Laptop stands make it easier to type as well as see what’s on your MacBook display. USB-C hubs make adding peripherals to your laptop a snap. The Ugreen X-Kit is both a display and a hub. Plus, it’s designed to be used on the go.
I tried out this combination stand/hub to see how well it works with Apple gear. Read on to see what I found out.
Ugreen X-Kit review
USB-C is just about the only type of port Apple puts in MacBooks these days are. USB-C hubs extend the capability of a Mac laptop by adding additional types of ports, allowing you to more easily connect to an external monitor, keyboard, storage drives, etc. But these hubs take up room in your desk. Ugreen cleverly builds its six-port hub into a folding stand so it adds no bulk.
The X-Kit elevates an MacBook at various angles. It can hold up your laptop keyboard for easier typing, or bring the screen up to almost level with your eyes. It’s useful with iPads, too.
Hardware and design
The Ugreen X-Kit starts out looking like a small ski. When folded, it measures 10 inches long by 2.2 inches wide. For most of its length, it’s just 0.7 inches thick, but the curved tips are 1 inch thick. The unit weighs in at just 9.9 ounces (0.8 pounds). It fits well in a backpack, briefcase or other fairly large bag.
Setting up the stand starts with sliding the two laptop supports apart. That makes the X-Kit as much as 7.8 inches wide. It’s designed for computers with screen between 11 inches and 17 inches.
Next, lift up the two supports, freeing the braces underneath. Place the braces in any of four holes. That gives you a choice between 15 degrees, 25 degrees, 30 degrees and 33 degrees … a fairly broad range.
At 15 degrees, I found the Ugreen X-Kit well-suited for typing. Or I elevated it all the way to make my laptop into a desktop for use with an external keyboard.
I found the stand to be almost completely stable. There’s no danger of the supports slipping out, and there’s no wobble when typing on it. It only wobbled slightly when I plugged cables into the MacBook.
But don’t lock yourself into the idea that the X-Kit is only for laptops. This stand also works well to hold up an iPad to take notes, draw or paint with a stylus, or even type on the onscreen keyboard.
The product is made of black, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy, which makes it lightweight but relatively robust. When folded up, it strongly resisted my efforts to bend it. It comes with a flannel carrying case that prevents the device from getting scratched, or scratching your other gear.
The built-in USB-C hub is what sets the Ugreen X-Kit apart from other stands. It includes a pair of USB-A ports, two memory card readers and an HDMI port. There’s also a USB-C port to connect the accessory to your computer. All are on the left edge.
The two USB-A ports are for keyboards, mice, external drives, printers … whatever. They support USB 3.0 Gen1, and therefore can exchange data at up to 5 Gbps. I tested them with a mouse and USB drive without problems.
I also hooked my laptop to an external monitor with the HDMI port. Again, I encountered no problems. The X-Kit supports up to 4K video, but only at 30 Hz. That’s fine for most business use, but isn’t ideal for entertainment.
Ugreen’s USB-C hub also includes SD and microSD card readers. They can transfer data at up to 104 MBps, and are ideal for transferring images off external cameras. The readers work separately so you can move files from a microSD card to an SD one, or vice versa.
I put all these ports to the test, individually and together. There were no problems using a mouse to control an external monitor, or transferring files from an SD card to a USB thumb drive. And I played a movie off a thumb drive on an external screen.
The only significant flaw I found in the Ugreen X-Kit is a lack of a second USB-C port for charging. As it is, the hub will have to take up one of your computer’s precious ports. In the case of an iPad, it’ll occupy the only port.
The peripheral comes with an 18-inch cable to connect to your laptop. That’s plenty long enough to connect to ports on either the left or right side of your laptop.
Ugreen X-Kit final thoughts
The Ugreen X-Kit works well as both a stand and a USB-C multiport hub. I’m partial to gadgets that cleverly combine two useful devices into one, and this MacBook accessory fits that description.
The product is available for preorder on Indogogo. While crowd-funding sites like this one make many people nervous, the stand/hub is already shipping to those who bought it earlier in December. Just be aware that orders placed now aren’t expected to ship until February 2021.
The prelaunch price is $59. That’s 40% less than the eventual full cost.
I’m unaware of another laptop stand that doubles as a USB-C hub, so there aren’t any direct comparisons. That said, you’re paying a bit extra for the X-Kit’s convenience.
If you just want a basic, inexpensive USB-C hub, consider the Plugable USB-C Multiport Adapter ($14.95). It has fewer ports, though. Or there’s the Satechi Aluminum USB-C Multiport Pro Adapter ($64.95), which is nearly identical to the Ugreen hub but isn’t a stand.