Plugable 7-in-1 USB 3.0 Hub review: solid USB-A options, but not much else

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The Plugable 7-in-1 USB 3.0 charging hub is an excellent way to add more USB-A ports to your setup, but it lacks other connectivity options like USB-C or HDMI.

The Plugable 7-in-1 hub is a no-frills way to expand your USB-A connectivity.
The Plugable 7-in-1 hub is a no-frills way to expand your USB-A connectivity.


Modern Macs focus on USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, so a hub is a great way to expand your peripheral options. If you only need a variety of USB-A ports, this hub by Plugable is a solid choice.

However, if you need additional ports, then you might be better served looking at another device.

Design

The simple, barebones design will fit in a professional office.
The simple, barebones design will fit in a professional office.


The Plugable hub is a no-frills device that aims only to do one job: offer more USB-A connectivity options to your desk setup. To that end, it accomplishes it well.

You won't win any style points with this hub, however. It's made from simple black plastic and sports a bare-bones design. For many users, this might be a plus, as it can easily fit into a professional office setting without drawing attention.

The Plugable 7-in-1 is 76.2 x 12.7 x 2.5 mm (3 x 5 x 1 inches). It weighs a mere 0.3 pounds -- so it feels surprisingly lightweight in hand.

The lack of heft is likely because the power supply is stored separately -- you'll need to plug in its extended 60W adapter for the device to function. That makes the Plugable ill-suited to be a grab-and-go portable hub. It can do it, but it's not as convenient as a more bag-friendly option.

Connectivity

The rear of the Plugable hub features a USB-B port and the power port.
The rear of the Plugable hub features a USB-B port and the power port.


As its name would suggest, the front side of the Plugable 7-in-1 USB hub features seven USB-A 3.0 ports. That's it.

All seven ports feature both data transfer and charging capabilities. Plugable says its dock can transfer data at speeds up to 5 Gbps. The ports can also deliver 60W of charging power at 12V 5A.

Side note: the USB-A ports are all evenly spaced across the front and feature quite a bit of room between them. That makes plugging in bulkier adapters or cables a breeze.

On the rear side of the hub, you'll find a USB-B port for plugging into your laptop or desktop. The only other connectivity here is the hub's own power adapter port.

Performance

Alongside the power supply, the hub comes with a USB Type-B connector that attaches to your laptop via USB-A or USB-C.
Alongside the power supply, the hub comes with a USB Type-B connector that attaches to your laptop via USB-A or USB-C.


The Plugable 7-in-1 USB hub does what it says on the box: it offers expanded connectivity options with both charging and data transfer in mind.

It certainly nails that simple goal. In our testing, the Plugable featured good data transfer speeds and was able to charge a variety of Apple devices with its 60W output -- including an iPad, an iPhone 12 Pro, and an Apple Watch.

The plug-and-play functionality makes this a simple device to slot into your setup. Just plug it in, and it'll work fine from the start.

In addition to the power supply, the hub also comes with a USB-B to USB-A cable. The cable itself also features a dongle attachment for converting the USB-A connector to USB-C.

Should you buy the Plugable 7-in-1 USB Hub?

The Plugable 7-in-1 hub offers great USB-A capabilities, but not much else.
The Plugable 7-in-1 hub offers great USB-A capabilities, but not much else.


The Plugable hub performs admirably for its intended purpose. The dual data transfer and charging capabilities are top-notch here.

But, of course, unless you really need to expand your USB-A options, then it might not be the best choice for you. If you need HDMI ports or any USB-C connectivity, you'll be out of luck with the Plugable.

Also, keep in mind that the USB Type-B port that connects to your laptop doesn't feature pass-through charging for keeping your computer powered up.

Pros
  • Very lightweight
  • Dual data transfer and charging capabilities
  • Transfer speeds are great, charging performs admirably
  • No-frills design will fit in an office environment
Cons
  • Power supply is heavy and not the most portable
  • No USB-C, HDMI, or DisplayPort options
  • USB-B connector doesn't offer pass-through charging

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Where to buy it

The Plugable 7-in-1 USB charging hub is available from Amazon for $48.95 or Plugable's website.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,119member
    Why does the reviewer list items that are not supposed to be installed as "Cons"?
    My Tesla doesn't have a catalytic converter, is that a "Con"?
    edited August 2021 crowleyelijahgdarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 11
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    Why does the reviewer list items that are not supposed to be installed as "Cons"?
    My Tesla doesn't have a catalytic converter, is that a "Con"?
    I can see how having modern ports that aren’t nearly 25 years old could benefit the hub. I can’t see how a catalytic converter could benefit a Tesla.

