports resolutions up to 4K at 30Hz. At the end is a Gigabit Ethernet connection with an activity LED (something other hubs of this size usually leave off). But what sets it apart from others at this size are the handy labels printed on the anodized aluminum case.

There’s a 100-watt USB-C passthrough for power, with 15 watts used to power the hub. The hub is lightweight, which makes it ideal for travel, but also means that any cords you plug into it could drag it around your desk – a common problem with hubs this size. But if you’re looking for a single hub to cover everything from an external display and wired web access to charging your phone, this has you covered.

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Josh Goldman/CNET

We’ve used many Monoprice devices over the years and they’ve consistently delivered more for the money. This slim six-in-one travel dock is no different, giving you just enough to connect your laptop to peripherals and a monitor at up to 4K@60Hz. Plus, if you need an Ethernet port, there’s a seven-in-one model for $10 more.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Accell’s slim and low-profile Thunderbolt 4 docking station is one of the most compact we’ve tested without sacrificing performance or ports. There are two Intel-certified Thunderbolt 4 ports on the back along with a DisplayPort 1.4 connector which, combined, can drive two 4K UHD monitors at 60Hz or a single 8K display at 30Hz. Another USB-C Thunderbolt 4 port front connects to your PC or Mac. The port is offset all the way to the right so the cable doesn’t block other ports and makes it easier to keep the cable out of the way.

Three USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, one USB 2.0 Type-A port, an SD 4.0 UHS-II card reader, a 3.5mm audio combo jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet port round out the connection options. And even with the dock fully charged, it stayed relatively cool compared to others we tested.

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Josh Goldman/CNET

Most people, including me, use the hub and dock interchangeably, but they’re different devices. A hub adds more ports to a computer to connect more peripherals. The Element Hub, for example, turns one Thunderbolt 4 port on your laptop into three Thunderbolt 4 ports so you can connect additional displays, high-speed storage, and peripherals. It also gives you four USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports with data speeds of up to 10Gbps for adding USB-A peripherals. And the hub can be daisy-chained to another Thunderbolt 4 dock or hub for even more connections.

The included power adapter (it’s actually larger than the hub itself) can deliver up to 60 watts of charging power to connected devices. That’s not enough for more power-hungry laptops, but fine for a Chromebook and smaller laptops like a Dell XPS 13 or Apple MacBook Air. You can also disconnect it from your computer and just use it to power your phone, tablet, and other devices.

Another nice touch: CalDigit has made the design reversible so you can flip it on your desk to have the ports you want facing forward.

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Josh Goldman/CNET

Ugreen’s small tower of ports uses a DisplayLink chipset to drive three displays at up to 4K at 60Hz through its DisplayPort and dual HDMI outputs with Windows or macOS systems. Windows users can choose to run one screen at up to 8K at 30Hz plus two at 4K at 60Hz.

DisplayLink software is required to properly drive displays. There’s also no included power supply, just a USB-C cable. If you use it with a laptop with a USB-C power adapter, you can use it to power the docking station. It supports up to 100 watts of power allowing you to charge your laptop as well as power the docking station.

It also handles more than displays, with one 10Gbps USB-A and two 5Gbps USB-A ports, one 10Gbps USB-C port, a combo headphone jack, Gigabit Ethernet, and slots for SD and microSD cards. The minimal footprint keeps your desk tidy, and it’s light enough to travel with if you need to (but there are better options for that on this list).

Josh Goldman/CNET

The PowerExpand Elite is both a USB-C docking station and a charging station. On the back are 85 and 15 watt Thunderbolt 3 ports and on the front is an 18 watt USB-C power port. A Thunderbolt 3 port supports display up to 5K resolution at 60Hz while its HDMI 2.0 port can support display up to 4K resolution at 60Hz. Or you can run a dual USB-C splitter to HDMI and connect two 4K displays at 30Hz so you can run up to three monitors between the HDMI port and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

You’ll also get four USB-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, and a MicroSD and SD card reader. A 3.5mm combo jack handles audio input and output.

However, to provide enough juice to run it all, the PowerExpand Elite has a large 180-watt AC adapter. Plus, the fanless design means the body is a big heat sink, so it can get hot when fully charged. You can place it vertically to keep it cool.

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Josh Goldman/CNET

Most small USB-C hubs have short attached cables. It’s fine if your laptop is on a desk and not on a laptop stand and this desk has plenty of space right next to your laptop’s USB-C port. For those who could use an extra cable reach, the Lention C37 is ideal.

The USB device is still compact and lightweight but has a 1 meter (3.3 ft) cable. It has two USB-C ports with 60-watt power delivery, two USB-A ports, microSD and SD card slots, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. At the end is an HDMI output that supports 4K at 30Hz or resolutions below 60Hz. It’s also a great option for desktop computers that are kept on the floor.

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Josh Goldman/CNET

The Ultimate Plus shows off what’s possible with a single USB-C port. Along with four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, there are microSD and SD card slots, a 3.5mm combo headphone jack, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. But the main reason to choose this model is its support for three screens.

There are two full-size HDMI outputs joined by an old-school VGA output. The VGA can only handle output at 1080p, but one HDMI can output at resolutions up to 4K at 60Hz while the other can output at up to 4K at 30Hz. That’s a lot for a compact docking station and a single connection to your laptop or desktop.

In our tests, it delivered on its promise to handle all of its connections at once. The ports might not offer the fastest speeds of other docking stations (USB-A ports hit 5Gbps for example), but if three monitors and lots of additional connections on your desk are what matter, this is the docking station for you.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

This additional docking station slides just above the stand of a 24-inch iMac. It includes USB-A and USB-C ports, as well as slots for microSD and SD cards and even an internal slot for an M.2 storage drive. The 11-inch-wide dock also has the exact footprint of the iMac’s color-matched keyboard, so it can sit on top of the dock/stand combo when not in use. not used. At $150, it’s a bit pricey and there are no HDMI or DisplayPort outputs. But if you’re looking for a neat solution to add extra ports to an iMac, this is a good one.

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Is a USB-C port the same as a USB port?

The best known USB port is USB Type-A. Sometimes called a standard or standard USB port, it’s rectangular and directional, requiring you to properly align the tabs inside the connectors. The new USB-C port is a small oval that uses a reversible connector so you don’t have to flip it around to get the correct position.

Are all USB-C ports the same?

Although USB-C ports may look the same from device to device, they are not. Even USB-C ports on the same laptop can have different capacities. For example, Thunderbolt 3 or 4 devices will only be fully supported by a computer with the corresponding USB-C Thunderbolt port. Unfortunately, you can’t just look at the port and know exactly what you have. Check with your computer manufacturer to see what your laptop (or desktop) model supports before purchasing a USB-C docking station or adapter.

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