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7 Reasons to Avoid a New USB-C Hub Today

USB-C vs. USB 3

7 Reasons to Avoid a New USB-C Hub Today

Key Points

  • USB-C hubs are generally more expensive than standard USB hubs, and prices are expected to drop in the future.
  • Compatibility issues may arise with some devices and operating systems due to varying USB-C hub models.
  • Inadequate power delivery can be a problem with new USB-C hubs, especially for energy-intensive devices.
  • Some USB-C hubs may lack the necessary ports and outlets for your specific needs.
  • The build quality and long-term reliability of USB-C hubs can vary significantly between manufacturers.

Anyone who has used laptops for a while knows how much they have evolved in the last few years. When you visit an electronics store, you’ll find smaller, lighter, and more portable laptops and tablets. However, a significant downside to the thin design is that there is less space for ports. Earlier-model laptops had up to five USB ports, but the same cannot be said of current models. Buying a USB-C hub is often a no-brainer for people with newer laptops. If you’re considering taking that route, however, keep reading to discover our seven reasons to avoid a new USB-C hub today.

Some Background on USB-C Hubs

USB-C connectors were conceived by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). The forum comprises over 700 companies, including Microsoft, Intel, Apple, HP, Dell, and Samsung. These companies develop and certify the USB standard. 

In recent years, tablet and laptop manufacturers have shifted their focus to slimmer products. To do so, they’ve had to remove some ports and peripherals. It became increasingly hard for users to connect specific peripherals to their tablets and laptops. For instance, they could no longer connect HDMI, Ethernet cables, or even hard drives to their devices. As a result, designers created USB-C hubs to address this issue.

The devices provide all the crucial ports to connect your peripherals to your laptop or tablet. A typical USB-C hub features up to ten different ports. When looking for a USB-C hub, you can choose either a powered or non-powered option. The primary difference between these USB-C types is how they draw power and provide it to the connected peripherals. 

Non-powered hubs use the power provided by the host device. The power supply to each connected peripheral depends on the host device’s USB-C port power capacity. For this reason, non-powered hubs are ideal for connecting low-power peripherals such as USB flash drives, keyboards, and low-capacity external hard drives. 

Conversely, powered USB-C hubs have in-built power sources or external power adapters to supply additional power to the connected peripherals and the hub. This helps to lower the load on the host device’s power supply while ensuring a stable power supply to the connected peripherals. 

Reasons to Avoid a New USB-C Hub Today

USB-C hubs are one of the newest types of USB hubs on the market and are less prevalent than other USB hub types. There are several reasons to avoid a new USB-C hub today, including:

Price

USB-C hubs generally cost more than standard USB hubs. Therefore, when shopping for a USB-C hub, you’ll find different models with varying prices, from relatively cheap to very expensive. Your budget determines the type and number of connections a USB-C hub supports.

Higher-priced hubs feature more USB ports besides other connections, including Ethernet, PD charging, and 4K HDMI Video. However, these cost more than standard USB-C hubs. Although the higher-end hubs offer incredible features and functionality, they may not be a good value in the long run. That’s particularly true when you consider that prices will drop in the future. So, paying over the top for only a few extra features doesn’t make sense.

In addition, since USB-C hubs are still relatively new on the market, they’re rather expensive, and buying one today may not make sense if you’re on a budget. Fortunately, newer models are regularly being released, so it may be worth waiting for prices to drop.

USB-C charger being plugged into a laptop
USB-C hubs are a solution for adding ports to your laptop, but they are more expensive than other USB hubs.

Compatibility Issues

USB-C is generally a universal standard, but that doesn’t imply that all manufacturers build USB-C hubs the same. These devices vary from one model to another, so there is a possibility of compatibility issues with some devices and operating systems.

For instance, some hubs are compatible with Android smartphones but only support some of the connections laptops would. Such hubs only allow you to connect USB hard drives and memory sticks via the USB-C hub. In addition, you can only connect phones that support the on-the-go (OTG) function to a USB-C hub.

For this reason, you should find out the compatibility of your preferred hub with your operating system and devices. You’ll realize not all devices and operating systems are supported, another reason to avoid a new USB-C hub today.

Inadequate Power Delivery

Generally, some USB devices require more power than others. For instance, if you’re connecting a teleconferencing headset or USB memory stick, a USB-C port’s full power output won’t be necessary. Conversely, more power will be needed if you’re connecting devices like webcams and external hard drives.

With new USB-C hubs, there’s always the likelihood of inadequate power supply. You may not know the ability of such hubs to split power between the different USB-C ports to support all the connections. That mostly happens when using a non-powered USB-C. In this case, the connected peripherals and or even the host computer may have some lag or stop working altogether.

Some new USB-C hubs on the market have limited power output. For this reason, they may not work with energy-intensive devices like tablets. In addition, it takes time and extensive research to find a hub built to optimize power management. For this reason, you should avoid rushing out to buy a new USB-C hub today until you know it has the ability to meet your requirements.

