STM USB-C Hubs Review: MacBook And Windows Laptop Users Shouldn't Look Any Further
The thing with most modern-day computing devices is that the pursuit towards simplicity has meant a bit of complication when it comes to the availability of ports. The Microsoft Surface Go that you may have been eyeing has just one USB-C port, the MacBook Air that you may so covet would probably have a couple of USB-C ports and that in a nutshell is the direction we are headed in. This makes getting the right accessories quite necessary. Therefore, when the STM Media Hub and the STM Hub with LAN landed on my desk, they were immediately ticking off the boxes of relevance.
STM Goods started out in Australia in 1998 and has an extensive presence in the US, Asia Pacific and Europe. The STM USB-C Media Hub is priced at Rs 5,499 while the STM USB-C Hub is priced at Rs 2,999 and both of these are available on Amazon India.
Let us look at the USB-C Media Hub first. What you get are two full-fledged USB 3.0 ports (each with 5Gbps data transfer speeds), one USB-C port (this is the PD 3.0 port with maximum 5Gbps data transfer speeds), one HDMI port which can do 4K video up to 30Hz, one SD card slot and one TF card slot. It is built well dressed in aluminum and there is that reassuring solidity to it. You’d probably find this relevant for a bunch of usage scenarios.
The one that a lot of users will probably encounter more often than not is the requirement to plug in external storage drives to your PC or laptop. This is ticked off with the two USB ports you will have at your disposal. Then there is the dual-purpose USB-C port on the hub. Basically, you connect the Hub with a USB-C cable connected with a wall socket—then connect this hub to the laptop and also connect a smartphone to the hub—and what you will get is fast charging delivered to both devices. Remember, you will need a fast charging capable adapter plugged into the wall socket for this to work seamless, but if that is sorted, the STM USB-C Media Hub is very much compatible. And then there is the HDMI port that will make it a breeze to connect your laptop with projectors, external displays and televisions. And not to forget the memory card slots, something that photography enthusiasts would perhaps find most relevant.
The STM USB-C Media Hub is compatible with Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 7, different builds of Linux and Apple’s macOS. This worked seamlessly with our Microsoft Surface computing device as well as the Apple MacBook Pro. I have to say I am quite confident that this will also be compatible with the upcoming iPadOS for the Apple iPad and Apple iPad Pro devices—the iPadOS in all its focus on towards becoming a proper computing platform adds support for external storage devices, and thereby these hubs will become relevant.
In terms of the competition, there is the Moarmouz Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Hub that offers two USB ports, a USB-C port and an HDMI port, but no card readers—and this is priced at Rs 6,499.
Then there is simpler yet perhaps equally important USB-C Hub. The idea behind this accessory is to give you three more USB ports as well as the option to connect to the internet connection wherever you are, via the wired LAN option. The hub itself connects to your laptop via a small but very flexible cable. There are many such hubs selling on various online shopping websites which attach directly to your MacBook or laptop, but the STM USB-C Hub and its cable implementation adds a lot of ease of use as well. The build quality is similarly robust, and the fit and finish is great. The RJ45 connector offers that reassuring click every time you plug in LAN cable—we specifically mention this because a lot of cheaper USB-C to RJ45 adapters tend to not have the perfect fit when the cable is connected, and that can lead to very annoying connectivity dropouts every time there is even the slightest movement. Safe to say, the STM quality shows through.
In terms of competition, there is the Vention USB C Hub Multiport Adapter which also adds three USB ports and a RJ45 port and is priced at Rs 4,428 on Amazon India.
Between the USB-C Hub and the Media Hub, your choice will depend on how important memory card slots are for your workflow, whether you need the RJ45 option for LAN connectivity. Either way, both products delivered on a seamless and uncomplicated user experience, across a variety of devices and platforms. A must have accessory for your office and travel kits.