USB-C is mostly a good thing, but during this transitional phase—when so many existing (and currently shipping) accessories use old-school USB-A connectors—USB-C can be a pain. If you need a hub that connects to a computer’s USB-C port to give you an array of USB-A ports for connecting those devices that aren’t yet hip to the new standard, AUKEY has an affordable option.
A few years back I reviewed AUKEY’s 3-port USB hub and found it was a solid value: all the functionality I needed in an attractive design and at a bargain price.
The company sent me a 4-port USB hub with a USB-C connector earlier this year, but I didn’t have any USB-C computers to try it out with. That changed when ASUS loaned me a ZenBook S for a long-term review (you can read the review of the laptop here if you’re interested). Like Apple’s MacBooks, the ZenBook S goes all-in on USB-C with no legacy ports.
The AUKEY Hub is a 4.5-inch x 1.5-inch chunk of aluminum with four USB-A ports, each with USB 3.0 speed (up to 5 Gbps). There’s a small blue LED power indicator, and a 10-inch white cable terminates in a USB-C connector.
I connected the hub to the ZenBooK S and had instant access to the USB accessories I’d previously been unable to use—primarily thumb drives and an external hard drive for backups. No need for a power adapter (the computer’s USB-C port provides the power) and no drivers had to be installed. The hub also successfully charged an external battery pack I plugged into one of its USB ports.
There are USB-C hubs that provide a wider range of ports, including Ethernet, HDMI, and SD card slots, but they’re also considerably more expensive. If all you need is some plain, old-fashioned USB-A ports, the AUKEY hub goes for about $30 direct from the manufacturer. The company has what looks to be an updated version of this hub with USB 3.1 ports and Space Gray aluminum on Amazon for $20, and if you’re willing to skip the aluminum for a black plastic enclosure, that drops to just 15 bucks.
Disclosure: AUKEY provided a hub for evaluation but had no input into this review.