Bottom line: Combine data transfer and charging with this one compact seven-port hub.
Seven USB-A ports
Both data transfer and charging in every port
Compact and stackable
Can be used as a charging station without a computer
Only USB-A ports
No pass-through charging for MacBook
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When Apple removed the USB-A port (and other ports) from the MacBook lineup, many of us were upset. While not the most elegant solution, a great USB-C hub takes care of the issue and actually lets you personalize your MacBook's ports to suit your own needs. My 13-inch MacBook Pro has four USB-C ports, but the Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub gives me an additional seven USB-A ports that can be used for both charging and data transfer.
Plugable's 7-Port Data and Charging Hub offers data transfer and full charging capability in all seven USB-A ports. The hub is stackable, so you can stack a number of them together and still have full access to every port.
The plug that goes into your computer has both a USB-C and a USB-A port so that it can be plugged into older Macs (and non-Apple computers) with USB-A ports and newer ones with USB-C ports. If you don't need the data transfer feature, you can use this UL-Certified 60W power adapter without plugging it into a computer and just use it as a charging station for up to seven items at once.
Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub: Price and availability
The Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub is available at Amazon, Walmart, Newegg, eBay, Insight, and Ingram. Plugable is currently running a $10 launch discount, making it $49 everywhere. The regular price will be $59.
Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub: What's good
Unlike some data and charging hubs, Plugable doesn't split duties between the ports. All seven USB-A ports do exactly the same thing, so you don't have to worry if you're putting your plug into the "right" port.
Plugable's 7-Port Data and Charging Hub comes with a 60-watt 12V 5A UL-Certified power adapter so that every device plugged into it gets as much power as it needs. The hub has smart charging circuits, so each device powers at its own maximum rate of up to 2.4A charging. The smart circuits also mean that you don't have to worry about overcharging.
I tried to dig up seven items to charge at once, but I could only find three: my iPhone 12 mini, 11-inch iPad Pro, and Kindle. All three charged up pretty quickly. Data transfer worked as expected.
I like the flexibility this hub offers. You don't even have to plug it into a computer if you're not in need of data transfer. Just plug it into any outlet, and you have a massive charging station. It's only massive in terms of its many ports and how much power it offers, not in size. It's rather compact, actually. And it's stackable, so if you needed a bunch of these in an office, for example, you could stack them right up, and all the ports are accessible.
Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub: What's not good
The obvious issue is that it ONLY offers USB-A ports. If you need to plug an HDMI cable, USB-C plug, SD card, Ethernet cable, or anything else, you're out of luck.
A reader reached out to me on Twitter looking for a hub that has many USB-A ports and offers pass-through charging for the MacBook. While this hub has plenty of ports, it does not charge your MacBook at all.
If I'm going to get nitpicky, while the hub itself is pretty compact, the power adapter is pretty bulky. This is to be expected for a hub that offers so much power, but it's something to be aware of if you have limited space.
Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub: Competition
The Satechi USB C Aluminum Multi-Port Adapter has many ports: SD and microSD card readers, 4K HDMI, Gigabit, and three USB-A ports. It offers up to 60W pass-through USB-C charging, so you don't have to sacrifice a USB-C port on the side of your MacBook.
The Anker USB C Hub for MacBook, PowerExpand Direct, is extremely compact. It plugs into both USB-C ports on the side of your MacBook. It has two USB-A ports, an HDMI port, a micro SD and SD card reader, a USB-C port for high-speed data transfer, and a USB-C port for up to 100 watts power delivery.
Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub: Should you buy it?
You should buy this if ...
- You need lots of USB-A ports
- You need both data transfer and charging in every port
- You want to be able to use it as an independent charging station
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You want other ports besides USB-A
- You need pass-through charging for your MacBook
- You don't have room for the chunky power adapter
If you're willing to give up a USB-C port on your MacBook and pass-through charging, you can get a whole lot of USB-A charging and data transfer with this one but small but powerful hub. If you need other ports such as an SD card reader or HDMI port, look elsewhere.
The Plugable 7-Port Data and Charging Hub is great for what it is: a stackable dual-use hub that offers full functionality (both data transfer and charging) on every single port. The included UL-Certified power adapter is capable of a massive 60 watts at 12V 5A so that every device plugged into it gets the necessary power. With smart charging circuits, each device powers at its own maximum rate up to 2.4A charging without overcharging. Don't need data transfer? You can just use it as a power station on its own. Keep in mind that it does not have a USB-C port for pass-through charging, nor does it offer any other kinds of ports like HDMI, Ethernet, or SD card readers.
Bottom line: Add seven powerful USB-A ports to your laptop for data transfer and charging.