Review: Plugable Thunderbolt Dock – USB4-HUB3A
Plugable USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 HUB with 60w Host Charging and a USB 4.0 Port is deceivingly powerful despite its small size. It has the potential to take your PC set up to the next level if you have the proper ports and are willing to drop just under $200 on this piece of hardware.
The Plugable Thunderbolt 4 HUB is small and slick, despite what the box might suggest. The box is bland and pretty deceiving. Even after opening I was letdown by how it looked and the small size of the device. I know now that Plugable isn’t exactly known for exciting boxing but in the bigger picture that doesn’t matter. It also comes with a USB-C cord and a USB-C to HDMI converter cable.
The peripheral itself does look good. It has its four USBC ports (one on the front and 3 on the back) as well as a USB-A port (on the front). This small box has padding under it to keep it from sliding and helps cement it in place. Even if the device is small its charging block is still standard size which kind of defeats the purpose of this being as compact as it is but that’s a minor point. You also won’t need to download any new drivers in order to use the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 HUB you just plug it in and you’re good.
USB 4 is the Future
Plugable Thunderbolt 4 HUB looks great and performs even greater. This little grey gadget certainly packs a punch with it having 4 USB-4 powered USB-C ports. One of the ports is used to connect to your laptop/PC where the others are used for anything else that uses USB-C be it up to two other displays (at 4k), an external hard drive, or whatever other accessory you are looking to use. Depending on what kind of laptop you are using the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 HUB can charge your laptop even while being used to link two other displays. It’s pretty cool. If that isn’t enough it can handshake to other Plugable accessories to expand your ports even further. It gets a bit unnecessary but it’s a solid feature that should be mentioned.
I was not able to test its data transfer speeds but I have seen other people get up to 40Gbps transfers going so if you are looking to move data between your older devices and this one or even move huge amounts of data to and from an external hard drive this thing can help achieve most tasks in under a minute.
Being that it utilizes USB-4 through USB-C every input is also an output. Everything seems to handshake instantly. Even getting my mouse that does not have a USB-C plug to work on a MacBook Pro that only has USB-C while splitting the display by using the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub is impressive. It does have its uses.
How Niche is too Niche?
The Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub is a powerful little device but is it a necessity? Apart from playing around on the MacBook and seeing what it can handle, how well it can split displays and if it will handshake with other Plugable accessories I don’t personally see any reason to use this. Due to its charging speeds and multiple ports I am currently using it as a charging hub for my other devices. At the moment it’s charging my phone, watch, Switch and Quest and (unless I decide to randomly purchase new monitors) it will most likely stay as a charging dock. If you have the money to drop on a Hub like this I would recommend going for something with more diverse ports.
I can see it being very useful for travel though. That is if you need it as a charging dock or want to bring slightly less wires with you. Although you would still have to bring the much-larger-than-the-hub-itself charging block with you. Also make sure it will actually charge your laptop via USB-C as it works on the MacBook Pro but does not work for my MSI gaming laptop.
The Plugable USB4 and Thunderbolt 4 HUB with 60w Host Charging and a USB 4.0 Port is a powerful little device that has its uses. You can find it either on the Plugable website or on Amazon. Those uses are pretty much lost on me since I do not have the need for this many USB-4 powered USB-C ports. If you need to transfer large amounts of data constantly or want to have a small device that can link to multiple displays I could see the need for this but at the moment I would suggest to spend another $50 or so and get something slightly less powerful with a bigger emphasis on more diverse ports. Worst case scenario it does make for a ridiculously overpriced charging dock.