Connect 4 USB-C accessories to your Mac with Satechi’s handy new hub [Review]

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Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub review
With the Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub, you can add USB-C ports to your computer quickly and easily.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub adds a quartet of useful USB-C ports to your Mac or iPad. The days of struggling along with too few ports are over — you can finally connect as many accessories to your computer as you need.

I put Satechi’s new hub through some real-world testing. Here’s how well it works.

Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub review

Back when USB-A was the default Mac connector, I kept a simple, multiport hub for attaching peripherals. But I’ve been frustrated since the change to USB-C that I couldn’t get a simple hub with an array of USB-C ports. There are great multiport adapters with USB-A, HDMI, etc. ports but these weren’t what I was looking for.

But the Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub adds the extra ports I need to connect my USB-C accessories. With it, I can plug in multiple drives while charging my iPhone and Apple Watch.

The hub is welcome because Apple treats USB-C ports like rare jewels. I’m an iPad Pro user so have to get by with a single one. The same is true for the iPad Air. The MacBook Air, Mac mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro have just a pair. But the 15-inch MacBook Pro includes a reasonable number: four. And the iMac can be configured with that many.

Hardware and design

The Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub is surprisingly elegant looking. Perhaps that’s because USB-C ports are small so mostly what shows is the aluminum casing. The accessory offers rounded corners and gently curving front and back plates. Two of the sides are black, as is the connecting cable. The look fits will with a MacBook, iMac mini or iPad.

The main unit is 2.4 inches square and 0.3 inches thick. It weighs a featherlight 0.1 pounds. The hub is eminently portable.

There are two USB-C ports on either side. These are 0.47 inches apart, which I found more than enough spacing for all my cables.

Plug Satechi’s hub into your computer with the integrated 8.5-inch cable that has a USB-C connector on the end. That’s easily long enough to use the accessory with an iPad Pro in the Apple Magic Keyboard.

A tiny blue LED lights to indicate the hub is connected and getting power.

The whole device is well built and the cable feels like it’ll stand up to plenty of use. I wouldn’t hesitate to carry it around in a bag, though it’ll probably get scratched up if unprotected.

Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub makes adding ports a snap.
There’s a pair of USB-C ports on either side of this slim UB-C hub,
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub performance

The biggest downside of this accessory is that it can not be used to charge your computer. Initially I found this infuriating. But then I considered that I wanted a replacement for the USB-A hubs of old and those couldn’t be used to charge my laptop either. So while not ideal it’s not a deal breaker.

And the USB-C ports do not support video output either. This isn’t surprising — it’s a bandwidth limitation. A monitor would be all that the USB-C port in your computer could handle, leaving little or no bandwidth for the other three ports in the hub.

Within these limits, the Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub is very useful. It offers data transfers at up to 5 Gbps, which means it supports USB 3.2 Gen 1. That’s not the fastest but my tests showed it doesn’t seriously slow down real-world file transfers.

Copying a 1 GB file to or from my computer to a Samsung T7 SSD takes 5 seconds whether I have the SSD connected through the hub or not. And copying between two drives connected to the hub is just as speedy. I moved the 1 GB file from the T7 to an OWC Envoy FX in about 5 seconds. These are slower transfers than you’ll get through Thunderbolt 3, but Satechi’s hub is considerably small and cheaper that a Thunderbolt hub.

Done‘t think you have to give up on your old accessories. With a USB-A adapter, I successfully used a mouse and a thumbdrive. Other adapters let me plug in headphones and an SD card.

Several times I had all four ports going at once. It was not a problem.

Charging other devices

And just because you can’t charge your computer through 4-Port USB-C Hub doesn’t mean it can’t juice up other devices. It works just fine with the Satechi USB-C Magnetic Charging Dock for Apple Watch.

And it had no problems replenishing my iPhone 12 via a USB-C cable. The handset got a 26% charge in half an hour.

Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub final thoughts

Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub makes a great iPad peripheral.
The Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub works just as well with an iPad Pro/Air as it does with a Mac.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

You can never be too thin, too rich or have too many USB-C ports. Satechi’s hub adds a quartet of them to your Mac or iPad. These are great for connecting a range of accessories, and let you make your MacBook Air or iPad Pro/Air into the center of a powerful setup.

But there are limitations: the hub can’t be used to charge your computer, though power flows the other way. And you can’t connect an external monitor to the hub.

Pricing

The 4-Port USB-C Hub is $39.99 on Satechi’s website. I think that’s a deal.

As I mentioned before, if you want a hub with USB-C ports that can handle video you’ll need to go with one that has Thunderbolt. Let me suggest the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. It offers features Satechi’s hub can‘t dream of. But it costs $269 and isn’t portable.

Or you can get a USB-C hub with USB-A and HDMI ports, SD card reader, etc. These are very useful for working with multiple legacy accessories. The Satechi Aluminum USB-C Multiport Pro Adapter ($64.95) is one that Apple likes, but there are a great many on the market.

Satechi provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.