Apple

Turning one port into eight with the HyperDrive 7.5W Wireless Charger USB-C Hub

The HyperDrive 7.5W Wireless Charger USB-C Hub by Sanho Corporation, a United States-based company founded by Singaporean Daniel Chin, is designed with USB-C-only Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro users and their iPhones in mind.

It started as a Kickstarter crowdfunding project and raised more than US$650,000 (S$887,000) - more than six times its US$100,000 goal. When I saw it, I immediately backed it too.

The reason is that this USB-C Hub turns a single USB-C port into eight ports - one 4K HDMI port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, one USB-C Power Delivery (PD) port, three USB 3.1 ports, a microSD card reader and a SD card reader. About all the ports you will ever need.

Plus, as its name implies, it is also a 7.5W Qi wireless charger that is optimised to charge the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X.

You can charge your iPhone by connecting the HyperDrive to the laptop or use it as a standalone wireless iPhone charger by connecting it to a wall socket via its USB-C PD port.

This PD port can also be used as a pass-through to charge your laptop - useful for users of the MacBook, which has only one USB-C port.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $199, available this month

    CONNECTIVITY: 1 x 4K HDMI, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x USB-C Power Delivery, 3 x USB 3.1, 1 x microSD card reader and
    1 x SD card reader

    WEIGHT: 212g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Furthermore, this charger is also a tiltable smartphone stand. It can tilt from flat to an angle of 68 degrees, so you can adjust it to what you like for your iPhone. Also, the stand has three wireless charging coils, so you can place your iPhone in any orientation and it will still charge.

Design-wise, the HyperDrive looks minimalist but sleek. It has a black top with a rubberised articulating stand, while the sides and bottom are made of space-grey aluminium. This fits nicely with the colour scheme of the space-grey MacBook and MacBook Pro.

On the right of the HyperDrive is the USB-C port that you connect to the laptop, alongside two USB 3.1 ports. On the left are the two card readers and a USB 3.1 port. The USB-C PD port, 4K HDMI port and Gigabit Ethernet port are located behind.

This layout makes it easier for the hub to be used on the left side of the laptop, which is convenient as you can still use a mouse on the right.

This is also perfect for frequent fliers who work on their laptops, but still need the smartphone by their side to check important messages.

In terms of surface area, the HyperDrive is only slightly bigger than an iPhone X. Thus, it will not take up a lot of table-top space.

You do need to push the stand forward before tilting it up. At times, the stand can get stuck when you are trying to do so. You need to push it gently.

This is probably the only major issue I have with the HyperDrive, as I fear I might use too much force to tilt it up and damage the stand.

Other than that, it works as advertised. All the ports work even when they are simultaneously connected.

It took only 45 seconds to transfer 1.6GB of documents from a MacBook Pro to an external USB-A hard drive. And only 68 seconds was needed to transfer 2.3GB of videos and pictures from an SD card to the computer.

All these things were happening while the device was charging my iPhone X. In my tests, I found that it took about 95 minutes to charge my iPhone X from 50 per cent to full.

In addition, the charger will work with Android smartphones that support Qi wireless charging.

• Verdict: For users of USB-C-only Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro, the HyperDrive 7.5W Wireless Charger USB-C Hub is a must-have, especially for those who travel a lot.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2018, with the headline 'Turning one port into eight'. Print Edition | Subscribe