##Anker Premium 5-in-1 USB-C Hub - We Love Testing Review
I was one of the lucky recipients of the We Love Testing for Anker’s Premium 5-in-1 USB-C hub. I spent a few days with the little device accompanying my and my MacBook Pro, trying my best to put the hub through its paces. My testing angle was trying to stimulate two months worth of usage into two weeks, with way more plugging and unplugging then a normal usage would.
The hub comes in the traditional indistinct Anker white/blue box. Nothing to see here. Moving along.
Once again, I got fooled by products images without context. Even knowing the size of a USB-A plug and SD card, thus being able to infer the size of the device, when I finally had it in my hands it was smaller than I expected - which means that it’s also more portable than I expected. The little box has an aluminum top with the Anker logo, and a slick polycarbonate body where the ports are. It might not look as good as Anker’s 7-in-1 Premium USB-C hub with its all-aluminum casing, but it doesn’t mean it’s ugly. On the contrary, it’s stylish enough without being to flashy. It’s a better look than other brand’s offerings which are very plasticky. On the side with the two USB-A ports there’s a ring that lights up once the hub is plugged in. It’s very subtle. The short cable is very sturdy, even more so than other Anker cables.
Ports on the other side
Everyone knows that it’s what’s inside that matters. The hub has the brains to fill several needs - with a few caveats, more on that later. The USB ports are capable of power delivery, which should be enough to power a portable HD. The HDMI port can output 30Hz 4K, and the SD/MicroSD card ports should be able to receive most cards you put in it. Missing, if you want to be picky, are a USB-C port with power passthrough and an ethernet port. But that’s only if you really want everything plugged into the same hub, which I don’t think is a good idea, but I know there are people with no other option but to use the single USB-C port at their disposal for everything. So, let’s see all those ports working.
Can the hub handle it all?
To put the hub through its paces, I used every connection at the same time. Unfortunately, I don’t have a 4K monitor or TV to test it with 4K video, but I don’t believe the results would be different. Here’s what I had connected, and which kind of data was going through each one:
- FHD monitor, running alongside the notebook’s screen.
- 16GB Class 10 UHS-I SD-HC card, copying about 5GB of RAW+JPG photos to a thumb drive
- 32GB Class 10 UHS-I Micro SD-HC card, copying about 15GB of 4K videos to Portable HD
- USB 3.0 portable HD, receiving the 4K video
- 3.0 USB thumb drive, receiving the photos
Unlike Anker’s 2-in-1 card reader, the MicroSD cards go almost all the way in, with the familiar click we came to expect from the tiny cards. And almost is really important, because it gives you just the right amount of space to click it out easily. The SD card, on the other hand, stays almost half out. And, like the dedicated card reader, the MicroSD card enters upside down.
I started by copying the photos, which proved to be a mistake. It’s fast, so by the time I got around to copying the videos, the photos were almost over… So I deleted the files and started with the videos, which allowed me a little more time. I won’t go over technical details on data throughput because 1)I don’t know how to get them; 2) ultimately it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it’s fast. About as fast as if you were using each device connected to a different port directly on your computer. So, for most daily use, you should be perfectly satisfied. After a few rounds of this copying, though - I ran it a few times - the hub got a little warm. I would say that an intense day-long use like this wouldn’t be recommended. But, then again, if you need to use it all day long, maybe you should look for another solution.
####An important caveat
It’s important to notice that the functions on this hub - or any USB-C hub for that matter - are entirely dependent on the host computer’s capability. I plugged the hub to my work computer, which has a USB-C port, and I was greeted with a warning that the display might nor work. That’s because the USB-C port on my work computer is an USB 3.1 Gen 1, and it don’t have DisplayPort capabilities, meaning the HDMI port won’t work. So, if you are buying this hub counting on its HDMI port, be sure to check your computer’s tech specs. Don’t go blaming the hub if the HDMI don’t work. It’s the same with powering USB-A devices like external HDs: the USB-C port on the computer must be able to deliver power - again, not the case of my work computer.
It comes with this nice pouch. You should use it.
I originally intended to put the hub through a “in-and-out” test on my backpack loaded with the items I carry every day, including my computer. But I forgot the hub comes with a nice pouch, which grants protection and is easy enough to use that I didn’t feel the need to continue with the test. Still, I carried it without the pouch a couple of days, throwing it in my bag without much worry - and again, it’s not my normal behaviour. There are a few minor scratches in the casing, not nearly enough to be a problem. With the pouch, you are pretty much granted zero scratches, and there’s no excuse not to use the pouch. It adds virtually no bulk to the hub and handles the cord.
All in all, it’s a nice hub to have with your computer at all times, and it may even be the only hub some people need. If your computer only has one USB-C port, which is also used for power, then you should bear in mind that you won’t be able to charge your computer while using this particular model.
Since I can plug it beside another occupied USB-C port, I found myself using it as a card reader more than my dedicated Anker 2-in-1 USB-C card reader, which demands no neighbour device is plugged. This in itself is a testament of the benefit such a hub can bring to one’s life.
It’s currently listed at Amazon.ca for 49.99CAD - 29.99USD at Amazon.com down from normal price of 45.99USD at the time of this writing. It’s a fair price, but if you can invest a little more money, you can get a few more advantages, including USB-C ports with power delivery.
_A link to this review was poster to my Twitter: https://twitter.com/tiagomota79/status/1114498408419594245_