Review: Plugable launches its first Thunderbolt 4 hub with 60W charging and compact design

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Today, Plugable is launching its very first Thunderbolt 4 accessory, delivering a versatile desktop upgrade in the process. Delivering a flexible build with ultra-compact form factor, the new Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub also packs 60W charging output from its sleek metal design. Head below for a closer look at its feature set and some hands-on thoughts.

Hands-on with the new Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub

As the latest and most capable addition to Plugable’s lineup, its new Thunderbolt 4 Hub marks the first time we’ve seen the brand adopt the newer connectivity standard for one of its peripherals. And fully diving into that paradigm, you’re only getting Thunderbolt 4 connectivity here.

There are a total of four ports on the hub, of which the front-facing one is made for plugging into your machine. It has a 60W power output, and then taps into the three additional Thunderbolt 4 slots. Those can handle everything from driving up to 8K displays, alongside plugging in other accessories like SSDs, 10GbE adapters, and more.

Each one can handle 40Gb/s of data passthrough, and are backward compatible for USB-C/USB 4 standards. Plugable is also bundling in an HDMI adapter so you can plug in an external display right out of the box. Which is certainly a good look for the more premium accessory.

One of the most notable aspects about the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub is just how tiny the adapter is. Back when I reviewed Anker’s first foray into the space, I was pretty amazed at how small of a footprint the accessory had. Now that was at the beginning of the year, and Plugable has clearly put the time since then to good use, as things are even more slimmed down here.

The sleek metal exterior manages to fit almost in the palm of your hand, and is notably smaller than other models on the market. You will need to plug in a pretty large external power brick, but at least it keeps your desk free of a bulky design. Here’s a closer look at some of those size comparisons.

There are of course still some limitations for those running an M1 Mac. As of now, you can only drive a single display despite having the full bandwidth between all four of the built-in ports. Though after getting to chat with the folks at Plugable, they reassured me that the Thunderbolt 4 Hub is ready to grow with whatever adjustments Apple makes in the future. So if new M1X models allow you to run more than a single monitor, this is ready to rise to the occasion.

Bring Plugable’s new release to your desk now

Now available for purchase from Amazon, the new Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub is now shipping. It enters with a $189 list price, though is seeing an introductory launch discount down to $174. The pricing is already pretty notable on its own for the feature set, but compares favorably to competitors like Anker’s PowerExpand Mini.

9to5Toys’ Take

I’ve been using the new Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub over the past month, and have to say that I am overwhelmingly impressed with the experience. Before getting my hands on the unit, I was well aware that the brand had a reason for being as popular as it was in the more affordable side of the USB hub and adapter market. But with its latest unveil, Plugable is shedding that in order to deliver a flagship-caliber offering.

The build is quite polished and has a really slick design to it. It has almost felt like I have a Beskar Credit from The Mandalorian sitting on my desk, that also just happens to be doubling as a hub for my machine.

At the $189 list price, the Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub manages to undercut the competition on price without sacrificing on features. It’s about as compelling of a package as I’ve found, and manages to fully embrace the new connectivity standard. While there are certainly other hubs on the market with more ports, Plugable’s new debut manages to be about as versatile as they come.

That focus on customization over extensiveness really lends itself to ensuring you have a future-proof setup. With Thunderbolt 4 just now rolling out, the new Plugable Hub is ready to adapt to your setup, whether it’s driving a single display now or a whole battle station down the line.

Buy the new Plugable Thunderbolt 4 Hub

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