1. USB-C hubs with pass-through charging
USB-C connectors and hubs came onto the market shortly after the MacBook launched, but there’s a now much wider range of cheaper third-party alternatives to Apple’s official adaptors – and two of the most vital ones just launched at CES 2016.
California-based companies Satechi and Hyper both unveiled USB-C-powered 5-in-1 Hubs, which bring back two USB 3.0 (Type A) ports while adding a microSD slot, an SD slot and a USB-C port that supports pass-through charging for the first time. In my current setup, I would insert a 5-in-1 hub first and then connect my other USB-C adapter that provides HDMI, USB-A and USB-C. For the first time, I would be able to hook up my external monitor, a wired mouse, wired keyboard, USB thumb drive, micoSD and SDcards, in addition to a charger, by connecting one small adapter into the side of the machine.
Before you begin to scream “uni-port apologist!” at me, no: it’s not a particularly elegant setup. However, it is relatively tidy, fast and makes having a single USB port less of an issue – plus the two adapters slip snugly into my MacBook’s carry case.