On launch, Apple’s new MacBook didn’t have much going for it with regard to accessories. Now that USB-C is more familiar to device manufacturers, we’re getting some really powerful plug-in devices, and Minix’s NEO C is no different.
The hub plugs into a MacBook’s USB-C port and offers a lot of extensibility. There’s an HDMI or VGA port for monitors, ethernet, two USB ports for peripherals as well as SD and micro SD card slots. It also has a USB-C inlet for pass-through charging.
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About the size of a credit card — and a half-inch tall — the NEO C won’t take up much room on your desk. It’s also small enough to pack in a bag for travel, though I find it best used at home. It’s made of Aluminum, and matches my Space Grey MacBook’s surface in both color and feel.
Leaving it on my desk, NEO C has turned my MacBook into a fairly nimble desktop computer.
While I wouldn’t dream of plowing through a heavy development session or editing a long video with my MacBook, NEO C may be the missing link for MacBook ubiquity. It satisfies many of those ‘but I can’t do —‘ arguments we have internally with ourselves about the MacBook and USB-C.
It’s not perfect by any means; I’d rather have a Thunderbolt port than an HDMI, and the constantly-protruding cable is a deterrent for packing it in a smaller bag. The cable isn’t supported well at the point it connects to the hub, either, which makes me over-think damaging it.
NEO C also gets warm to the touch during use. Not hot by any means, even when there are several devices using it at once, but still warm. Though it has pass-through charging, it’s about 20-30 percent slower than direct charging.
For travel, I’d suggest other options. Satechi’s hub has been updated to support pass-through charging, and has a profile better suited for sliding into your bag.
But for the desktop, the Minix NEO C can’t be beat. It retails for $89.90 via Amazon, and is available now.