Satechi Type-C USB Hub adds ports, flexibility to 12-inch MacBook

Satechi Type-C USB Hub. Photo ©2015 Steven Sande

Satechi Type-C USB Hub. Photo ©2015 Steven Sande

Although the 12-inch Retina MacBook is the only Apple product that currently uses the Type-C USB port, there are a surprising number of accessories being launched to make the little laptop a lot more usable. Today we're looking at the Satechi Type-C USB Hub (US$39.99 MSRP, available on Amazon for $34.99 -- affiliate link). 


My first surprise came when I saw the box that the Type-C USB Hub came in; this thing is quite small, just 3.25 x 0.9 x 0.3 inches and weighing just 0.6 ounces (15 grams). There's just one USB Type-C connector on it, and that plugs into the MacBook. The hub comes in three different finishes; silver, gunmetal, and gold. 

The second surprise was just how much is packed into something the size of small pack of gum. There are three USB 3.0 ports to connect to your favorite accessories, an SD card reader and a microSD card reader. The latter two finally make it possible for photographers to load photos from DSLRs into the 12-inch MacBook since it doesn't have an SD slot.

Satechi Type-C USB Hub. Photo©2015, Steven Sande

Satechi Type-C USB Hub. Photo©2015, Steven Sande

There's just one tiny blue LED on top of the device to let you know when you have a solid connection to the MacBook. 


The Type-C USB Hub works as advertised, provided that you don't have a shell of some sort protecting your MacBook. I use a Moshi iGlaze 12 to keep my MacBook spotless, but had to take it off in order to get the hub to connect.

Once plugged in, the tiny blue LED turns on. At that point I tested it with a number of USB devices including a USB 3.0 flash drive and a few USB microphones, and all worked perfectly. The card readers worked well for both microSD and SD cards. I did find it odd that I had to turn the card "upside down" (label up) to place it in the slot. 

The only downside I can see with the Satechi Type-C USB Hub is that it does not feature a USB Type-C "in" port for passing through power, so when you plug in the hub, you're always going to be operating off of battery power. If Satechi really wanted to make this a useful hub, they'd have provided a way to charge the MacBook while using the hub.


The Satechi Type-C USB Hub is quite useful for connecting USB devices and SD cards to a 12-inch MacBook, but the perplexing lack of a Type-C power port really limits the usefulness of this accessory. For those who do most of their MacBook work off of the battery, then this is a reasonably-priced and useful accessory. However, if you would like to connect your MacBook to HDMI monitors and Gigabit Ethernet as well, and want the computer to get charged while you're working, it would be smart to wait for the OWC USB-C Dock. 

Apple World Today Rating (out of five stars): ★★★