Apples annual Back to School promotion is in full swing, and this year it may be more important than ever. With the Coronavirus still very much an issue in the US, more people are being told to extend their work from home status in definitely and many students will continue “distance learning” for at least part of the coming school year. Because of that, many people will be getting a new Mac laptop or refreshing their current Mac laptop.
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Regardless of the exact model you choose, your Mac laptop will only have USB-C connections, and folks will be asking a common question. How do I connect all of my legacy USB-A peripheral, an external monitor and other items to my new Mac?
The answer is, you can purchase a variety of USB Dongles to meet specific needs, or you can get a single USB hub to meet all your needs, and the folks at AUKEY have a wide range hubs to meet just about any requirement.
AUKEY CB-C62 4-port USB-C Hub
First up is the AUKEY CB-C64 4-in-1 Hub.
This budget friendly hub has 4 USB-A 3.0 ports, allowing you to connect external hard drives, thumb drives and even USB Bluetooth dongles.
The hub measure 3.9in x 1.2in x 0.4in (98mm x 31mm x 10mm. The attached USB-C cable which connects to your Mac measures 9.9in (152mm), not including the USB-C plug. Overall, with the cable fully extended, the tip to tip length is 11.8in (300mm).
Three (3) of the USB-A ports are mounted on the long edge of the hub. Depending on which side of your Mac the USB-C ports are, they will face the front or rear when connected. The fourth port is mounted on the end of the hub, which may require different placement of whatever you connect there.
The small size makes it easy to slip into your laptop sleeve, pocket or purse for easy transport and the multiple USB-A ports ensures you will have plenty of connectivity available.
AUKEY CB-C71 Link PD Pro USB-C Hub
Many people working from home or making large data transfers or needing a more secure connection to their business networks are asked to use Ethernet instead of connecting to a wireless network. If that is your need, check out the AUKEY CB-C71 Link PD Pro USB-C Hub.
All of the hubs we are discussing come with a multi-language User Manual and the standard 24-month AUKEY Warranty Card. The AUKEY CB-C71 Link PD Pro USB-C Hub also includes a fabric storage pouch which even has a slot built on to the front of the pouch to store the USB-C cable.
The AUKEY CB-C71 Link PD Pro USB-C Hub is made of ABS plastic with a Space Gray base and black top panel. It measures just 4.02in x 2.24in x 0.59in (102mm x 57mm x 15mm), and weighing just 2oz (57g). On one end of the hub is the 5.91in (150mm) cable which ends with a USB-C-C plug to connect to your Mac. With the cable fully extended, the overall length is 11in (273mm). It also has a single LED indicator on the top panel which lights when the hub is connected to your Mac.
On one side of the AUKEY CB-C71 Link PD Pro USB-C Hub are two (2) USB 3.0 data ports, one on each edge of the hub. Between them is an SD card slot and a Micro SD card slot. On the other side is a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port and a USB-C Power Deliver port. On the end opposite the USB-C cable is a Gigabit Ethernet jack which accepts a standard RJ-45 connector.
The USB-C Power Delivery port supports input of DC 5V-20V 5A up to 100W and output of DC 5V 900ma Max, and supports pass-through charging to keep your Mac charged while in use.
The USB 2.0 port supports data transfer at 480Mbps and the USB 3.0 ports support up to 5Gbps.
Both the SD and Micro SD card slots can handle cards up to 2TB and data transfer up to 5Gbps.
AUKEY CB-C76 Multiport USB-C Hub
If your needs go beyond just USB-A connectivity but you still want something that’s easy to travel with, consider the AUKEY CB-C76 Multiport USB-C Hub.
Unlike the other hubs we have reviewed to date, this does not have a USB-C cable. Instead, it has two (2) USB-C connectors, integrated into the side of the hub. The two connectors match up with the USB-C ports on the side of your MacBook.
