USB-C hubs are expensive, more expensive than I feel they should be anyway. And when I got my Huawei Mate 10 Pro with it’s desktop projection feature, I wanted to check out some USB-C docks, luckily for me, Aukey got in Touch and sent one of their numerous USB-C docks to test out, this is that review.
Disclaimer: Aukey provided this USB-C hub to me (Dom) to review, but aside from that, they have no bearing on the outcome of this review, no money has exchanged hands between either company, and the only people looking over this content before it goes live are other MTT editors.
The CB-C58 from Aukey costs about £35 on Amazon UK, and it’s a simple small affair, the CB-C58 is roughly 85x59x15mm and a featherweight of just 65g. It’s a simple device, with 4 USB 3.1 Gen1 (5gbps) Type-A connectors, an HDMI 1.4b connector (4k30Hz) and a USB-C PD connector capable of 5v3a. Lastly, there is a short 15cm ish USB-C cable coming from the hub, which you connect to your device, whether that be MacBook, MacBook Pro, Chromebook Pixel, PixelBook, Huawei Mate 10 etc. Basically anything that properly implements USB-C, USB-PD and USB-C alt-modes for display can use this, and that is actually a rather broad selection.
For what it’s worth, I’m actually writing this entire review on my Huawei Mate 10 Pro, with the Huawei Desktop projection environment, Google Docs and WordPress, a USB keyboard and mouse and a monitor. This is the definition of Plug and play; it is really simple. Plug the monitor into HDMI port, plug keyboard and mouse receiver into USB ports, plug-in power if you so wish, and then plug-in your device, and that is it, no configuration, no settings or anything. Plug it in, and do what you need to do.
Is the CB-C58 perfect? Of course not. I’d prefer the USB-C cable to be detachable, as the included one feels really quite restrictive. One of the nice benefits of USB-C is a single cable for power, data and video, so you can hide the messy stuff away, but that doesn’t really ring true when the hub is so damn close to you. A longer cable would somewhat alleviate this, but the best solution would just be a USB-C Input port, letting you hide the hub away, and have that single cable experience. Also, when I called it featherweight at 65g, I meant it. The CB-C58 is really light, almost to a fault. I’m tempted to crack it open and hot glue some weights in there or find some sort of semi-stick base (like the old Palm Touchstone chargers) to stop it moving its way around my desk. The small mass makes it easy to transport, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a nuisance on a desktop environment.
Other than those small niggles, the only other issue is the somewhat baffling inclusion of an HDMI 1.4 port, limiting the output to 4k30Hz which is quite strange. This isn’t too much of an issue for me, as I’m only using it on my Huawei Mate 10 Pro, which is limited to 1080p output (an issue for another time) but for someone using this with a Macbook Pro, a Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air/Pro, Dell XPS 13 or Razer Blade Stealth/standard/Pro, 4k30Hz is going to be a big kick in the teeth. Sure the counterpoint would be to use a more expensive hub that has 4K60Hz support, but still, it just seems strange to me to include.
Lastly, is there anything I want on here that it doesn’t have? To be honest, not really. I’d be happy if a 10/100 Ethernet port turned up next to the HDMI port, but I’m not losing sleep over the fact it isn’t here, though this might change if I were using this with a laptop, so I will see when my next laptop comes in for review.
So, conclusion time, should you buy the CB-C58 from Aukey? Well, yeah. It’s relatively inexpensive in the world of USB-C hubs at £35, and it has a plethora of ports, 4 USB-A, HDMI and USB-C In. This is enough for powering your device, display out, peripherals, and a spare few for USB thumb drives etc. Aukey has done a great job with this, and I’ll wholeheartedly recommend you buy this if you want an inexpensive hub that isn’t total rubbish or from a no-name brand.