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Once you think you’ve seen every USB-C dock combination, you’ll have to revise that opinion with Satechi’s USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter. This dock has four ports plus a slot to add SATA M.2 SSD storage. It’s a unique combination that could be appealing to the right laptop user—desktop Mac owners have more flexible and affordable options.
The Hybrid Multiport Adapter plugs into a USB-C port and passes power (but not data) over its own USB-C port. The port can output up to 100 watts, but requires up to 15W for its own operation. That’s sufficient for every Mac laptop, though the latest M1 Pro/Max MacBook Pros might not charge at their fastest rates.
The dock also includes two USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports, which each offer up to 10Gbps of throughput. It also includes a 4K HDMI connection with support for up to a 60Hz refresh rate. (Note that limitations for total displays supported still apply: this is a standard dock, not a DisplayLink adapter.) In testing, the dock performed as expected across all its ports.
You can add any SATA M.2 SSD that conforms to 2230, 2242, 2260, and 2280 size formats. (Make sure and don’t order an NVMe M.2; that’s a different technology and won’t fit into the slot.) Installing the SSD requires no tools. Slide off a cover on the dock, figure out which rubber plug will hold the card into place, insert the SSD, and then carefully push the plug into place to lock it. Remember to save the extra rubber plugs—there’s no storage location for them if you use any but the shortest SATA card format.
With a Western Digital 2280 format SATA M.2, the dock managed reasonable throughput: 250MBps for sustained writes and 450MBps for sustained reads. That’s more than half off the maximum write spec, which may be a constraint of the dock, but still makes it at least five times faster than the average hard disk drive.
Having both a few ports and a monitor connection plus external medium-speed storage could be a winner for the right laptop user. For instance, if you want to store your full-resolution Photos library on an affordable SATA-based SSD due to limited space on your internal drive, this is a neat solution. Or you may require a lot of internal storage free for video editing or other storage- and performance-intensive purposes, but still want substantial space available for data to carry with you.
If you meet the specific intersection of this speed of storage, two USB Type-A ports, and a monitor connector, the $89.99 price tag of this Satechi hybrid dock fits a very sweet spot.