If you’ve been watching high end laptops you might have started to notice something. Google’s Pixel and Apple’s Macbook have both done away with most of their ports leaving just a single oval port for power and a data connection. This port is called USB-C and is designed to be universal power and data port that can power phones and laptops alike. Apple in particular have adopted the ability to drop other ports with glee and have reduced the Macbook to a single USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The space saving is great but there’s a problem – how do you plug your peripherals in? In the long term the answer might be wireless and bluetooth. For now enter 1ByOne with a USB-C 3.0 7 port hub.
I have to admit something at this point in the review – I don’t have a MacBook or a Pixel. A little checking through my systems and I realised the OnePlus 2 which I reviewed yesterday has USB-C and the ability to run OTG devices such as hubs plugged into it. The only issue was that it’s USB 2.0 not 3.0 so while I’ve been able to test the hub I’ve not been able to speed test it.
The hub’s body is made of brushed aluminum with white accents and is designed to fit in with Apple products – specifically the MacBook. The main body of the hub does this quite well, but unfortunately some of the details are not quite to the Apple standard. For example the power cable does not seat fully into the hub and leaves a slight gap between the cable and the body. It’s a minor thing but it does detract slightly from the overall look.
Price: £19.99 1byone®7-PORT USB HUB, £10.99 4 port, £15.99 3+1 Port
Included in the box: USB 7 port hub, wall plug, quick start guide, warranty card, two sticky backed velcro strips
1ByOne is a Chinese consumer equipment manufacturer that makes a very wide variety of devices from door bells and cables to smoke machines.
The Ergohacks Evaluation
The hub is accessible to people with diverse abilities. As USB-C you automatically get a cable which can be plugged in either way and 1Byone have carried this on with a power cable that also plugs in either way.
It is easy to set-up, use and maintain and made to be as simple as it could be. Plug the USB-C into the computer and the USB device into the hub and it goes. All the ports are USB 3.0 so there’s no need to plug in a particular place although there is one high wattage port for charging other devices. If you need more power plug in the power supply and get more wattage. It’s a simple design and works well.
If plugged in with only the power connected the hub tips to one side towards the cable. It has a very narrow base and USB cables are heavy so this is an unfortunate side effect of the cylindrical design. To counteract this 1Byone have included a couple of pieces of glue backed velcro. When you decide where you want your hub to be most of the time apply one piece to the hub and one to the desk and you can keep it secure and untipped. When you want to be on the go just unvelcro it and you will just have to deal with it falling over.
I found this velcro base had another unexpected benefit – I was able to velcro it to the inside of my bag which was a great organisation bonus.
Environment & People
The making of: Little information is available about procurement, manufacturing and shipping of 1Byone products. 1Byone provide no public information about any environmental or corporate social responsibility policies.
In use and post use: The hub seems well designed and solid in build and as it is on the cutting edge of USB ports the chances are that it will still be sitting on your desk or travelling with your laptop in several years time. My only concern is the power input which looks significantly weaker than the rest of the hub.
Post-use: While durable it is unlikely to hold resale value and could be difficult to get recycled.
The hub is very slightly more expensive than the average price for a 7 port powered USB hub, but this is counteracted both by the design and the fact of it being USB-C.
Input power: DC 5v 3A
Output: 7 USB 3.0 ports including one quick charge
Size: 15.5 x 2.6 x 2.3 cm (hub)
Size power plug: 4.5 x 7.2 x 6 cm
USB cable length: 40cm
Power cable length: 1.5m
USB: 3.0 up to 5Gbps with support for 2.0 and 1.1
Weight hub: 82g
Weight plug: 149g
Warranty: 30 day refund and a 1 year manufacturer warranty
The only unusual requirement for the hub is that you have have a system with USB-C. The cable is integrated and cannot be changed.
All the indications are that USB-C is going to be the next big port standard and with both Apple and Google adopting it, it probably won’t be long either. At the same time all our peripherals – USB thumb drives, keyboards, mics and a thousand other things still use USB-B.
If you invest in a laptop with USB-C, a hub should be first on your accessory shopping list. The 1Byone 7 port hub does exactly what is says on the tin in a style that will fit well with your high end laptop. Recommended.
The review is based on the USB-C to 7-PORT USB 3.0 Aluminum HUB Hub Adapter kindly provided by 1Byone. This post contains affiliate links. First published on 25th August 2015.