This tiny, powered Thunderbolt 4/USB4 hub is probably a niche product for most users, including those looking to daisy-chain displays or USB-C dongles.
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Best Prices Today: Thunderbolt 5-in-1 Pluggable Hub (USB4-HUB3A)
If you’re looking for a Thunderbolt 4 hub with USB4 capabilities, look no further than Plugable’s 5-in-1 Thunderbolt Hub (USB4-HUB3A). Otherwise, this is an extremely specialized product that might not be worth it for the majority of PC users.
What the Thunderbolt 5-in-1 pluggable hub does, it does well: it’s tiny (4.9 x 2.9 x 0.5 inches) and weighs less than a pound, with a 30-inch Thunderbolt 4 cord the connecting to a PC, providing 60W of power to a laptop. There are three additional Thunderbolt 4 ports (with 15W of power each) and a legacy 10Gbps USB-A port, and that’s it. The USB-A port does not supply power for charging. Inside is Intel’s older “Goshen Ridge” Thunderbolt chipset from 2020.
Note: This review is part of our roundup of the best Thunderbolt docks. You’re here for buying advice, product comparisons and recommendations.
Don’t consider this ‘portable’, however, as there’s a chunky power brick that accompanies the docking station. This is a tiny little hub that otherwise fits neatly into a bag. (We think of a Thunderbolt hub as a hub that essentially splits the Thunderbolt connection into multiple additional ports. A Thunderbolt docking station is typically powered, with many legacy connections. The pluggable Thunderbolt 5-in-1 hub has elements of both.)
Plugable does not officially support PCs with a Thunderbolt 4 port with this device. While Thunderbolt 4 and Thunderbolt 3 are very similar, Thunderbolt 4 has more stringent requirements which may cause incompatibilities in some systems.
Why buy this? Well, the Mac world tends to emphasize Thunderbolt connected displays much more than the Windows world, so this might be overkill for PC buyers. A handful of high-end displays for the PC market have Thunderbolt ports, as do some high-end SSDs. Don’t worry about USB4 capabilities either, as you won’t find too many USB4-specific peripherals either. Otherwise, though, displays with HDMI or DisplayPort are far more common, and you’ll need to invest in a USB-C dongle or simple adapter (included) to connect to them.
Pluggable / Amazon
As we lack Thunderbolt connected displays among our test bed, we were unable to test this capability. But the box includes a USB-C to HDMI adapter, so you can certainly connect a display natively, then connect a USB-C hub to connect another. There’s also a standalone 10Gbps USB-A port. Sure, connecting a second device seems like a hassle, but for Plugable’s price of around $180, you might end up saving some cash for a little extra bulk. These extra capabilities work well enough, although we don’t have enough high-speed peripherals on hand to saturate all of its external Thunderbolt 4 ports.
So, to reiterate, we weren’t able to test this docking station to its full capabilities. But in terms of charging power and throughput, it lived up to its specs. The hub got a little warm, but its metal construction dissipates heat effectively.
Plugable backs the Thunderbolt 5-in-1 hub with a two-year warranty and has a very good reputation for customer support. Several Plugable products are already on our list of the best Thunderbolt docks, so we’re sure the USB4-HUB3A should work as well.