Inadequate Ports and Outlets

Some hubs may not have all the ports and outlets you need to connect your devices. Generally, USB-C hubs have different configurations and functionalities. Therefore, when considering a new hub, it’s best to check whether it has all the configurations, outlets, and features you need. 

For instance, if you rely on SD card readers or HDMI outputs, your hub should include these ports. However, as noted earlier, USB-C hubs have to negotiate power delivery issues that other types of USB hubs do not. USB-C hubs currently on the market may lack the critical configurations and features you need. So, rather than rushing out to purchase a USB-C hub that can’t supply what you need, it may be worth waiting until you can get a device with the ports and outlets you require.

Reliability

Since USB-C hubs are not made by one manufacturer, their build quality and long-term reliability differ. Different manufacturers also have different quality controls. Sometimes manufacturers use inferior electronic components and circuitry to save money, and not all manufacturers test the devices. Therefore, you can never be too sure about the quality of the USB-C hub you’ll get. 

Better USB-C Hubs Are on the Way

Advances in technology mean there will be better hubs in the coming years. You wouldn’t want to invest in a USB-C hub only to find its functionality limited after a few years.

An advantage of avoiding buying a new USB-C hub today is that there is a good possibility some of the more advanced options will be cheaper. Unlike today, the market will likely be flooded with quality products in the coming years. So, waiting a few more months may save you money in the long run.

The Potential for Security Risks

USB-C hubs are an excellent addition to your workstation, primarily because they help you declutter your desk. The hubs are designed to be intermediate devices between a PC and multiple peripherals. A poorly designed hub can introduce various risks, including malware injection and data breaches. Avoid a new USB-C hub until you know its potential risks to your network security. Don’t rush to get a new hub until you find one sold by familiar and trusted sources.

Alternatives to USB-C Hubs

Now that we’ve explained the primary reasons to avoid a new USB-C hub, you’ll undoubtedly want to learn about the alternatives to help you upgrade your workspace. Here are some alternatives to USB-C hubs that we recommend.

Docking Stations

USB-C hubs and docking stations often get confused with each other, but they’re different. Docking stations are larger and more complex than USB-C hubs and provide more connecting ports and features. They primarily get used with laptops to provide USB ports and additional outputs like audio jacks, Ethernet ports, and power delivery outlets. If you’re looking for a docking station that’s an excellent alternative to a USB-C hub, WAVLINK DisplayLink will suit you well.

Thunderbolt 3 Docks

Thunderbolt 3 docks like the Kensington SD2500T are similar to USB-C hubs, with the only difference being their ability to offer higher bandwidth while supporting features like connecting high-performance storage devices, daisy-chaining several displays, and charging tablets and laptops with significant power requirements.

Best Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Docking Station for Windows, MacBooks, and Surface; Dual 4K, 60W PD
$199.88
  • Delivers transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps
  • Four total USB ports, one USB-C Gen2 port
  • Supports 4K Ultra HD to two monitors or 8K to one
  • 120 Watt power supply
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 04:15 am GMT

Wireless Docking Stations

Wireless connectivity can be an excellent option if you’re looking for an alternative to physical hubs. The best part is that wireless docking stations like the Lemorele 11-in-1 offer this capability. It uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect multiple devices and peripherals to a host computer without requiring physical ports.

Best Wireless Solution
Lemorele 11 in 1 USB C Laptop Docking Station Dual Monitor Hub Adapter w/ 2 HDMI 4K, 100W PD, Ethernet, SD/TF, 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, USB C 3.0 Data, for MacBook Pro/Air, (Thunderbolt 3) Typc C Laptop
$45.99
  • USB-C dongle works well with Thunderbolt 3 compatible devices
  • Supports USB, USB Type C, Ethernet, and HDMI
  • Max data transmission up to 5120Mbps
  • 4K HD Resolution plus supports dual monitors
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 04:34 am GMT

Port Replicators

As the name suggests, these devices feature multiple ports of a particular type without offering the additional features you’ll get on a USB-C hub. For instance, a port replicator can provide ports for HDMI or USB-A ports, thus helping you increase the connectivity options of a laptop with few ports.

Best Port Replicator
USB C Docking Station Dual Monitor, 13 in 1 Triple Display Laptop Multiport Adapter Hub with 2 HDMI+DP+Ethernet+5USB+SD/TF+USB C PD+Audio for MacBook Pro/Air/Dell/HP/Lenovo/Thinkpad More Type-C Laptop
$69.99
  • Supports USB, USB-C, DisplayPort, Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0
  • USB-C to dual monitor adapter
  • 3 DisplayPorts that support 4K
  • Supports speeds up to 1000Mbps
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 04:19 am GMT

Converters and Adapters

Sometimes, specific converters and adapters provide the necessary connectivity options without requiring a dedicated USB-C hub. For instance, you can use a USBC to Ethernet or USB-C to HDMI adapter to connect individual peripheral devices directly to a USB-C outlet.

