Thunderbolt hubs add super-fast ports to your Mac, speeding up your workflow. But these hubs also require a really bulky power adapter … usually. The just-announced Sanho HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub is the exception. It’s small enough to travel with.
I tested the Thunderbolt hub in my home office for a couple of weeks to see how it stands up to real-world use.
HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub review
Thunderbolt 4 offers 40Gbps data transfers. That’s the kind of speed professionals need to move around huge files. And while Apple builds Thunderbolt ports into its Macs and some iPads, there’s never enough of them.
That’s where the HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub comes in handy. It adds three of these high-speed ports to your Mac and some iPad models.
I have the multiport dock connected to an iPad Pro, with an Innocn 27-inch 4K Computer Monitor and an OWC MiniStack STX plugged into the hub. And I still have an open port for other accessories, including USB-C ones.
Sanho’s hub stands out by being small enough that you can travel with it. That’s because it doesn’t need an external power adapter. Other Thunderbolt hubs come with hefty power bricks that make that nigh-impossible.
To understand the appeal, consider that the power brick for the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock measures 6.5 inches by 3.1 inches by 1 inch. That’s not something that fits easily into a backpack along with the hub, your computer and other accessories. And power adapters of about this size are typical for Thunderbolt hubs.
But the HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub doesn’t need an external power adapter at all.
- Portable design matches your Mac
- Trio of high-performance ports
- HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub final thoughts
- Prerelease discount
Portable design matches your Mac
Sanho’s multiport dock measures 4.9 inches square and 1.25 inches thick. It weighs 1.4 pounds. The design matches the look of Apple computers, including rounded corners and edges. It would look right at home next to a MacBook or Mac Studio.
You can find smaller USB-C hubs, of course, but without Thunderbolt these offer much slower connections. The new HyperDrive is reasonably portable while also providing blazing-fast connectivity.
It has no need the need for an external power brick because Sanho built one in. The designers used gallium nitride to make it relatively tiny, in the same way GaN can produce small wall adapters.
The HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub draws too much power to run off a MacBook battery – it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet. Sanho includes a 6-foot cable in the box. This plugs into the back of the dock.
Trio of high-performance ports
You will find four Thunderbolt ports across the front of this dock. One is the upstream port you connect to your computer with the 2.6-foot cable supplied by Sanho. The other three are for your accessories.
Thunderbolt 4 connections top out at 40Gbps/5GBps. That’s a theoretical maximum, though. As a real-world test, I brought in an OWC Envoy Pro SX, an external SSD that supports Thunderbolt. I copied a 10.5GB file from my computer to the SSD in nine seconds while using the HyperDrive as a hub. I copied the same file from the external drive to my computer in 29 seconds. These results fall in line with other Thunderbolt accessories I’ve tested.
High speed and maximum flexibility
As someone who regularly moves around big files, I love the high-speed connections that come with Thunderbolt. I was reminded of it this morning when I copied a 2GB file from my computer to a drive in a couple of seconds.
The ports can be used to attach multiple monitors if your computer supports that (which excludes Macs with the basic M1 and M2 processors). And the dock’s ports provide 15W of power to accessories.
As noted, the fourth port in Sanho’s dock connects the HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub to your Mac or other computer. If it’s a MacBook, the dock can provide up to 96W to recharge the notebook’s battery.
In my experience, the hub doesn’t overheat when in use. It gets no more than slightly warm.
Don’t ignore Thunderbolt’s support for daisy-chaining accessories. As noted, I have an OWC MiniStack STX plugged into the HyperDrive, so I have high-speed access to the ports in the MiniStack.
These ports use the USB-C standard, and backward compatibility means they support non-Thunderbolt USB accessories, too. You can even plug in USB-A accessories with an inexpensive adapter.
HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub final thoughts
Apple builds high-speed ports into its desktops and laptops, but you need Thunderbolt accessories to take advantage of them. If you are using a USB-C hub that doesn’t support Thunderbolt, you are missing out on one of the benefits of a Mac. With Sanho’s multiport dock, you get the fastest connections available.
And it’s the most portable option available because no bulky power brink is needed.
The HyperDrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub will retail for $299.99 when it launches in November.
But Sanho created a Kickstarter campaign for the dock. It runs through September 1, 2022. Early bird backers can get the accessory for up to 50% off the regular price.
Some people are skeptical about crowdfunded products, but Sanho is a long-established company. It is very unlikely to disappear with supporters’ money. You do have to wait until November to get the Thunderbolt dock, though.
Sanho provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.