The Satechi Pro Hub Slim plugs directly into the side of a MacBook to greatly expand the range of ports available. It’s sleek enough for Apple’s latest notebooks, and adds minimal bulk. But there’s still room for HDMI, a pair of full-size USB-A ports, memory card readers and more.
I tested each of the features of the 7-in-2 hub to be sure it lives up Satechi’s promises.
Satechi Pro Hub Slim review
Apple stepped back from its relentless drive to eliminate everything but USB-C from MacBook Pro, bringing back HDMI and more. But it hasn’t changed it mind about USB-A ports — these are still verboten. And MacBook Air continues to stick with the absolute minimal number, mostly USB-C.
Of course, you can turn to USB-C hubs to add ports. They’re undoubtedly useful, but they’re essentially a giant dongle that messes up the clean lines of the notebook.
That’s where the Satechi Pro Hub Slim comes in. Because it plugs straight into the side of of the notebook, it’s smaller than a typical hub. And it’s designed to look as though it’s part of the MacBook.
With it, you can easily use an HDMI monitor, USB-A storage drives and other accessories, as well as SD memory cards.
USB-C hub that plugs straight into MacBook
The Satechi Pro Hub Slim has a candybar shape with seven ports on one edge and a pair of USB-C connectors on the other. That slightly usual shape allows it to snuggle up to the side of a MacBook without a cable.
The two connectors are placed to fit into the dual USB-C ports on the left edge of the notebook. Thankfully, Apple has keep the distance between these static for many years so Satechi’s hub is compatible with any MacBook from 2017 or later, including the new 2023 model with M2 Pro and M2 Max processors. Don’t worry: the MagSafe port is left unblocked on newer models.
In my tests, the product stays connected quite well. Because the hub is plugged into two USB-C ports, it’s not wobbly. I don’t recommend walking around town with it inserted, but don’t expect it to fall out in ordinary use either.
Pro Hub Slim doesn’t exactly look like it becomes a part of the MacBook, but close. My test unit is silver, and the product is also available in midnight and space gray to match the color of the MacBook it’ll be attached to, or just your preference.
The hub is very portable, coming in at 4.9 inches by 1.2 in. by 0.3 inches and a mere 1.4 ounces. It’s even pocketable. It’s solidly built too, with an aluminum outer casing.
Seven useful ports
Once the Satechi Pro Hub Slim is inserted into your MacBook, you can start making use of its ports.
There’s a good chance you’re interested in this accessory because it adds two USB-A ports. The transition to USB-C is going slowly so the world is full of USB-A accessories. With this hub, you can plug them into your Mac. I treated it with a mouse and keyboard just the be sure. No problem.
These ports offer data-transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps, which is important for connecting legacy accessories like thumb drives. Just note that these must support USB 3.2 Gen 2 for maximum speed. In my tests, I was able to transfer a 1GB file to or from my computer to a USB drive via this port in about 3 seconds, which is typical. The same file transfer with older/cheaper drives that don’t offer USB 3.2 Gen 2 takes 12 seconds.
The Satechi Pro Hub Slim also has an HDMI port for adding a 4K@60Hz display. I plugged in my 27-inch, 4K screen from Innocn and it looks great.
Drones and other external cameras still use SD and microSD cards, and this USB-C hub includes readers for each type. These support UHS-I for up to 104 MBps transfers. Transfers from card to computer go quickly: in my test, I copied a 1GB file in about 12 seconds. But moving the file onto the card took 5X longer.
Plus, I confirmed both SD card microSD reader are active at the same time so you can use them to easily move files between cards.
There’s also a USB-C port for connecting additional accessories. This offers up to 10Gbps data transfer speeds, but it has some significant limitations. I’ll let Satechi explain: “Does not support pass-through charging or video output.”
I found it handy for USB-C flash drives and that’s it. These can move a 1GB test file in roughly 3 seconds.
While the Pro Hub Slim seems to block both of the MacBook’s USB-C/Thunderbolt ports, it actually uses only one. Built into the accessory is a pass-through port that gives users full access to the other MacBook port, including 40 Gbps data transfer speeds and 100W charging.
Satechi Pro Hub Slim final thoughts
MacBooks are wonderfully slim but don’t include a wide range of ports. There are PC laptops with many more but these are cumbersome things. The Satechi Pro Hub Slim is a compromise: you get a svelte MacBook when you’re on the go, but can add useful ports when you need them.
The USB-C hub looks good and is is well built. And my testing shows that every port does just what it should.
Satechi’s Pro Hub Slim sells for $79.99. It’s still so new that, at the time of this writing, was not yet available through Amazon.
Buy from: Satechi
If you’d like a clip-on USB-C hub with more ports, there’s the Pro Hub Max which adds Ethernet and an audio jack, but it’s bulkier. Or the Pro Hub Mini leaves out the memory card readers but still makes room for Ethernet and an audio jack. Both are thicker than the “Slim.”