While I didn’t get the
Baseus 8-in-1 USB hub
in time to include it on our list of the best USB hubs available, it’s a fairly solid choice if you’re looking for an easy, affordable way to expand your Mac, Windows, or Linux computer’s connectivity options. It features 3 USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C input, an HDMI port, two SD card reader slots, and an Ethernet port, making it more akin to a docking station than a simple hub. It also has a sleek, minimalist design that will blend in well with your setup no matter what kind of computer you use. Baseus has actually won multiple IF Design and Red Dot awards for their products almost every year since 2015. So if aesthetics are one of your priorities, Baseus has some top-notch product designs. And if you’re worried all of this means the hub is going to be expensive, you don’t have to be; this 8-port USB hub retails for $39.99 on Amazon and the official Baseus website.
- Connection storage slot
- Well-placed ports
- Great design
- USB read/write speeds slower than advertised
- USB-C port is for charging only
Setting up the Baseus 8-in-1 USB hub for the first time is as easy as taking it out of the box and plugging it into a free USB-C port on your computer. With plug-and-play compatibility, you don’t have to mess with downloading confusing driver files or navigating menus you’ve never known existed on your computer to configure the hub. The body of the hub has an LED light that lets you know when it’s drawing power from your computer, and it also illuminates the handy storage slot for the USB-C connection. The storage slot is a nice touch since damaged connections during storage or travel can cause major headaches, especially if you need the hub to connect devices for an important presentation or work project.
Also: Best cheap USB hub: Add more ports to your PC or Mac
USB read/write speeds
Each of the three USB 3.0 slots is backwards compatible with 2.0 flash drives and external hard drives, so you don’t have to worry about your old 8GB thumb drive not working when you plug it in. Baseus claims that you can get read and write speeds up to 500MB/s and 480MB/s with 3.0 and 2.0 drives, respectively. Unfortunately, my testing didn’t get anywhere near that. I used a
WD EasyStore 4TB
hard drive and a
32GB Gorilla Drive
flash drive and got up to 117MB/s and 29MB/s, respectively.
And while this isn’t even half of what Baseus promises in their product description, it’s still decent read and write speeds for transferring text files, photos, and videos. It took just a few minutes to move the folder of raw images I took for this review from my PC drive to a dedicated storage device and mere seconds for text file backups of my writing. So if you’re like me and keep an almost concerning amount of backup copies of projects on various storage devices, you won’t have to waste half a workday waiting for things to transfer.
As I mentioned above, this hub unit features multiple types of ports and connections for you to connect tons of devices. The SD and microSD slots are great for offloading photos from your camera, while the HDMI port lets you either mirror your laptop or mobile device screen or set up a secondary, 4K display when you need more room to work. Each port and input is also well-placed for easy access and quick connection/disconnection, meaning you won’t have to struggle with tangled cables or awkward positioning when you want to unplug your second monitor or connect an external hard drive.
Also: How to choose the right monitor layout for working from home
There is a USB-C port on the same side as the SD reader slots and HDMI port, but unfortunately, it’s only for charging devices; Baseus is very clear that the USB-C port is not capable of data transfer. And while this is a fairly big mark against the 8-in-1 hub, it does free up other USB-C ports on your computer that are capable of data transfer, letting you charge your phone or tablet while still being able to move around files. This design choice is an odd and confusing one because each of the USB 3.0 ports is capable of both data and power transfer. Whether it was a price or engineering issue, not having the option for data transfer over USB-C is disappointing.
For me, the biggest draw of this device was the built-in Ethernet port. My current home office setup relies on a
TaoTronics Tri-Band AC3000 mesh Wi-Fi system
to connect to the internet. And while it provides a better, more stable connection than a single Wi-Fi router for the whole home, it still can’t match the speeds you get with a hardwired Ethernet connection. So the Ethernet port was the first thing I tested, with my custom-built PC recognizing and connecting to the new network option automatically (which was a relief because nothing is more annoying than troubleshooting network connections). I then tested my new upload and download speeds as well as ping with the Ookla speed test website.
Over Ethernet, I got speeds up to 139Mbps, which is about double what I get over Wi-Fi. This is particularly helpful in my line of work when I have to download large files for reviews and product roundups or tune in to livestreams of press events; while no one can predict the whims of that fickle mistress, Spectrum, a hard Ethernet connection is a bit more reliable than a Wi-Fi router, and when you’re working on time-sensitive projects like breaking news, buffering streams or Wi-Fi outages can seriously derail your workflow.
Also: Best internet speed tests: How to measure your connection
While the Baseus 8-in-1 USB hub does have its flaws, they’re few and minor enough that its ease of use and convenience far outweighs them. If you’re looking for a connection hub that lets you do more than just plug in flash drives, this model is a good choice, especially if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on a full docking station.
The storage slot is great for protecting the USB-C computer connection from damage when you toss it in your laptop bag or desk drawer, and the LED indicator lets you see at-a-glance if the unit is actually plugged in. All of the different ports and slots are conveniently placed for easy access, and the compact design of the entire hub makes it perfect for smaller desks or working on-the-go.