Review: Twelve South StayGo – Multi-port Wonder

Today’s laptops are faster, lighter, and sleeker. The only problem? It seems like most laptop manufacturers are forgetting one small yet incredibly important feature: USB ports.

The Twelve South StayGo USB-C Hub addresses this age-old problem by offering users not one, not two, but eight ports. The StayGo Hub is perfect for those who can remember the days when laptops came with USB-A, Ethernet, and HDMI ports. With this compact device, you will never run out of ports again.

Is the Twelve South StayGo USB-C Hub what your laptop needs? Read on to find out.

Design and Features
The StayGo looks like your standard USB hub. Its eight ports are arranged along one side, designed to allow cables to cascade from behind, keeping workspaces clutter-free. Unlike other gadget companies that aim to match the look of Apple products, the StayGo is shaped like a brick, with a pattern of gray dots in the middle to make it stand out against other USB hubs.

A noticeable feature is the StayGo’s weight. It’s not as heavy as a brick, but it is noticeably denser at six ounces. The best way to describe its design is that it looks similar to a portable charger. Measuring 4.94 x 2.44 x 0.53 inches, the StayGo is nowhere near massive, but it wouldn’t qualify as pocket-sized, either. It would be better to carry it around in a backpack.

Our favorite feature of the StayGo is its built-in cable. The USB hub features a narrow slot along one edge that contains a 4.25-inch USB-C to USB-C cable. This is ideal for users who always forget to bring their cables with them wherever they go. Similarly, Twelve South has included a one-meter cable that allows you to position the StayGo away from your computer without visibly cluttering your workspace.

The StayGo is made of aluminum material which helps the device remain cool to the touch. It also features tiny rubber “feet” at the bottom to keep it safely in place. Both the built-in and one-meter cables feel durable enough to withstand daily use.

Plenty of Ports
As mentioned before, the StayGo offers eight connections, including one for 4K HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, two for USB Type-A 3.0, one for USB-C 3.1 Pass-Through, one for USB Type-A BC 1.2 Fast Charge, one SD card slot, and one micro SD (TF) card slot.

The three USB Type-A ports are ultra-fast 5GB/s ports designed to accommodate USB 3.0 hard drives. One of the Type-A ports offers users the ability to fast charge their devices through its BC 1.2 7.5W (5V/1.5A) power output. The other two Type-A ports offer 900mA of power. Additionally, the USB 3.0 ports are backward-compatible, which means that you can plug in a USB 2.0 device into the port, and it will still function efficiently.

The Gigabit Ethernet port is designed to handle 10/100/1000 MB/s speeds, while the 4K HDMI port covers 4K x 2K resolutions at 30Hz. Both of the SD card slots are Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) ready, which may not appeal to videographers and photographers who are using SD cards that require a UHS-II rating.

Beside the built-in cable, you can find the only USB-C port on the StayGo. This can be plugged into a power source as it supports pass-through charging at up to 85W, which is enough to charge a MacBook Pro. The USB-C port can support a maximum of 100W — for pass-through, it consumes 15W and passes 85W to the device being charged. If you need to attach multiple cables at once while powering up your laptop, this is an absolute no-brainer.

One downside, however, is the StayGo’s inability to charge the iPad Pro. If you’re planning on using the Twelve South StayGo to charge your iPad Pro with its standard 18W charger, you will be better off plugging it directly into an outlet instead. Pass-through charging with the USB-C port requires a better charger.

The good news is that the StayGo is compatible with the iPad. The USB-C docks will automatically register as Mac accessories, which is useful if you intend on using the StayGo to connect your iPad with a TV. The StayGo comes in handy when you need to show PowerPoint slides, videos, and other presentations. Likewise, if you need faster internet speeds on your iPad, combining Gigabit Ethernet port and USB-C pass-through can give you hours of uninterrupted online gaming, streaming, and so on.

We tested all of the ports on a MacBook Pro. First, we tested each USB Type-A port on its own by transferring 10 GB worth of files, and sure enough, it held up to its claimed speed of 5 GB/s. Next, we used the 4K HDMI port to stream a pre-downloaded video onto our TV — it was crystal clear and delay-free. We then copied photos from a micro SD card onto our hard drive and encountered no problems. Finally, we charged the MacBook Pro with the USB-C pass-through port and got a full charge in less than three hours.
The Twelve South StayGo is priced at under $100 — okay, it costs $99.99. It’s definitely more expensive than other USB-C hubs with seven ports or higher. To compare, the Anker 7-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub is priced at $35.99 while the Anker 10 Port 60W Data Hub costs only $42.99. You can easily get yourself two USB-C hubs for the price of one StayGo, but for its build and quality, we doubt that you can find anything that can compare. We would rather buy a long-lasting USB-C hub that’s double the standard price than to go for cheaper alternatives that only last a little over a year.

The Twelve South StayGo has a higher price tag compared to similar USB-C hubs on the market, but its number of ports, especially the number of USB Type-A ports and the Gigabit Ethernet port, offers more flexibility for a variety of users. It’s undoubtedly the best choice if you want to avoid bringing multiple cables and card readers. The Twelve South StayGo has every port you could possibly need.

If you’re looking for a USB hub that’s portable, reliable, and durable, the StayGo is worth giving a try. It’s not going to look as sleek next to your MacBook, but it will offer you the speed and versatility that you need.

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