Despite the fact that there are four USB-C ports built into contemporary MacBook Pro models, there always seems to be a need for One. More. Port. That port may be a HDMI port or a USB-A port, but there always seems to be a time where you need a port other than USB-C. The answer, of course, is you start pulling various dongles out of your bag to make the connection you need at the time. That works but that can also be time consuming if you don’t remember where you put that particular dongle – one of may you may have perhaps – the last time you used it. That’s where the Satechi USB-C Pro Hub comes in and may be the single “dongle” you need.
The USB-C Pro Hub connects to the side of your MacBook Pro through both of the USB-C ports and provides you those two USB-C ports as well as two USB-A ports, a SD Card Reader, a MicroSD Card reader and a HDMI port. All in one slim, color-matched-to-your-MacBook package. It is one of the very few accessories out there that I truly believe ever MacBook Pro users should have, especially for those of you who, like me, dock their MBP for daily use.
Measuring 4.5″ x 1.1″ x 0.4″ and weighing a mere 1.4 ounces, the Pro Hub looks and feels like a natural extension of your MacBook Pro’s chassis. It is compatible with the MacBook Pro (2020/2019/2018/2017/2016) as well as the MacBook Air (2020/2018). It is offered in three colors to match your laptop: Space Grey, Silver, or Gold. The hub will work on either side of your MacBook Pro. If you put it on the left side, it will have a clean look and finish to it where as on the right, you will see the branding and FCC labeling. What this means is, no matter how you have your MacBook Pro docked, you can use this hub. I, for example, have my laptop in a Twelve South BookArc to the right of me as I sit at my desk so I can access the left side ports easily. However, accessing the right side ports are difficult because I don’t have a huge desk but do have a huge 28″ Samsung display. Anyway, my point is that it’ll work no matter how you happen to have your desk laid out or your MacBook Pro or Air docked.
To plug in the USB-C Pro Hub, just plug the two USB-C ports on the side of your MacBook. A white LED will light up, letting you know that the hub is powered and ready to go. The first USB-C port just above this LED is a USB-C PD port, meaning that it supports both data transfer (up to 40Gb/s) as well as pass through charging of your MacBook. With this port you can also connect a USB-to-HDMI cable for up to 5K video output. Next are the two USB-A ports. Each of these ports support up to 5Gb/s transfer rates. They also have enough output to support an external drive or charging of your iPhone but not enough to charge your iPad. Finally, the last USB port is another USB-C port. This port only supports data transfer (again, up to 40Gb/s).
The last two ports on the side of the hub are the SD Card Reader and MicroSD Card Reader. The reader is a combo reader meaning that you can either have it read a SD Card or a MicroSD Card, but not both at once.
That just leaves the HDMI port which is located on the side short side of the hub itself. It is a full sized HDMI port so no worry about having to have a special cable. Just plug it in and you get up to 4K resolution. You can use the hub to support two monitors utilizing the first USB-C port and the HDMI port at the same time.
When it comes to performance, I have been more than pleased with this hub. To be transparent, I rarely use the SD Card reader but I utilize the USB-A ports as well as the USB-C ports on a near daily basis. I’ve never had any issues with transfer speeds from either USB-A flash drives or a USB-C external drive. Plus, and this is important in my view, it doesn’t look like an eyesore. The hub looks like it belongs with my MacBook Pro and frankly, I’m surprised Apple didn’t come up with this themselves. Whatever, I’m glad that Satechi did and made a beautiful, well design and well constructed hub.
Finally, let me put a bit of color on this for your consideration as you read this review. I purchased this hub just prior to going on sabbatical here at AverageAppleGuy.com. In that 18 month time, outside of a few months were a Microsoft Surface was my primary computing device, I’ve used this hud nearly daily. It makes my life easy because I can literally unplug it from my MacBook Pro to go remote and when I get back home (who are we kidding? This year it has been working between my office and my back deck thanks to COVID-19), I plug one thing in and I’m back at my desk.
The Satechi USB-C Pro Hub is priced at $99.99 and available either on their site or through their Amazon storefront (by direct as they will make a little more money).