Need more ports on your Laptop? Read on…
After two days of USB hub hell, I have found a hero. The Mbeat M-Droplet USB hub.
I have just gone through two days of USB hub and device hell, trying to get a couple of high capacity USB 3.0 drives in sync.
Attempting to copy between the devices in Windows, things were less than perfect. I would start a big file copy, and after a few minutes, one device would disappear, and the file copy would stop. Sometimes the entire system would freeze, requiring a re-boot.
I have been using a cheap, generic powered four port USB 3.0 hub. It worked, pretty much, but the speeds I was getting were depressingly slow.
At one point I connected everything to an unpowered, 5 dollar USB 2.0 hub, and the speeds were almost the same.This morning, I went shopping.In Officeworks Launceston, I hit paydirt. I found the M-Droplet USB Hub Docking Station.It is a tear-drop shaped tube that functions as a laptop stand and hub for USB 3 powered laptops, Ultrabooks and Apple MacBooks. It uses the laptop USB 3.0 port for input, and connects to a host of devices.
NOTE: If you are using a later MacBook Pro with no USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-c to USB-A cable should work just as well.
It has 3 USB 3.0 and 1 USB 2.0 ports, as well as an SD and a Micro-SD reader and a RJ45 10/100 Mbps LAN port.
I am writing this on a 2015 MacBook Air. The M-Droplet is connected, copying files between two USB 3.0 ports at almost three times the speed of the cheap hub I was using. The Eternet port is working, and a 64 Gb SD card is visible, so I will assume the Micro-SD slot will work as well.
UPDATE: I have now been using this device for some time, and it has never let me down. The hub is light, compact, and makes a perfect riser to lift the back of a laptop to raise the screen.
I have tested it with a Windows 10 Ultrabook, a McBook Pro, MacBook Air and two Chromebooks. Everything seems to work perfectly. It also functions as a fast charger. The power supply can charge multiple devices, a phone, tablet, and other devices USB 3.0 charging rates.
It is currently topping up a USB power bank.
I highly recommend the mBeat M-Droplet hub.
Note: I am getting between 70 & 100 MBps copies from one USB 3.0 drive to another USB 3.0 drive on the M-Droplet. This is far in excess of the best I could get on a generic USB 3.0 hub, or from port to port on the computer. The computer has been tied up doing file transfers between ports for more that 24 hours. After connecting the M-Droplet docking station, I have accomlished similar transfers within a couple of hours. And I still have ports free.
Because the M-Droplet can also charge USB devices, I can remove the USB charger from my power board. I am constantly charging a phone, tablet, Bluetooth headphones or a power bank. Now I can charge from the docking station, it provides 2.4 Amps from each USB 3.0 port. The USB charging ports work even when there is no computer connected, so this is a pretty good USB charger as a stand-alone device.