It is quite clear that USB-C is the future for wired connectivity, but Apple Apple’s decision to go all-in and only offer a single USB-C port and nothing else on its MacBooks was controversial as it forced Mac users to carry around an annoying number of dongles.
The more dongles you have to carry the more likely it is you lose one of them just when you need it to connect up your laptop for an important presentation. But luckily, a number of tech firms have come to the rescue by bundling all the connectivity you might need into a single USB-C hub device – saving you from dongle hell.
Look & feel
The GN30H is a sleek aluminium alloy device with curved edges and comes in silver, space grey, gold and rose gold to match the colour of your MacBook. It connects to your laptop via a white USB-C cable, with the ethernet port on the other end giving a little bulge of white plastic.
The hub feels well-built in the hand and from a size perspective I don’t know how anyone could fit any more ports into something so small – it somewhat makes me wonder why Apple couldn’t just include more ports on its MacBooks, but that’s beside the point.
This hub is all about connectivity, and comes with the following ports:
- HDMI (full-size) with a built in video adaptor that supports 4K/30Hz and 1080P/60Hz
- USB-A (3.0) x 3 for quick data transfers with speeds of up to 5Gbps
- Gigabit Ethernet port for speeds of up to 1000Mbps
- USB-C with support for USB Power Delivery (USB PD), which means your MacBook can be charging at full speed while simultaneously using any of the other ports for data transfer
It’s a pretty exhaustive list – I can’t remember the last time I used a port not offered here, so full marks for putting all the dongles you might want into a single portable device.
There’s no setup needed, this is a straight plug-and-play USB-C hub.
I have found myself making the most use of the USB-A (3.0) ports, so I can plug in memory sticks and still connect to an old non-WiFi printer that we still have kicking around, and the results are just as you would hope – superfast USB 3.0 data transfer speeds.
The ethernet port is also a lifesaver for those times when you’re in a shared office and the WiFi is patchy at best – just grab an ethernet cable and plug directly into the router – something which I have always done with my ThinkPad, but Apple just doesn’t seem to think people still do.
The SD card and MicroSD card readers worked well and read the memory card from any phone or camera we threw at them, but if you re anything like me then you will only use this port about once a year.
The real surprise for me in this hub was the HDMI support. Most the time I want to throw something up on the TV I will Chromecast the stream, but there are numerous occasions when that just isn’t an option, with bad WiFi often being the cause, and that is where this hub is a lifesaver.
If you are doing a presentation and need to plug into the projector or anything like that, then Apple’s decision not to include an HDMI port will have caused you much frustration – and the GN30H works like a charm getting that screen mirrored at either 4K/30Hz or 1080P/60Hz.
If you have an Apple MacBook or Google Pixel and find yourself continually frustrated that your beautiful new laptop can’t connect to all your peripherals, then the QacQoc fixes all those problems at once. Maybe this will give me the nudge I need to upgrade my ageing ThinkPad workhouse to something a little more lightweight but lacking in ports.
Price at time of review: £79.99 (currently on sale at Amazon for £59.99)