The moshi Symbus Mini is a great option if you want something small and light, and that has an integrated cable and supports 70W PD to keep your laptop and peripherals running. Sure, it should come with a protective bag and have more than one USB-C port. While it is not perfect, for $99.95, this hub adds back some important functionality and can help turn your mobile computing experience into a familiar desktop one.
- Under $100
- Small and light
- Adds seven different ports
- 70W PD power keeps your laptop and peripherals running
- No protective bag or case included
- Only one USB-C port
Do you remember the no-button iPod shuffle? Apple removed the buttons, and many of us bought accessories that brought them back. In recent years the same thing is happening with Apple’s laptops. My MacBook, for example, has just one USB-C port. That’s simply not enough. And that’s why moshi just released the Moshi Symbus Mini 7-in-1 Portable USB-C Hub.
The Moshi Symbus Mini 7-in-1 portable USB-C Hub is a compact hub that brings back many of the ports Apple removed from their laptops a few years ago. Measuring just 5.04″ x 2.99″ x 0.51”, it’s small and light enough to go anywhere you do. Yet, this hub has just about all of the connections you could need despite the small size.
Made from black plastic and aluminum, the Symbus Mini has a rather striking design. The metal top gracefully curves down on one side of the device, and the plastic extends beyond the metal along two sides.
The Moshi name is embossed in small white letters on top.
The curve of the metal is not simply an aesthetic choice, though. It creates a small gap on the underside of the hub in which the “Snapto Magnetic Cable” sits until the time comes to use the hub.
The Snapto system means a short USB-C cable is always available. That makes sense since a hub like this is useless if it doesn’t have an integrated cable. Otherwise, you’d get to your destination, and you wouldn’t have a USB-C cable to connect the hub to your laptop. Magnets hold the cable in place when it’s not in use. This gives the hub a sleek design while also keeping the cable safe from damage and excessive wear.
When you use the Moshi Symbus Mini, you’ll simply pull out the Snapto Cable and plug it into your laptop’s USB-C port. The 70W USB PD 3.0 pass-through means you can not only charge your laptop when connected to the hub but can also power most peripherals plugged into the other ports. Of course, to get the 70W of power, you will need a 70W wall adapter. Moshi offers several different wall adapters, but you can also purchase one from many different companies.
There are two USB 3.1 gen 1 ports on the long side of the hub, an SD and a microSD card slot, an HDMI port, and a USB-PD port to compensate for the one on the laptop that is occupied by the Moshi Symbus Mini’s Snapto cable. That brings the number of ports to six.
The seventh and final one is the fold-down ethernet port on one of the short ends.
That makes seven different connection options from a single USB-C connection to the laptop.
The HDMI port deserves a bit of explanation. As an HDMI 2.0 port with 4K at 60Hz and HDR, it offers a refresh rate that is a bit easier on the eyes than something slower.
Because the Moshi Symbus Mini has HDMI 2.0, it can transmit 7.1 channel surround sound audio using the same HDMI connection that carries the video signal. That’s a great way to connect your laptop to a large screen at the office or watch a movie in your hotel room without having to pay the exorbitant prices attached to in-room entertainment rentals.
Moshi describes the Symbus Mini this way:
This compact and portable USB-C hub provides full desktop connectivity anywhere, anytime. It features an HDMI port which supports both 4K @ 60 Hz and High Dynamic Range (HDR), Gigabit Ethernet port, SD/micro-SD slots, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports. Thunderbolt 3 compatible and 100% plug and play with no drivers required, plus SnapTo magnetic cable management to keep everything stashed neatly away. Unleash your creativity and productivity with just a single USB-C port and Symbus Mini.
Convert your laptop into the ultimate workstation in the office, download photos and videos, present, and connect to wired networks on the road or when visiting clients, and make working from home more comfortable with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Symbus Mini is the world’s most powerful portable hub solution, supporting connectivity standards including HDMI 2.0, USB PD 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, SD/SDHC/SDXC, and Gigabit Ethernet to help you get the full potential out of your USB-C laptop.
