Aug 29th, 2020 publishUpdated   Aug 31st, 2020, 10:27 am

These days, laptops have a tiny selection of ports. While there are still laptops out there that offer everything, most thin laptops have done away with things like HDMI, Ethernet, and even a lot of the USB ports. A 2017 MacBook had a single USB-C port, and it also doubled as the charging port! If you’re charging it, you can’t use any external devices.

For this reason, most people with modern laptops use USB hubs. Plug one into a USB port and expand what you can do with your laptop. You can gain USB-A ports, video out ports, and even SD card readers with these hubs. But Lauco developed what they believe to be the ultimate hub, and we have to agree with them.

This is the Lauco 12-in-1 USB-C hub, and it’s packed with features. Plug it into a USB-C port on your laptop and you get a USB-PD in (supporting up to 100 watts), two USB-C 3.0 5Gbps ports, three USB-A 3.0 5Gbps ports, an SD UHS-1 reader, a microSD UHS-1 reader, dual 4K60 HDMI ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, and a 10 watt wireless charger on top.

That’s an insane amount of ports. And best of all, some of them are a lot more functional than other hubs on the market. Most hubs only support 4K30 output, and using a computer at a 30 Hz refresh rate is painful. This hub supports 4K60 via one output or 4K30 across two. Lower resolutions of course will be fine.

As for power, the 100W USB-PD input will distribute up to 85 watts to your laptop, 10 watts to the wireless charger, and 5 watts to other ports. This does mean that you’ll need a more powerful charger if you’re using the stock 65W brick that came with your laptop, but this isn’t absolutely necessary. 50 watts is actually plenty for most laptops, even during heavy use. However, you have the option of getting a lot more juice out of it if necessary.

On top, you’ll find a slab of glass (unfortunately lacking an oleophobic coating), and this is your wireless charging pad. Throw your phone on it and get up to 10 watts of power, meaning you can charge your phone while using your laptop. And if you’re not plugged into a wall, it will deliver 5 watts just from your laptop port. And best of all, you can use it as a standalone wireless charger when it’s not connected to your phone.

If you have a phone that supports a PC mode via DisplayPort out, you can also use this hub for this. Devices like Huawei can do this, and it allows you to both connect to a large display and plug in peripherals to use your phone as a laptop replacement on the go.

As for build quality, the Lauco hub is extremely solid and feels premium. The shell is made out of aluminum and has no sharp edges at all. The color finish is also really nice and looks high quality (if you’ve seen cheap anodizing you’ll know what I mean). The rubber feet at the bottom are very grippy and keep the hub in place for when it’s charging your phone.

Inside the box, you’ll find the hub itself, a nice blue drawstring bag to store it in (though the color is a bit flashy), and a 9-inch USB-C to USB-C cable that supports up to USB 3.1 Gen2 data rates and 100W of charging. This is the cable you’ll use between the hub and your laptop, and it’s really nice. It’s thick, beefy, and braided, yet flexible enough not to bend the port when it’s tightly flexed.

The Lauco hub is currently in its Kickstarter phase, but this is a company that already has products on the market so it should not be an issue. You can grab this 12-in-1 hub for 40% off at $89. There’s also an 8-in-1 version that skips the second HDMI port, the Ethernet port, two of the USB-A ports for just $69. And best of all, it’s substantially smaller. The larger one is 124mm x 78.2mm while the smaller one is 90mm x 58mm. I’d get the smaller one just for the space savings, if you can live with just one USB-A port.

local_offer    hub  laptop  Travel  USB  USB-C