The next wave of cool phone accessories is coming. USB 3.1 and Type-C are opening a lot of doors to what phones can now do. Now we’re getting a lot of accessories that leverage these new features and we’re going to check one of those today, the Insignia 4-Port USC Type-C Hub.
Physically the hub is a black rectangle with an attached, non-removable USB Type-C cable on one end and four USB ports spread out on two of the three the sides. To the right of the cable sits two USB Type-C ports and one USB 3.0 Type-A port. On the opposite end of the cable sits another USB 3.0 USB Type-A port.
The build is unremarkable. The body consists of cheap plastic with plenty of space in the body to make it feel hollow. The attached USB Type-C cable is shielded much like every other cable you could buy on Amazon, nothing special but it will do the trick. There are rubber feet on the bottom that easily fall off and hide the screws keeping the dock together. I don’t doubt that this can stand up being thrown in a bag and taken with you on trips (because that’s what I do) but it’s certainly not the most premium products I’ve ever held.
The hub features up to 5 Gbps data transfer speeds. This is useful if you’re transferring files from your computer to another device that only accepts USB Type A. The killer feature though is the ability to charge other’s phones. I constantly have my friends with less than stellar battery life asking for a charger. In fact, I’m charging a friend’s iPhone as I write this, earlier I charged a Samsung Galaxy S5. It’s much more convenient for me to carry this dock and a small cable and plug them in. You can still use your phone while you’re charging someone else’s phone, but it’s a bit cumbersome. Plan on your phone sitting on a table next to theirs for the duration of the charge.
The hub is super useful. I love being able to connect to other phones out in the wild whether that’s to charge them up or transfer over a file quickly. The Insignia USB Type-C hub bridges that gap. The next accessory I plan to pick up is a USC Type-C to HDMI adapter so I can hook my phone up to my TV to watch movies instead of relying on my Chromecast and unreliable internet (thanks Time Warner).
You can grab the Insignia 4-Port USB Type-C Hub at Best Buy for $30. Is it worth $30? It depends on how much you’re going to end up using it. There are cheaper options out there to be had and some with other features like card readers in them, but you’re going to be paying in the price range of $15 – $45 for all of these offerings. I think if you’re willing to shell out the cash this hub from Insignia isn’t a bad option at all.