I recently started a new job, and one of the “perks” was getting a new laptop. And, as luck would have it, I received a new 13” MacBook Pro with TouchBar. This model also comes with four Thunderbolt/USB Type-C ports. All of my other MacBook Pros were non-USB Type-C and had lots of different ports on the side (USB A, HDMI, DisplayPort, SD, etc.). So this was a new tech adventure for me as much of my other “connected” devices were of the older type connection. So how was I going to embrace USB Type-C (which is an amazing technology, by the way) but also be able to connect some of my older devices like USB drives, Mics, Monitors, SD cards, and the like? Well, I got my hands on the HyperDrive PRO 8-in-2 hub for USB-C, and it’s a perfect solution (that looks great too)! (*Disclosure below.)
First, a couple of things about USB Type-C. The USB standard has been evolving over the years. How-To Geek has a good, lengthy articlethat walks you through the differences between USB Type-C and how it compares and relates to other “USB” buzzwords like USB Type-A, USB 3.0, USB 3.1, USB PD, and more. But, some things to think about when you look for USB Type-C cables and hubs:
- What USB standard is the hub or cable supporting?
- Does it support power delivery?
- What is the theoretical speed the Type-C port will support (tied to the hardware/firmware/software)?
Hopefully, whatever cable or hub solution you get, the vendor is embracing the latest and greatest approved standards and technology.
So let me circle back to the USB-C MacBook Pro. This model has four USB-C ports, two on each side. The only other port is for a 3.5mm headphone jack. And that’s it! So, at a minimum, you probably will need some type of adapter for the older, larger form-factor USB Type-A. You need to think about if and how you connect your Mac to a monitor. Do you use HDMI? My old MBP has an HDMI port. The new one doesn’t. Or do you use DisplayPort/Mini DP? Again, there are no ports other than the USB Type-C on this Mac. And those ports are used for everything, including power.
The HyperDirve Pro 8-in-2 Hub is the perfect companion for those MacBooks that have two USB Type-C ports on the side. This can be the MacBook Pro or the MacBook Air. Just be sure that you have two USB Type-C ports (Apple calls them Thunderbolt 3). This HyperDrive hub solution is designed for these Macs. Here’s why I like it.
1 – Matches the Elegant Mac Design
When you look at this hub, it looks like it was made by Apple. It’s slim and sleek, and the color options (Silver and Space Gray) match the colors of the MacBook Pro/Air. Every part of the hub contains a functional aspect. On the slim front, there is a power light indicator to show that the hub is powered. On the long, outward side, there are multiple ports (which I will go into shortly), and on the slim back, there is an HDMI port, and on the inside long side, there are the two USB Type-C/Thunderbolt 3 male connectors which plug into the Mac’s female ports. The construction material is aluminum making it quite lightweight.
2 – High-Definition Video Ports
The HyperDrive 8-in-2 (which stands for two ports into the Mac and eight other ports out) hub has two options for 4K video connectivity. For starters, you can use the HDMI port which is at the top of the hub. Or, you can use the MiniDP (Display port) which is on the larger side which is the connection I’m using at home with my 5K monitor. You can, of course, use a USB Type-C connection for your monitor which is the solution I use at work (and the really great thing about USB C is that my monitor at work powers and charges my Mac as well as handles power).
3 – Legacy USB ports
I, like many others, have a lot of devices that use the older and larger USB Type-A ports. I have microphones, external hard drives, thumb drives, and other devices, which rely on that larger and older form factor. Oh, and let’s not forget about charging iPhones, Apple Watches, and AirPods. I have many USB to Lightning cables. The HyperDrive Pro 8-in-2 hub has two of the traditional USB Type-A ports. But, importantly, they are the USB 3.0 ones, which means faster data transfer speeds.
4 – Modern USB ports
Since you are giving up two USB Type-C ports on your MacBook Pro, it’s only natural to gain them back on this HyperDrive Hub. So, there are two USB Type-C ports available for power, display, connectivity, etc. These support Power Delivery (PD) as well as high-speed data transfer (40 Gbps/100W and 5Gbps/60W).
5 – Photo & Video SD Cards Supported
One of the nice things about the older MacBook Pros was that there was an SD slot. These slots allowed you to easily pop in an SD card from a digital camera or a drone or a GoPro, and you could import in the images and the videos. The new MacBooks don’t have this nice feature. But, the HyperDrive Pro 8-in-2 hub has actually TWO SD slots, one for the regular SD cards and one for Micro SD cards.
6 – Compact & Portable
Lastly, while I already mentioned the design and the fact that it matches Macs quite well, almost making it look like a Mac product, the HyperDrive PRO 8-in-2 hub is extremely lightweight and portable. It measures 131 mm (5.16”) long by 31 mm (1.22”) wide and is about the same thickness as the MacBook Pro’s body. And, it weighs slightly less than 3 ounces. It comes with a small flexible plastic sleeve so that you can just throw it in your bag and not worry about it.
7 – Reasonable Price
For a USB Type-C hub, I feel the retail price of $119.99 is not too bad. You can pick it up directly on the Hyper site. Or, if you want to save about $20, this hub is on Amazon currently for $99.99which I feel is a great price, especially if you are using other types of dongle solutions for the same ports. Those types of solutions can get pricy and look really bad all hanging off of your Mac. Better to have an all-in-one solution.
Bottom line here, yes, you can carry around a bunch of dongles that offer various port solutions as I just mentioned, or you can get this elegantly-designed hub by Hyper. It is compact, light-weight, and has a variety of connection options to handle hard drives, displays, power, SD cards, and other devices. If you have a new MacBook Pro or Air, I’d recommend adding the HyperDrive PRO 8-in-2 hub to your gadgets!
HTD says: After finally getting my hands on a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro, I suddenly realize how important it is to have a capable and flexible USB Type-C hub to handle legacy devices while also offering many types of connection and display solutions.
After finally getting my hands on a USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pro, I suddenly realize how important it is to have a capable and flexible USB Type-C hub to handle legacy devices while also offering many types of connection and display solutions. This hub is truly plug-and-play. Just unbox it and plug it into your Mac. Then just start connecting your various devices. You can use on either side of the 4-port Thunderbird 3 Macs, assuming there are two on each side. Price point is reasonable especially when you compare it to the various dongle solutions from Apple that only have a couple of ports.
- Elegant design
- Many different useful ports
- Compact & lightweight
- No Ethernet port
- Can’t use with SuperDrive
- Only one external HD at once