I’ve reviewed other portable hubs. Many were decent, and all got the job done. I prefer Moshi’s offering, though, thanks to the integrated cable and the small size and lightweight. I also like the sub-$100 price tag. And I like the fact that, in my initial testing, it performs as promised.
- USB-C charging: supports laptop charging up to 70 W
- HDMI: supports up to 4K/60Hz resolution, HDR
- USB-A: supports USB 3.1 Gen 1, 5 Gbps data transfer
- Card reader: supports SD/microSD card
- Gigabit Ethernet: supports 1000 Mbps data rate
There are a few knocks I have against the Moshi Symbus Mini, though. First, as an item designed to be thrown in a backpack or laptop bag, which costs almost $100, it should come with a protective bag. I’ve got plenty of pouches I can throw the Symbus Mini in, but I shouldn’t have to provide my own. I don’t love the fact that there is only one USB-C port. USB-C is rapidly becoming the universal standard, and a hub like this should have at least two.
However, those critiques aside, I like the Symbus Mini and have placed it in my travel tech organizer so it will always be available.
- Full desktop connectivity from one port: Unleash your creativity and productivity with just a single USB-C port and Symbus Mini. Convert your laptop into the ultimate workstation in the office, download photos and videos, present, and connect to wired networks on the road or when visiting clients, and make working from home more comfortable with an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Symbus Mini is the world’s most powerful portable hub solution, supporting connectivity standards including HDMI 2.0, USB PD 3.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, SD/SDHC/SDXC, and Gigabit Ethernet to help you get the full potential out of your USB-C laptop.
- Power for fast-charging and intensive applications: Symbus Mini has the power to help you tackle any task, anywhere. Providing up to 70 W of pass-through power, Symbus Mini ensures there’s enough throughput for laptop power and fast battery charging even while undertaking the most intensive tasks such as image editing, video rendering, or gaming. Not only does this mean less time to get a full charge, but also you’re less likely to see power-hungry applications eat into your battery reserves due to insufficient power adapter throughput.
- Ultra high definition video and audio: Enjoy smoother, more realistic Ultra HD video and images with a refresh rate of up to 60 Hz and enhanced contrast with High Dynamic Range (HDR) support. At work, the increased refresh rate reduces eye fatigue caused by looking at a screen for extended periods of time. HDMI 2.0 is also capable of transmitting 7.1 channel surround-sound audio over the same HDMI cable for a truly immersive entertainment experience.
- Connectivity for all your gear: Symbus Mini features two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports each supporting up to 5 Gbps data transfer speed for your peripherals, mouse, and keyboard. The SD and microSD card readers provide transfer speeds up to 104 MB/s and support high-capacity SD/SDHC/SDXC cards so you can quickly download photos from a camera or other device, while a Gigabit Ethernet port offers wired data transfer up to 1000 Mbps for high-speed wired network access in offices, hotels, conference centers, and places with unreliable WiFi.
- Stay organized and reduce clutter in a snap: Symbus Mini’s SnapTo cable management system uses magnets to hold the USB-C port and cable securely in place when on the go, reducing tangles, clutter, and damage when stored in a bag with your other equipment.
Sadly, as laptops continue to get thinner and lighter, I suspect hubs like the Moshi Symbus Mini will continue to be a necessary evil. I simply don’t see Apple suddenly reversing course and adding back all of the ports they unceremonially ripped out a few years ago.
The Moshi Symbus Mini is a great option if you want something small and light, and that has an integrated cable and supports 70W PD to keep your laptop and peripherals running. Sure, it should come with a protective bag and have more than one USB-C port. While it is not perfect, for $99.95, this hub adds back some important functionality and can help turn your mobile computing experience into a familiar desktop one.
The Moshi Symbus Mini 7-in-1 Portable USB-C Hub sells for $99.959; it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Under $100; Small and light; Adds seven different ports; 70W PD power keeps your laptop and peripherals running
What Needs Improvement: No protective bag or case included; Only one USB-C port