Best Adapter
USB C to Dual HDMI Adapter, Dual Monitors Adapter USB C Adapter USB C Hub with 2 HDMI Docking Station 4K @60hz for Laptop HP Dell Surface Lenovo Thinkpad Chromebook
$26.99
  • Supports most USB-C laptops
  • Extend your monitor to two monitors
  • 4K UHD resolution, max 4K@60Hz for one monitor or 4K@30Hz for two
  • Plug and play, no software or drivers
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/17/2024 04:30 am GMT

Reasons to Avoid a New USB-C Hub Today: Final Thoughts

Since Apple debuted a single USB-C port as the only connector on the 2015 MacBook, it became apparent that the end was nigh for legacy ports. More tablet and laptop manufacturers are adopting a minimalist approach in their product designs, and it won’t be long before they phase out conventional USB ports completely.

Nevertheless, this leaves you wondering, “How can I connect my devices using one port?” That’s where USB-C hubs come in. Although connecting your multiple external devices to your laptop via a USB-C hub sounds exciting, you shouldn’t rush to get a USB-C hub today.

For starters, there’s a likelihood that the hub you purchase won’t be compatible with your devices and operating system. Also, USB-C hubs are still relatively new and expensive.

  1. Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Docking Station for Windows, MacBooks, and Surface; Dual 4K, 60W PD
    $199.88
    • Delivers transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps
    • Four total USB ports, one USB-C Gen2 port
    • Supports 4K Ultra HD to two monitors or 8K to one
    • 120 Watt power supply
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 04:15 am GMT
  2. Lemorele 11 in 1 USB C Laptop Docking Station Dual Monitor Hub Adapter w/ 2 HDMI 4K, 100W PD, Ethernet, SD/TF, 2 USB 3.0, 2 USB 2.0, USB C 3.0 Data, for MacBook Pro/Air, (Thunderbolt 3) Typc C Laptop
    $45.99
    • USB-C dongle works well with Thunderbolt 3 compatible devices
    • Supports USB, USB Type C, Ethernet, and HDMI
    • Max data transmission up to 5120Mbps
    • 4K HD Resolution plus supports dual monitors
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 04:34 am GMT
  3. USB C Docking Station Dual Monitor, 13 in 1 Triple Display Laptop Multiport Adapter Hub with 2 HDMI+DP+Ethernet+5USB+SD/TF+USB C PD+Audio for MacBook Pro/Air/Dell/HP/Lenovo/Thinkpad More Type-C Laptop
    $69.99
    • Supports USB, USB-C, DisplayPort, Ethernet, HDMI, USB 3.0, and USB 2.0
    • USB-C to dual monitor adapter
    • 3 DisplayPorts that support 4K
    • Supports speeds up to 1000Mbps
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 04:19 am GMT
  4. USB C to Dual HDMI Adapter, Dual Monitors Adapter USB C Adapter USB C Hub with 2 HDMI Docking Station 4K @60hz for Laptop HP Dell Surface Lenovo Thinkpad Chromebook
    $26.99
    • Supports most USB-C laptops
    • Extend your monitor to two monitors
    • 4K UHD resolution, max 4K@60Hz for one monitor or 4K@30Hz for two
    • Plug and play, no software or drivers
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/17/2024 04:30 am GMT

Summary Table

ReasonDescription
PriceUSB-C hubs are generally more expensive than standard USB hubs.
Compatibility IssuesUSB-C hubs may have compatibility issues with some devices and operating systems.
Inadequate Power DeliveryNew USB-C hubs may not provide enough power for energy-intensive devices.
Inadequate Ports and OutletsSome hubs may not have all the ports and outlets needed for your devices.
ReliabilityBuild quality and long-term reliability of USB-C hubs may vary among manufacturers.
Better USB-C Hubs Are on the WayAdvances in technology will likely lead to better and cheaper USB-C hubs in the future.
Potential for Security RisksPoorly designed hubs can introduce risks such as malware injection and data breaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a USB-C hub work with my Android smartphone?

Although USB-C hubs work with most Android smartphones, they don’t support all the connections as a computer does. Thus, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s website or your phone manual to determine whether it’s compatible with USB-C connectors.

Do USB-C hubs need drivers to get installed?

No, USB-C hubs are primarily plug-and-play devices. You only need to connect them to a laptop or tablet without installing device drivers or special software.

My USB-C hub heats up when in use. Is it normal?

USB-C hubs generally get warm when charging devices or transferring data to and from connected devices; that’s not something to worry about. Moreover, hubs made from metal are a safer choice since they offer better heat dissipation.

How do I choose a suitable USB-C hub?

When you upgrade to a USB-C hub, we recommend that you consider the type and number of USB ports you need, data transfer speed, design and build quality, and additional features like audio pass-through.

Can a USB-C hub affect my computer’s performance?

USB-C hubs can hamper your PC’s performance, especially if multiple devices are connected. Moreover, if you plug numerous power-intensive devices into a passive USB hub, it will likely malfunction.

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