PNY 9-in-1 Mini Portable USB-C Hub and lightweight dock review


The PNY 9-in-1 Mini Portable USB-C Hub is a real contender for our favourite portable USB-C hub.

It’s really more than a USB-C hub. You could also call it a USB-C dock, because it behaves just like one, and has a very decent set of ports to add functionality to your USB-C laptop to quickly create a desktop-like setup. See our other best USB-C hubs and best USB-C docks.

It will also work with Thunderbolt 3 (T3) laptops, but at 5Gbps rather than T3’s 40Gbps. Users of such higher-powered laptops should consider our recommended Thunderbolt 3 docking stations. 

By connecting the hub/dock to your laptop, you immediately gain nine ports that your laptop is most likely missing.

USB-C connected input (to Type-C host laptop)
2 x USB-C (one 5Gbps data; and one 100W Power Delivery charging)
2 x USB-A 3.1 (5Gbps)
HDMI 1.2 port (4K at 30Hz)
VGA port (1920×1200 @60Hz)
Gigabit Ethernet for wired Internet access
SD Card reader
Micro SD Card reader (UHS-l)

The two USB-A ports should be enough for most people for connecting a memory stick or other storage drive, printer or other devices. Bluetooth mice and keyboards mean you shouldn’t have to use up these ports for input devices.

You can attach an external display via either the HDMI or old-school VGA port. Using HDMI it can handle 4K resolutions at 30Hz. Gamers and broadcast sports or action fans might want to look for a dock that supports 4K at the faster 60Hz frame rate. See our other best USB-C hubs and adapters for alternatives.

If you want to add more than one external display, look at our other recommended USB-C laptop docking stations.

The Gigabit Ethernet port means you can hook up to faster and more secure wired internet access, rather than rely on sometimes flaky Wi-Fi.

The PNY Mini Portable USB-C Hub comes with an integrated USB-C cable to connect to your USB-C laptop or other computer, so you don’t need to carry round a spare cable with this portable dock.

The inclusion of both SD and MicroSD card readers will please photographers, but these readers also offer users inexpensive portable storage options, with affordable mini storage cards at up to 512GB. See our list of recommended Micro SD Cards.

PNY is well-known to consumers for its memory cards, and we’d love the company to offer deals on its MicroSD cards alongside this hub.

The 100W power-delivery spec is a high one. A power adapter is not included, as you are expected to use your laptop’s charger – or you can choose from our recommended list of best USB-C PD wall chargers.

PNY Mini Portable USB-C Hub vs Twelve South StayGo Hub

This dock is similar to our favourite portable USB-C hub – read our Twelve South StayGo review. It’s possible even better, with a few differences to explain.

The port feature set is very close, with each boasting nine ports. The one difference is that the PNY hub has just two USB-A ports, compared to three on the StayGo.

Instead, it includes the VGA port for connection to older screens and projectors. If a VGA connection is important to you, the PNY will certainly beat the StayGo. If VGA isn’t important, then maybe the StayGo’s extra USB-A port might make more sense for you.

Both are very portable. The PNY hub measures 12-x-7-x-1.4cm, compared to the StayGo’s 12.7-x-6.2-x-1.5cm.

In effect, this means the StayGo is a little longer, but the PNY is wider. The PNY is fractionally slimmer but you wouldn’t notice the difference.

Where the PNY wins on portability is weight. At 105g, it’s proportionately lighter than the StayGo’s 149g.

That extra weight from the StayGo is due to its aluminium exterior shell that will dissipate heat more efficiently than the PNY’s although we didn’t notice the dock getting too hot in testing.

The PNY is cheaper than the StayGo, which makes it a tempting alternative.

Verdict

The PNY 9-in-1 USB-C Hub is a great portable hub for USB-C laptops and other computers. You can connect at home and elsewhere with the same dock because of its portability, and its port set is impressive and likely all an average user might require.

If you need more than two USB-A ports, consider the Twelve South StayGo portable hub, which is a similar product, if a little more expensive than the affordable PNY hub.

The inclusion of VGA might look old fashioned, but there are still plenty of displays that require this connector, so if you need VGA, the PNY is right for you. And the HDMI will let you attach more modern external displays.

Specs
PNY 9-in-1 Mini Portable USB-C Hub: Specs

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