    This hub is like Tesla selling a stand-alone catalytic converter when the market has moved on.
    StrangeDaysscstrrf
  • Reply 3 of 11
    I'd love to see more USB hubs with 10Gbps ports. A combo of USB-A and USB-C ports would be nice. Ideally with a Thunderbolt 3 connection to the computer for 40Gbps total bandwidth. I already have all my monitors and ethernet etc. plugged into a Thunderbolt dock on my desk. I just would like a fast USB hub to plug in a lot of extra USB SSDs + hard drives. Why is this so hard to find? Sonnet, OWC, someone please make a good affordable portable 10Gbps USB hub!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 11
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,781member
    mcdave said:
    Why does the reviewer list items that are not supposed to be installed as "Cons"?
    My Tesla doesn't have a catalytic converter, is that a "Con"?
    I can see how having modern ports that aren’t nearly 25 years old could benefit the hub. I can’t see how a catalytic converter could benefit a Tesla.

    This hub is like Tesla selling a stand-alone catalytic converter when the market has moved on.
    This is a USB-A hub, of course it only has USB A ports. This is like being disappointed that a CD drive won't read floppy disks. The other invalid "con" is that it won't charge a laptop from the USB-B port. USB-B can't and should not ever provide power. It's a downstream port, providing power to the host isn't in the USB spec. Would you say it's a con that a Mac with USB-A ports won't charge from an iPhone for example?
    baconstangdarkvaderscstrrf
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Had those been all USB C 3.1 plugs, the hub would sell like hotcakes.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,492member
    I have the previous version of this product, which appears to be (nearly) physically identical with identical functional and performance characteristics. Mine has a small power on/off push-button button in the back (why?) and the pilot LED and case labeling is slightly different (it says "USB 3.0 7-Port Hub with Charging" under the brand logo). I bought it in June 2016 and it's been working reliably for 5 years so far. It's not exactly bleeding edge but it's lived up to its claims, and in my case, it replaced a competing product that failed to work reliably.
    scstrrfwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 11
    I don’t consider the cons, actual cons. With all the complaints about the iMac being USB-C only and not enough ports, I’d consider this a win. For about $50 you get seven USB-A ports and a dongle to plug in to the iMac. Apple’s dongle is about $20. 
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 11
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,935member
    elijahg said:
    mcdave said:
    Why does the reviewer list items that are not supposed to be installed as "Cons"?
    My Tesla doesn't have a catalytic converter, is that a "Con"?
    I can see how having modern ports that aren’t nearly 25 years old could benefit the hub. I can’t see how a catalytic converter could benefit a Tesla.

    This hub is like Tesla selling a stand-alone catalytic converter when the market has moved on.
    This is a USB-A hub, of course it only has USB A ports. This is like being disappointed that a CD drive won't read floppy disks. The other invalid "con" is that it won't charge a laptop from the USB-B port. USB-B can't and should not ever provide power. It's a downstream port, providing power to the host isn't in the USB spec. Would you say it's a con that a Mac with USB-A ports won't charge from an iPhone for example?
    Nonsense. It’s a USB hub. That it only has USB-A was a functional design decision, but certainly not the only way to do it — they certainly could have included both port types. Aren’t you people constantly getting butthurt about Apple’s functional design decisions? Oh yeah, you are. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 11
    ciacia Posts: 262member
    I feel like this is a $20...maybe $30 product for what it offers.  $50 seems high for a super basic USB Hub.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,492member
    cia said:
    I feel like this is a $20...maybe $30 product for what it offers.  $50 seems high for a super basic USB Hub.
    If you dig deeper you’ll find that a lot of the cheaper hubs don’t support smart charging on all of the ports. Some of them only support smart charging on one or two ports. This isn’t a product that’s going to generate a lot of excitement, but if you run into issues or if the compromises of cheaper and truly super-basic products get in your way, the few dollars you save will not seem like a bargain anymore.. 
    edited August 2021 scstrrfbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 11
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,927member
    elijahg said:
    mcdave said:
    Why does the reviewer list items that are not supposed to be installed as "Cons"?
    My Tesla doesn't have a catalytic converter, is that a "Con"?
    I can see how having modern ports that aren’t nearly 25 years old could benefit the hub. I can’t see how a catalytic converter could benefit a Tesla.

    This hub is like Tesla selling a stand-alone catalytic converter when the market has moved on.
    This is a USB-A hub, of course it only has USB A ports. This is like being disappointed that a CD drive won't read floppy disks. The other invalid "con" is that it won't charge a laptop from the USB-B port. USB-B can't and should not ever provide power. It's a downstream port, providing power to the host isn't in the USB spec. Would you say it's a con that a Mac with USB-A ports won't charge from an iPhone for example?
    Except it’s not called a USB-A hub, it’s marketed as a USB 3 hub;
    https://plugable.com/products/usb3-hub7c
    so the article writer’s criticism about only supporting redundant port formats is valid. It’s like  marketing a digital in-car entertainment system - CD only.
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