Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter connected to a MacBook AirSource: iMore

USB-C is the connection of the future, and while it's undoubtedly more prominent on devices now than it was a couple of years back, some devices still use (and will always use) other connections. Since Apple switched all their MacBooks to have only Thunderbolt 3 connections (which use a USB-C port), connecting accessories and peripherals to your Mac laptop has gotten a little more difficult. Getting a proper USB-C hub will make your life a lot easier and is pretty essential for most MacBook users these days.

I have had the pleasure of using the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter for about two months now, and I'm not sure I could live without it anymore. From its slim and compact design that hugs your MacBook to its inclusion of almost every port you could need, the PowerExpand Direct is a fantastic USB-C hub for working at the office, working at home, or working on the road.

Connect all the things!

Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter

Bottom line: I have yet to find a USB-C hub that fits my workflow and lifestyle better than the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter. It's incredibly portable, has all the connections you need to plug in all sorts of devices and accessories, and it can support two displays (through HDMI and USB-C), making it paramount to get work done whether you're at your primary workstation or out of the office.

Pros

  • USB-C that supports 100W power delivery
  • Two USB-A 3.0 port
  • HDMI port
  • SD Card and microSD card readers
  • Slim design that hugs your MacBook

Cons

  • No ethernet port
  • Uses two USB-C ports

Seven ports in one package

Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter : Features

Port on the Anker Powerexpand Direct 7 In 2 Usb C AdapterSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

Everyone's workflow is going to be different, but the PowerExpand Direct does its best to be useful to the most people by offering seven ports in total. You'll get an HDMI port, two USB-A 3.0 ports, one Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port that supports 100W power delivery, one USB-C port, a SD card reader, and a microSD card reader. This means that even though the PowerExpand Direct does take up two of your MacBook's USB-C ports, you do get them back — the one caveat being that the hub only has one Thunderbolt 3.

Anker USB-C adapter ports diagramSource: Anker

It can also support dual monitors. One monitor through the Thunderbolt 3 port that can be up to a 5K at 60hz and another display through the HDMI port that can be up to 4K at 30hz.

The slim and compact design sits right against the side of your MacBook, making it easy to fit in tighter workspaces, and it comes with a tiny little carrying sleeve making it easy to carry around in a laptop bag or purse. Plus, the brushed aluminum does make it a tad more durable than other plastic-encased USB-C hubs I have used. I've ever dropped the PowerExpand Direct a couple of times, and it is functioning perfectly.

I take it with me everywhere

Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter: What I Like

MacBook Air with Anker USB-C hubSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

I have been using the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter every day for the past two months, and I can't imagine going back to using any other hub. The way it hugs the side of the MacBook makes it almost feel like its part of the machine, and since my desk is in the corner of my apartment, the design gives me ample space to connect all my accessories.

On a average day, I have my MacBook Air hooked up to an external display via the Thunderbolt 3 port, my USB-C hard drive connected to transfer files, an SD card to transfer photos from my DSLR, and typically a podcasting mic for recording and for use on voice calls. When I need to charge my iPhone or Apple Watch, I can easily connect them into the USB-A port I still have left open. Not once have I ever wished the PowerExpand Direct had more ports, and I have never found it to be an annoyance that I don't have any ports left on my MacBook Air — remember the Air only has two ports on it.

"The Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter has everything I need — I can't imagine using any other USB-C hub."

Not once have I ever wished the PowerExpand Direct had more ports, and I have never found it to be an annoyance that I don't have any ports left on my MacBook Air — remember the Air only has two ports on it. If you were to use this hub with a MacBook Pro that has four ports on it, I couldn't possibly imagine anyone that wouldn't have enough ports to get what they need done.

I've also never experienced any connection issues with any of the ports. My USB-C display, which is running 4K at 60hz, is always buttery smooth and has never flicked or shown a sign of a bad connection at all. The SD and microSD card readers have also never failed me and are perfect for transferring files from cameras, voice recorders, phones, and even gaming systems like the Nintendo Switch.

Lastly, transfering data via the non-Thunderbolt USB-C port has been lightning fast. Even without the 40GBs per second that Thunderbolt allows your, the 10 GBS per second of the USB-C port is more than enought to transfer videos, photos, and other large file formats with relative ease. Plus, the USB-A ports are both 3.0, meaning you can enjoy the up to 5GBs per second speeds through those ports, and you never have to chose which accessories of your get the better connection.

Wi-Fi is the only option

Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter: What I Don't Like

Anker Usb C Hub Close UpSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

Technically, there's nothing I don't like about the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter; however, I know my workflow isn't a one size fit all. Yes, the fact is the adpater takes up two USB-C ports of the MacBook, and that could be a sticking point, but I have to imagine that the lack of Ethernet port is probably a bigger pain point for some.

I'm lucky enough to have very good Wi-Fi — living in a small apartment really helps — but I also don't require a wired internet connection to get any work done or to complete any personal projects I may work on. If the Anker PowerExpand Direct came with an Ethernet port, you would hear my yelling from the rooftops about how its the absolute best USB-C hub for literally anyone with a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.

It's important to keep in mind that likely the lack of Ethernet port is at least part of the reason the adapter is as slim and compact as it is, but without the inclusion of a Ethernet port, it just won't work for some people.

A fantastic USB-C hub for most people

Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter: The Bottom Line

As it stands, the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter is an abolsutel incredible USB-C hub for most MacBook Air and MacBook Pro owners. With enough high-quality ports that offer solid connections and great transfer speeds, its made using my MacBook a 100 times more enjoyable and care-free than my life before I started using the PowerExpand Direct.

4.5 out of 5

It does have a couple of limitations to keep in mind. No Ethernet port means you won't be able to run a hard-wired internet connection, and it can only be connected to one 5K external display at a time. I say with a fair amount of confidence that these limiations won't matter for the average person, but certain people might have a hard time finding the PowerExpand Direct as useful as I do.

All that being said, I can't recommend the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter highly enough. It's portability, combined with the awesome design and amount of ports it offers, makes it one of the best USB-C hubs for your MacBook you can buy. Plus, its $60 price tag is very resonable for a hub this useful. If you're in the market for a USB-C hub, I can't think of a better buy for most people.

Connect all the things!

Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter

Bottom line: I have yet to find a USB-C hub that fits my workflow and lifestyle better than the Anker PowerExpand Direct 7-in-2 USB-C Adapter. It's incredibly portable, has all the connections you need to plug in all sorts of devices and accessories, and it can support two displays (through HDMI and USB-C), making it paramount to get work done whether you're at your primary workstation, or out of the office.

Pros

  • USB-C that supports 100W power delivery
  • Two USB-A 3.0 port
  • HDMI port
  • SD Card and microSd card readers
  • Slim design that hugs your MacBook

Cons

  • No ethernet port
  • Uses two USB-C ports

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