Plugable 5-in-1 hub3.0 / 5
Plugable has launched the USB-C 5-in-1 hub hub that is both affordable and small in size — but it's not much of an upgrade to a MacBook other than the Ethernet port.
The company's latest product is the 5-in-1 USB-C hub that expands a MacBook's capabilities with a few extra ports. It sits perfectly aligned with the host Mac, and a cutout allows access to the MagSafe charging port.
The hub is created explicitly for the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. It has a Gigabit Ethernet port, an audio jack, two USB 3.0 ports, and a fully functional USB4 port.
It can link an external display with a capacity of up to 6K at 60Hz, transferring data at a rate of up to 40Gbps, and allowing the charging of either the Mac at up to 100W or other devices such as phones or tablets up to 15W. Users can connect their MacBook to any USB-C, Thunderbolt, or USB4 device using the USB-C port.
The 3.5mm audio jack is a combination port with an analog audio input and output in a single port. A user can plug in a microphone, headphones, or a headset with a microphone and headphones into the combo port.
The hub's ports
As you can see, the ports on Plugable's hub are limited and don't offer much extra functionality. It requires two USB-C ports to plug into the MacBook.
Two connectors make sense because it adds stability and less wiggling, but that means it replaces two USB-C ports with one USB-C and two USB-A ports. Since the MacBook has three USB-C ports, we're now down to two — one on each side.
That's great for people with cables and other accessories with USB-A connectors, but people who primarily have USB-C gadgets will feel left out.
The port that some people may find helpful is the Ethernet port, which modern MacBooks lack. However, since Plugable's hub isn't expensive, you could buy it purely as an Ethernet adapter and think of the other ports as a bonus.
Otherwise, the hub has the same features that our 2023 MacBook Pro does, with audio, Thunderbolt 4 speeds, and handling an external display at up to 6K at 60Hz over Thunderbolt. The hub would be even more limited if it weren't for the cutout with room for the MagSafe cable.
Plugable 5-in-1 hub - Pros
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- Cutout for MagSafe cable
- Audio jack that can handle headphones and microphones
Plugable 5-in-1 hub - Cons
- Only one USB-C port
- The USB-A ports that replace USB-C aren't even high-speed
Rating: 3 out of 5
Plugable 5-in-1 hub — Pricing & Availability
The 5-in-1 Hub from Plugable is available through Amazon for $32.95