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Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub Review: USB-C More of the Things

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $40
A Satechi 4-Port USB hub in a Christmas tree
Peter Cao

USB-C was meant to be the one connector for all. Rather than multiplying the number of USB-C ports you already have, most USB-C hubs and adapters still offer traditional USB Type-A, HDMI, Ethernet, and tons of other legacy ports. The Satechi 4-Port USB-C Hub solves that problem for folks like myself who’ve gone all-in on USB-C.

Here's What We Like

  • Premium build
  • Reliable
  • Multiplies 1 USB-C port to 4
  • Plug and play

And What We Don't

  • Limited to 5Gbps speeds
  • No pass-through charging
  • Can't plug in a monitor
  • Non-detachable cable

Instead of offering a ton of legacy port options like many other multi-port adapters, this Satechi hub multiplies your single USB-C port and adds three (total of four) USB-C ports. But as is the case with all things USB-C, it’s not as straightforward as you’d hope.

What I Like: Design & Build

Satechi 4 Port USB-C hub laptop
Peter Cao

One of my favorite things about the adapter is its build quality. Instead of using a cheap plastic or faux-metal, the Satechi 4-port USB-C hub uses a lightweight aluminum that feels premium every time I pick it up. There are two ports on either side, and they’re spaced far enough apart to prevent bulkier accessories such as thumb drives and cables from colliding.

The non-detachable cable is thick and sturdy. The USB-C padding around the connector that plugs into your computer is also made out of premium aluminum. Overall, the build quality is solid—no complaints here. Fortunately, so far, I haven’t experienced any scratching on the aluminum exterior as I’ve taken it in and out of my bag for the past month during everyday use.

During my month of usage, I’ve been able to plug in practically any USB-C enabled device into the hub without issue. On a day-to-day basis, I have an external microphone and an external headphone amplifier plugged into it. This is an excellent test as both are constantly sending data back and forth to and from my laptop without dropping the connection. I’d be the first to tell you if there are any connection issues.

Furthermore, when my laptop is at my desk, I actively keep the hub plugged directly into my monitor, which has a few USB-C ports of its own. Not once did I run into an issue where the hub threw any errors or got randomly disconnected. Whether I connected it to my desktop, plugged it into my monitor, or used it on the go with my laptop, it always worked without issue.

What Could Be Improved: Port Limitations

Satechi 4 Port USB-C hub
Peter Cao

It’s likely a limitation of the tech, but each port on the hub is restricted to USB 3.1 Gen 1; in layman’s terms, we’re looking at a mere 5Gbps max transfer speed. This also means you can’t plug an external monitor into the hub, as there’s simply not enough bandwidth to drive a modern monitor. It’s fine for plugging in peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and audio gear, but you’ll see a massive decline in speed when plugging in things like an external SSD. In instances where speed is a factor, you’ll want to plug items directly into your computer or laptop.

Also, if you own a lightweight laptop—such as the latest generation MacBook Air, which only has two USB-C ports—you’ll be saddened to learn that the hub doesn’t support pass-through charging. So when you’re running low on battery, you will need to decide how you want to use your two ports. In an ideal world, you could use one of the hub’s ports to charge your MacBook Air. Sadly, that’s not possible here.

And lastly, while the integrated USB-C cable feels nice and sturdy, nothing beats having a detachable cable that you can replace if it goes bad. Not only for longevity’s sake but also when you may need a longer (or shorter!) cable. Maybe you want to keep the hub mounted on your monitor for easy access, yet your computer/laptop is further than an arm’s length away. Or maybe you’re on a flight and don’t want the hub dangling off the side of the tray table.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the Satechi 4-Port USB-C hub is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to expand the number of USB-C ports available on their machine. Yes, it has limits, but given the small number of USB-C hubs that actually multiply the number of USB-C ports you have that are available versus giving you legacy ports, it’s hard to complain.

In a way, that sums up the overarching issue with USB-C. While all USB-C ports look the same, not all work the same. Some ports are Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4) and are backward-compatible; some can only transfer data over USB 2.0. And in the case of this Satechi hub, it has a max throughput of 5Gbps (3.1 Gen 1).

The only things I could wish for from a future revision of this hub are to make it Thunderbolt-enabled and backward-compatible with whatever the current USB-C spec is. Yes, it’ll more than likely jack the price up, but that would make it future-proofed for years to come.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $40

Here’s What We Like

  • Premium build
  • Reliable
  • Multiplies 1 USB-C port to 4
  • Plug and play

And What We Don't

  • Limited to 5Gbps speeds
  • No pass-through charging
  • Can't plug in a monitor
  • Non-detachable cable

Peter Cao Peter Cao
Peter is a freelance writer for Review Geek. He started out 7 years ago writing about jailbreaking the iPhone and that evolved into writing about general Apple. And now? He’s just writing about tech. He’s written for several major online publications in the past and has written several thousand news and reviews articles over the years. Read Full Bio »