RAVPower’s 6-Port Charging Filehub is a $36 charging brick that can back up your phone’s data to an external drive. While I wouldn’t use it in place of a proper USB-C hub, for what it is, the 6-Port Filehub is great.
In all honesty, I didn’t expect this device to be much of a winner. The file transfer features sound gimmicky, and the last RAVPower product I reviewed left a lot to be desired. But the 6-Port Filehub actually managed to exceed my expectations. Its ability to back up your phone’s files to an external drive is genuinely useful (albeit limited), and it makes for a great little charging brick.
The first thing I noticed from the 6-Port Filehub is its 4′ long power cable. The Filehub can comfortably plug into the wall with more than enough slack to move around on my desk. (I’m inclined to suggest this as a charging brick just for the long power cable.)
And of course, the second thing I noticed is the device’s instructions. They’re surprisingly clear, and I had to spend only about a minute in the manual to understand how each of the Filehub’s ports work. (We’ll get to the ports in a second.)
But I do have one tiny complaint. The instruction manual includes only the voltage and amperage of each port. It doesn’t detail wattage, which is how most people think of charging speeds. This isn’t a serious issue (you can multiply amps and volts to get watts), but including the wattage of each port in the manual would help some users understand the 6-Port Filehub a little bit better.
What Does Each Port Do?
All right, this device has six USB ports. At a glance, you can read how each port is labeled, but you can’t really tell what each one does. So, here’s a list of the six ports, with details on what they do, their data transfer rates, and their charging speeds. Keep in mind that most current-gen phones “quick charge” at between 12 and 15 watts. (Going over that wattage is fine because phones have built-in regulators.)
- Storage Port: This port is specifically for your external storage device, but it also works for charging at 4.5 watts (if you’re in a pinch). The highest capacity drive you can plug into this port is 8 TB.
- Phone Port: This port is specifically for transferring data between your phone and external storage device, but it also works as a 7.5 watt charging port. It’s capable of transferring data at 20 Mbps. (That’s 1 GB every 50 seconds.)
- Two iSmart Ports: iSmart is a RAVPower charging technology that automatically detects a device’s ideal charging voltage. Both of these ports are capable of charging at up to 12 watts.
- QC (Quick Charge) Port: The QC port can put out a maximum of 24 watts, which is a great future-proof measure for phones we’ll see in the 2020s. That said, if something is plugged into the USB-C port, this QC port can put out only 12 watts.
- USB-C “PD” Port: A straightforward USB-C port. It can put out a maximum of 24 watts, but it puts out only 12 watts when something’s plugged into the QC port.
While I’d be happy to trade one (or both) of the iSmart ports for another USB-C port, I do appreciate that this device gives you a lot of high-powered charging options. It’s also nice to know you can use all of the 6-Port Filehub’s ports at once without losing any charging speed (save for the USB-C and QC ports, which drop from 24w to 12w when multiple ports are in use).
There’s not much to say about the 6-Port Filehub’s charging features, so I’ll spill the beans right now. This is a great charging hub. Most of its ports charge at 12 watts or more, its QC and USB-C ports are future-proof, and it has a small footprint to boot.
This Isn’t a Replacement for Your USB-C Hub
Of course, the RAVPower 6-port Filehub is more than just a power brick. Its selling point is its ability to transfer files between an external drive and a phone or tablet. But why would you buy this instead of, say, a USB-C hub?
The 6-Port Filehub has a data transfer rate of 20 Mbps (1 GB every 50 seconds). I wouldn’t call 20 Mbps slow, but you can get transfer rates of 400 Mbps or more with any cheap USB-C hub (and expensive USB-C hubs are even faster).
Not to mention, the 6-Port Filehub can transfer data over its USB-A slots only. That means you can’t plug in SD cards without an adapter (sorry photographers), and you can’t plug your phone into the USB-C port for file transfers.
The one thing the 6-Port Filehub has over USB-C hubs is in-app features for backing up and restoring your phone. You can customize these features to focus on image or video transfers in-app—more on that in a minute.
If anything, I would say the 6-port Filehub is primarily a charging brick for your desk. Its file transfer features are neat and useful in a pinch, but they’re restricted by the relatively low transfer speeds and lack of an SD card slot. I could see the Filehub being useful to anyone who creates (and needs to back up) visual art, photography, or music on a phone or tablet, but outside of that realm, I can’t imagine a situation where its file transfer features would be super useful.
The U-Hub App Is Fantastic
The 6-Port Filehub works with the RAVPower U-Hub app, and in all honesty, it’s a great app. The interface is straightforward, it gives you the option to dig through the files of your phone or storage device, and it can transfer files in the background while you do other things on your phone.
When you first open the U-Hub app, you see a set of options. You can back up full photo albums, your contacts, or your entire phone to a thumb drive or external hard drive. You can also restore your phone’s files from a storage device, see your phone’s storage, and see your external drive’s storage.
But you aren’t stuck with full-album backups; you can also transfer files individually. The U-Hub app has a clean built-in file explorer, and it has a multi-select option for files you want to transfer, delete, share, or rename.
And of course, you can change some of the app’s settings to your taste. You can turn on settings like Auto-Backup (if you want to back up your phone nightly, just plug it in and open the app), and you can choose which file types you want to back up automatically (videos, music, etc). You also have the option to delete local data after it’s backed up, in case you want to save space on your phone.
I think that RAVPower hit it out of the ballpark with the U-Hub app. My only complaint is that it isn’t great for transferring small files or documents, as you have to manually search through your phone to find them. If the app had some kind of shortcut feature to jump right into select folders (like shortcuts on a PC), that would be wonderful.
(As a side-note, I noticed the app’s context menus sometimes flash in Chinese before they go to English. This isn’t a serious issue or anything, but it should have been corrected during localization.)
For What It Is, the 6-Port Filehub Is Great
Is the RAVPower 6-Port Filehub a serious replacement for a USB-C hub? Not really. It doesn’t have an SD card slot, and it only transfers data at 20 Mbps. But as a desktop charger, it’s great, and its file transfer features are genuinely useful for some situations.
I could see the 6-Port Filehub being useful to people who do creative work on a phone or tablet. It’s a small, fantastic little desktop charging brick, and its file transferring features could come in handy for desk work. In fact, I used the Filehub to pass the photos for this article from my phone to my computer.
But if you’re solely looking for a device that can transfer files between your phone and external drives, I’d suggest buying a decent USB-C hub instead. That way, you can reap the benefits of high data transfer rates alongside single-device charging, an ethernet connection, and HDMI video output.
Here’s What We Like
- A Great Charging Brick
- Decent 20 Mbps Data Transfer Rate
- Has a USB-C Port
- The U-Hub App Is Fantastic
And What We Don't
- No SD Card Slot
- Not a Serious Alternative to USB-C Hubs