There are two things that should be in every laptop bag. The first is a standard USB hub so you actually have enough ports for your peripherals. The second, of course, is an old pair of headphones that’s gotten balled up in a knot and you know you’ll never get that knot out, but still, you better hold on to them—just in case.

Dealing With Data

The Plugable four-port USB hubs might look pretty simple, and that’s because they are. Available in two varieties depending on how you want to connect with your host—USB-A (USB3-HUB4A) or USB-C (USBC-HUB4A). Each is equipped with four USB 3.0 ports that can transfer data up to 5Gbps. At that speed it would only take about 21 seconds to transfer the entirety of the 1984 science fiction hit, The Last Starfighter. So, yeah, it’s pretty fast. 

But the hub isn’t just fast, it also excels at providing consistent performance across all four ports simultaneously. That means you can transfer files from a flash drive on port 1, connect a keyboard to port 2, a mouse in 3, and on port 4 use a USB cord to transfer clips from your camera.

Take It To Go

Sure, these hubs are quite handy to have on your desk, but they’re just as happy to hit the road. Lightweight and compact, the hubs are encased in black plastic with a matte finish to resist scuffs and scratches. The plastic carapace also helps to avoid damaging the other gadgets in your bag. 

Firmly fixed to the base of the hubs, a 6in (15cm) flexible cord connects to the host to deliver data. Bus-powered, the hub doesn’t require an external power source so you aren’t lugging around a power brick. It is worth mentioning, however, that the hub is only designed for data. These hubs aren’t meant for fast charging of multiple devices.

What’ll It Work With

Compatible with Windows, macOS, ChromeOS, and Linux, these plug-and-play hubs pretty much work with pretty much USB data device. Just be sure you know what ports you have on your host computer. If your laptop, for example, has the traditional rectangular USB-A ports, go with the USB3-HUB4A. And if you have a newer device with oval USB-C ports, pick up the USBC-HUB4A.

Buy the Plugable USB-C 4-Port Hub
List Price: $15.95

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