The days are approaching where we can finally say goodbye to USB-A ports. Most modern laptops and smartphones have all migrated to USB-C, including those utilising Thunderbolt 4 technology.
Thunderbolt 4 uses the USB-C connector type and is compatible with USB4. But most importantly, it is able to deliver super-fast transfer rates with 40Gbps bidirectional bandwidth. You can also use it for powerful charging and even video signals (so you can hook it to a supported monitor without the need for an HDMI or DisplayPort).
Like I mentioned earlier, most modern laptops are now powered by USB-C and surprisingly, there are now many Windows laptops utilizing the latest Thunderbolt 4 technology (which I thought only existed on Macs and MacBooks).
My new workplace has given me the Dell XPS 13 Plus 9320 laptop to work with, and it is powered by two Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C ports. Sure, this laptop is very powerful and compact, but with only two ports offered (with one being used for direct power), there isn’t much to play with.
I’d like to hook it with my Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic keyboard, Logitech Lift mouse, and my old gaming monitor Acer XB271HU (with HDMI or DisplayPort support). Clearly, there aren’t enough ports on the Dell XPS 13 Plus, but thankfully, I have the Belkin Connect Thunderbolt 4 5-in-1 Core Hub to the rescue.
It is basically a compact Thunderbolt 4 Hub with four Thunderbolt 4 Ports and a single USB-A for that one device that hasn’t made the switch yet. Unlike cheap hubs, this Belkin’s Connect Thunderbolt 4 ensures you get that lightning-fast transfer rate and power of Thunderbolt 4 technology. With this hub, you can connect 5 devices through just a single Thunderbolt cable.
It supports two 4K monitors at 60Hz or a single 8K monitor at 30Hz. Unfortunately, my monitor doesn’t have a Thunderbolt port, so I’m using this Belkin USB-C to HDMI Charge Adapter and hooking my laptop through an HDMI cable.
While the Connect Thunderbolt 4 5-in-1 Core Hub doesn’t exactly solve my problem (as I need two USB-A ports to connect my two old peripherals), the inclusion of a single USB-A port on the dock allows me to plug another hub with USB-A ports. I simply plug both my mouse and keyboard there for the complete setup. Also, note that the USB-A port utilises USB 3.2 Gen 2 technology, which has a very fast transfer speed, so if you are using it to plug in a supported external drive, you are golden.
Belkin Connect Thunderbolt 4 5-in-1 Core Hub Review
The Belkin Connect Thunderbolt 4 5-in-1 Core Hub is not just a mere USB Hub. Sure, it is practically a Thunderbolt 4 Hub, but it has a sleek, modern, compact design that can save your desk space from cluttered cables. You can connect everything in a single place and, thanks to the compact design, carry it along for travel with ease (well, you do need to carry the rather bulky power adapter, though).
You can use it to connect to your peripherals, charge your mobile devices, charge your laptop while you are working on it, an external drive to store or backup your data, and many more.
It is available for purchase on the Belkin Australia website and at retailers around Australia for A$299.95 RRP.
Disclosure: Belkin Thunderbolt 4 5-in-1 Core Hub review sample was supplied for reviewing