The 12″ MacBook is one of the greatest Apple computers ever released; it’s incredibly thin and light, it has a gorgeous Retina display, and offers enough power for most real-world uses. The only major flaw is its single USB-C Port, used for either connecting external devices or powering the computer. Most of the time, this isn’t a serious inconvenience – unless, of course, you are a 12″ MacBook user who needs to do work with external storage devices, audio/video gear, an external display, and plug in to power at the same time. If that sounds like you, the Adam Elements CASA USB-C Hub may be the perfect solution.
The CASA USB-C Hub is a passive (no external power required) hub that expands the single USB-C Port of your MacBook into six different options, depending on your needs. Included in the hub are a pair of USB-A ports, rated at USB 3 speed, an HDMI port which is capable of driving a 4K screen, an SD card slot, gigabit ethernet, and a single USB-C port, which is limited to pass-through power.
The CASA hub is relatively small, which is great for use with such a portable laptop. It’s also light-weight, so adding it to your laptop bag won’t weigh you down when you’re on the go. The hub comes in MacBook-matched colors and is finished in brushed aluminum to blend in with your Apple gear.
Often times, USB hubs can be flaky, causing a variety of data integrity or corruption issues. In my testing of the CASA, I found that it reliably kept external storage (both thumb drives and external drives) mounted to my MacBook, even when moving from one desk or table to another. The SD card reader also worked great, and provided much faster transfer speeds than cheap SD card readers available elsewhere online.
The ability to simultaneously charge the MacBook and use peripherals as needed is really where the CASA shines, since the single port on the MacBook typically means disconnecting power to connect something else. Unfortunately, power delivery through the CASA isn’t the full 29W that is offered up by the MacBook’s charger. This means significantly longer recharge times when charging through the CASA.
In an informal test, the CASA was projected to take roughly 2.4x longer to recharge my MacBook than direct power from the charging block. While that isn’t a show stopper, it is possible that power-hungry tasks (like video encoding, app development, or gaming) could potentially drain the battery faster than it can charge.
Ultimately, the CASA USB-C Hub is a great investment if you’re a MacBook owner and you find that you’re swapping dongles and power cables with any kind of frequency, or need more expanded connectivity than the single USB-C port can offer. Having USB, SD, ethernet, HDMI, and power connections available (without needing a thicker Mac) allows you to experience the best of both worlds. Get the CASA USB-C Hub here for $79.99.