Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub review: Fast connectivity for demanding users
Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub4.0 / 5
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If you're moving a lot of data around, you want more ports than the Mac tends to offer — and they have to be fast. Hyper's new hub aims to be just what you need.
This is not for you if your problem is that you need to connect multiple devices to your Mac, each with different connectors. Instead, it's for you if you are concerned specifically with Thunderbolt 4 devices, because that's all you can connect to this hub.
It's a four-power hub that is light and convenient enough to travel with, but is intended to used with desktops and which requires mains power. Unusually, though, it does not require a large power brick.
Hyper claims that this is because the Hyperdrive Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub is the "world's first... an integrated GaN power source." Using Gallium Nitride (GaN) means the hub can be quite small.
This hub is a little larger than the same company's mobile Thunderbolt 3 dock, and it feels much heavier. But it's small and it does not have a power brick trailing it.
Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub review - design
The hub is a 4.9-inch square device, which stands 1.2 inches tall. It's similar to the power adapter on a 14-inch MacBook Pro.
It weighs more, though, at 1.27lbs and it's a concentrated weight so it feels heavier than that. But then this also gives it a solid, hard-wearing feel.
This chassis is not going to get a lot of wear and tear from being carried around, although it is a dust magnet. But the four ports could see a great deal of action, with multiple SSD drives being connected or disconnected.
There is the power cable running into the back of the little device. That's surprisingly hard to push in, it feels as if you've oriented it the wrong way. And then it doesn't sit flush with the device.
That's presumably a limitation because of how much is inside the device, leaving little room for the power connection. But if it needs a good shove to get it in, it equally needs a strong tug to get it out again.
So once the drive is powered, that power cable is going to stay in.
Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub review - Connectivity
All of the hub's four ports are arranged on the front side, and divided into two types.
The first three are all Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, offering:
- 40Gb data downstream
- 15W power downstream a
So the hub can power peripherals you connect to it. That means devices such as SSD drives can be quickly plugged in or removed, which speeds up the whole process of moving terabytes of data around.
These ports are also able to be used for connecting Thunderbolt displays. Specifically, the hub can drive a single monitor at 5K, 6K, or 8K, that that maximum resolution getting a 30Hz refresh rate.
In theory, the same hub can instead drive two 4K monitors, and in that case the display gets up to a 60Hz rate.
In practice, the hub can drive two monitors, but only if the Mac can. Hyper notes that this Dual Extended Display feature, as they call it, is only available on the M1 Pro, M1 Max, or Intel-based MacBook Pro.
The fourth port
You fill up the first three Thunderbolt ports with a display, with portable storage, or so on, and the fourth connects to the MacBook. Port number 4 is a single upstream one that can provide up to 96W power delivery.
So as you use the hub, you can fast-charge devices up to the 14-inch MacBook Pro, or M2 MacBook Air.
It might be handier if this fourth port were on the side of the hub, so that it was away from the ports you keep swapping peripherals out of. But with the Mac mini, for instance, the design means you can bring the Thunderbolt ports to the front of the machine for ease of access.
Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub review - intended audience
The hub suits desktop users, or ones who chiefly use their MacBook Pro in the same place. It is easily transportable, but it works best as at least a semi-permanent fixture on your desk.
That way you can return from a shoot, for instance, and very quickly be transferring your footage to the Mac. At the same time, you could be backing up that Mac, too.
So it's really for people who need to store and move very large files, and to often work with them. It's not for people who would just occasionally like one more Thunderbolt port than their Mac provides.
This does mean that the Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub lacks the kind of extras like USB-A, HDMI, or SD card slots that would make it universally useful. But for its intended audience, especially with the lack of the normal power brick, the hub is good value.
For about $35 more, though, there is the OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock. It too lacks a power brick, but has more ports.
It's also larger, though, which means for some users the Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub may be the right combination of size, weight, price, and ports.
Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub - Pros
- Provides three 40Gb Thunderbolt 4 ports for peripherals
- Has one Thunderbolt 4 port for connect to the host Mac
- Does not need a separate, large power brick
- Can power peripherals and charge a MacBook Pro
Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub - Cons
- Only includes Thunderbolt 4 ports, nothing else
- Requires AC power so it's transportable, not portable
Rating: 4 out of 5
The Hyper Thunderbolt 4 Power Hub costs $299.99, direct from the Hyper website.