The AUKEY CB-C76 Multiport USB-C Hub is made of aluminum alloy and measures just 4.72in x 1.3in x 0.42in (120mm x 33mm x 11mm and weighs just 1.7oz (48g). The Space Gray finish was a very close match to our 2017 MacBook Pro.
On the side opposite the USB-C connectors are SD and Micro SD card slots, a USB-C data port, 2 USB 3.0 data ports, a Thunderbolt 3 port and an LED power indicator. On the top edge of the hub (the end that faces the rear of your computer when the hub is attached on the left side) is an HDMI port.
The Thunderbolt 3 port will power the hub as well as provide up to 100W Power Delivery for your Mac or up to 15W for a connected device. It also provides data transfer up to 10Gbps with USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices and up to 40Gbps with Thunderbolt devices. It will also support Thunderbolt 3 display resolution up to 5K@60Hz.
The SD and Micro SD card readers have a capacity up to 2TB with data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps.
Obviously, this will only work if you have two USB-C ports on the side of your Mac so some MacBook and MacBook Air models with only one (1) USB-C are not a candidate for this style.
But for those with a compatible Mac, the small size and variety of connections makes this a perfect travel companion.
AUKEY CB-C78 12-in-1 USB-C Hub
If you still need more connectivity, you should check out the AUKEY 12-in-1 USB-C Hub.
This hub packs just about every connection you could need whether at home, in the office or on the go.
The hub is constructed of the same Space Gray aluminum alloy used in the AUKEY CB-C76 Multiport Hub discussed above.
The hub measures 5in x 2.45in x0.65in (127mm x 62mm x 17mm) and weighs 4.03oz (123g). On one end is a 7.87in (200mm) cable with a USB-C plug to connect to your laptop. Tip to tip, the hub and cable measure just over 13in (330mm). The bottom has two (2) rubber strips to prevent movement when on your desk.
Admittedly, this probably isn’t a USB hub to carry around in your pocket but it would certainly fit into even the smallest compartment of a purse, backpack or travel bag.
On one side of the AUKEY 12-in-1 USB-C Hub are two (2) USB 2.0 ports, two (2) USB-A 3.0 ports and one (1) USB-C 3.0 port.
On the other side is a USB-C 2.0/3.0 Power Delivery charging port, two (2) HDMI ports, an SD card slot, a Micro SD card slot and an LED power indicator.
On the far end of the hub (opposite the USB-C cable), is a Gigabit Ethernet port and a VGA port.
The USB Power Delivery input supports DC 20V 5A, up to 100W. The USB 2.0 ports support data transfer speeds up to 480Mbps while the USB 3.0 ports support up to 5Gbps.
The HDMI ports support display resolution of 4K@30Hz and the VGA port supports 1080p@60Hz.
AUKEY USB-C Hubs – Test Results
We tested all of these hubs over the course of several weeks with a variety of devices and found them to all work well. The connections were stable and data transfer worked well.
The hubs that offered Power Delivery worked as expected and charged our 2017 13” MacBook Pro while having several devices connected and even while connected to a large screen TV for output.
The Bottom Line
From a travel perspective, we found the AUKEY CB-C76 Multiport Hub to be the most convenient. The direct connection gives a clean look when connected to your laptop and has sufficient connections to meet most of your needs when on the road.
For home use we liked the AUKEY CB-C71 Link PD Pro USB-C Hub. It has the right combination of ports to meet our personal needs yet is still small enough to make it easy to travel with.
For someone who travels a lot, we think it makes sense to consider having two hubs. The larger hubs with the Ethernet connections would work well in the home or office and keep a Multiport USB-C hub in your travel bag so you always have it with you.
For those who are looking to reduce desktop clutter, don’t forget the AUKEY Wireless Charging Hub (Model #: CB-C70), with its built-in wireless charging pad on top (read our review here).
Check out these and all the fine AUKEY products on the AUKEY web site.
We would like to thank the folks at AUKEY for providing all of these USB-C hubs for our testing and review.
Do you have a favorite style of USB-C hub? Why not join the conversation and leave a comment below?
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