I recently switched to a Macbook Pro as my daily driver laptop, with one of the compromises made being that it only has USB type C ports on the side. This is incredibly annoying given all I have to carry around; a mouse, USB storage, SD cards, the list goes on.
So, I was in the market for a cheap and easy USB C Hub, and Inateck kindly provided for the purpose of this review.
The OTG adapter, available here on Amazon UK, is a relatively cheap device coming in at under a tenner. While it lacks the finesse of some more expensive offerings it’s still reasonably compact and slips easily into the front pocket of my messenger bag. The USB-C cable is around 20cm long which is more than enough to position the box comfortably in most environments, be it on the knee or on the desk.
Around the edges of the unit are three USB 2.0 slots as well as SD, microSD (TF), MS and M2 card reader slots. There’s also an auxilliary power supply connector and the unit comes with an appropriate lead with a USB-A connector.
In terms of usage, the card read was instantly recognised by my Macbook Pro, a Lenovo Ideabook and my main gaming rig. I was able to power a wired mouse, USB memory stick, SD Card and even a USB optical drive at the same time without needing to use the provided power cable.
Soak testing the unit by transfering a DVD contents to my hard disk while transfering 10GB of data to the attached USB stick yielded no negative effects (it didn’t even get noticeably hotter) though it should be noted that at USB 2.0 speeds this isn’t surprising and you’re not going to be setting the world alight with transfer speeds.
I observed consistent write speeds to the USB stick of between 3-5 MB per second, and read speeds from the DVD drive of around 3MB per second, simultaneously. Performance like this is never going to amaze but for transferring relatively small files around is perfectly fine.
One quirk that I did notice with this device is that if you use a USB pen drive in one of the two closely spaced USB-A ports you effectively write off the use of the adjacent port due to spacing. Given the size of the device it does seem that Inateck could have spaced the ports further apart slightly and retained full use of both ports. That being said, the third port has an edge all to itself so larger devices can be connected there without causing issue and in most cases it just requires a little bit of consideration to get the best out of the unit.
Overall the Inateck USB C Hub is a great, budget friendly addition to your laptop bag, particularly if your ultrabook, tablet or phone only has a USB-C connector. It’s certainly not the fastest, best looking or best equipped dongle in the world, but it does offer a reasonable degree of expansion for those that just need access to a few extra ports or storage devices on the go. At less than £10 it’s an inexpensive and effective solution for most people and should definitely make its way to your Amazon wish list if, like me, you need access to a little more functionality on the go.