The days of I/O drought on the MacBook Pro have finally have come to an end, well, at least it has for the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro. However, If you are like me who uses the 13-inch with the pathetic two ports, then you are probably in need of more ports and very likely, more storage too. If so, then you may want to check out these clever USB Hub/SSD storage/enclosure 2-in-1 solutions.
Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter
How? Well, you see, some reputable tech blogs have reported on the product like it is some groundbreaking product. Spoiler alert. It is not. It is most certainly not the first. It is, however, one of the latest entrants to the market and as such, probably with more updated ports.
However, like some similar USB HUB/SSD hybrid, the Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter is also an SSD enclosure that gives you the freedom to install the SATA M.2 of your choice.
In the ports department, you can a USB-C PD that supports up to 100W (of which about 15 is used for the operation of the device), a 4K/60Hz HDMI port, and a pair of 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports with a Type-A interface. The Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter is available now from satechi.net and from Amzon.com for US$89.99.
Minix Neo Storage
The Minix Neo Storage is a USB-C Multiport SSD Storage Hub and possibly one of the earliest in the game with a built-in SSD. You will have a choice of 120 GB, 240 GB, or 480 GB. In addition, you get a 4K/30Hz HDMI port, a pair of USB 3.0 type-A interface ports, and a lone USB-C for Power Delivery. The Minix Neo Storage is compatible with most MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. It can be had from Amazon.com for US$79.90 and up.
Minix Neo Storage Plus
The Minix Neo Storage Plus is also a USB-C Multiport SSD Storage Hub but with higher capacity storage of 480 GB or 960 GB SSD. It also has a higher spec HDMI output (4K/60Hz) and in addition to the two USB 3.0 type-A interface ports and the USB-C PD port, it gets a Gigabit Ethernet port. The Minix Neo Storage Plus will play well with macOS, iPadOS as well as Windows 10 OS. It is available from Amazon.com with a starting price of US$109.90.
Minix Neo Storage Pro
The Minix Neo Storage Pro is a USB-C Multiport SSD Storage Hub designed specifically for Apple MacBook Air/Pro and an (almost) perfect device for those who hate the dangle that came with the aforementioned USB Hub/SSD. The Minix Neo Storage Pro is designed to plug into the dual USB-C ports on a MacBook Air/Pro.
As per Minix’s tradition, it comes with built-in storage (i.e. it is not an SSD enclosure). It is offered with a choice of 480 or 960 GB SSD. In addition to expanded storage, you get an HDMI output (4K/60Hz), a USB-C interface Thunderbolt 3 port (5K/60Hz), and a single USB 3.0 type-A interface port. I know.
With these few ports, it can hardly be called a hub. But as far as a non-dangle solution goes, this appears to be the only solution at the moment. Previously, Ugreen also had one, but it appears to be obsolete and removed from the product listing.
Anker PowerExpand 4-in-1 SSD USB-C Hub
No surprise here that Anker also has one such device and it is going at quite a bargain price too. Like Minix, Anker’s solution also comes with built-in storage, albeit with just one storage capacity. At US$99.99, you get 256 GB SSD storage, 4K HDMI output, USB-C port with pass-through charging that supports 100W Power Delivery, and two USB 3.0 data ports – type-A interface, of course. I believe this model is not new.
Beelink Expand M SSD/USB Hub
Mini PC maker Beelink also has its own SSD/USB Hub. Simply called Beelink Expand M, it stands out as a device that has the option to purchase it with or without SSD installed in its built-in M.2 2280 SD slot. In the case of the former, there is a choice of 128, 256, and 516 GB capacity.
Not the biggest storage if you are using it for creative works, IMHO. However, this slot, which adopts the third generation SATA transmission protocol can totally support up to 4 TB.
There is another selling point with Beelink Expand M: it has a switch to put the SSD to sleep mode to conserve the battery life of the laptop. I thought that is a pretty cool and thoughtful feature.
In the ports department, it is pretty much the same as the rest: a 4K HDMI port, a USB-C port that supports 100W PD, and two USB 3.0 USB-A interface ports.
Zexmte USB-C Hub with M.2 SATA SSD Enclosure
The previous few offerings feature here have pretty much the same configuration of USB ports. The Zexmte USB-C Hub with M.2 SATA SSD Enclosure, however, has one-two more I/Os.
In addition to offering a slot for M.2 SATA SSD, it has a USB-C port that supports up to 100W PD, a 4K HDMI port, an Ethernet port, and three USB 3.0 type-A interfaces ports.
Highlights of this USB Hub/SSD enclosure is the one additional type-A port, an Ethernet port, plus it has a tool-free design that allows for quick installation of the SSD. The best part? It sells for just US$43.99.
OseTub USB-C Hub with Hard Drive Enclosure
If Zexmte’s 6-in-1 USB Hub/SSD enclosure is not enough for you, then perhaps this OseTub USB-C Hub with Hard Drive Enclosure would satisfy your need for more I/Os.
In addition to having a slot for a 2.5-inch M.2 SATA SSD, this device is rocking a 4K HDMI port, two USB 3.0 type-A ports, a USB 2.0 Type-A port, a USB-C port with support for 100W PD, and an SD and TF card reader. So, yes, it is an 8-in-1 device and the only one on this list with this many I/Os.
So, there you have it, USB Hub/SSD hybrid money can buy to reduce your laptop clutter. There could be more out there, but these are what we managed to dig out.
USB Hub/SSD hybrid is not all that common yet. Save for the Minx Neo Storage Pro, the solutions we presented here do not achieve 100% decluttering, IMHO.
The existence of the cable makes it less “clean” so to speak. However, cable type connection does have an advantage over a direct port connection. With just a capable plugged into your laptop, you’d be leaving the other USB-C free for whatever you need to use it for.
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