review

Belkin F4U090 USB 4-Port USB hub with Folding USB-C cable

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

A neat and easy way to expand the connectivity of a laptop has always been with a USB hub adapter, which comes tremendously useful especially when your new and shiny laptop doesn't have most of the ports you probably need!
This is true of Apple's 2016 MacBook Pro, which no longer features a MagSafe 2 charging port, HDMI port, SD card slot, Thunderbolt 2 ports, headphone jack and the standard USB port. All these ports are vanished from the MacBook Pro 2016 model in favor of four Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports.
Thunderbolt 3 surely offers amazing transfer speeds, but a USB-C laptop without a standard USB-A port for plugging-in at least a external speaker is simply lacking! Fortunately, you can very easily improve your "new USB-C laptop" with a 4-port hub adapter like the Belkin F4U090 USB hub.
The Belkin F4U090 USB hub is very compact and lightweight, measuring 9.8cm long, 8.8cm wide and 1.6cm thick, and weighing just 60 grams. You get two USB 3.1 USB-C ports, which at first glance, look like Thunderbolt ports and they do as both have the same exact connector design. However, the distinct difference between a USB-C port and a Thunderbolt port is their connectivity speed.
The USB-C ports on the Belkin F4U090 USB hub operate on USB 3.1 SuperSpeed+ (SS+) speeds at 10 gigabit per second, which is the same speed you get from a Thunderbolt 1 port, but no way near the blistering speed and capability of a Thunderbolt 3 port. Thunderbolt 3 is capable of sending data at 40 gigabit per second and receiving data at 40 gigabit per second, meaning audio/ video signals and power can all be delivered through the same connection.
While the Belkin F4U090 USB hub USB-C ports are capable of USB 3.1 speeds, they are not USB 3.1 Type C power delivery (USB-PD) ports, meaning they do not support pass-through charging so, you cannot charge a phone, nor will it pass a video signal.
In other words, the Belkin F4U090 USB hub does not support USB-C power or USB-C screen connection so you cannot use either of the USB-C ports to power your USB-C laptop or hook up an external monitor.
Then again, the Belkin F4U090 USB hub is non-powered, meaning it's powered by the laptop is connected to, which isn't enough power to charge a phone or tablet; hence you would need a mains powered hub.
Aside from USB-C ports, you get two USB-A ports delivering a shared transfer speed of 5 gigabit per second (USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (SS) speeds). One important thing worth bearing in mind, it's that if you have two or more devices plugged-in to the Belkin F4U090 USB hub you won't be getting these fast speeds per device as the speed is shared between all ports.
The USB A ports are backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices, which means USB 2.0 devices will work when connected to the USB-A ports of the Belkin F4U090. However, if you have a USB 2.0 device connected to a USB-A port, don't expect 5 gigabit per second transfer speeds. The maximum speeds you will ever get is around 480 megabyte per second.
The 6cm long USB-C cable that connects to a USB-C laptop is tethered permanently to the Belkin F4U090 USB hub so, it cannot be removed but it has a foldaway design so you can neatly store it away when not in use.
The Belkin F4U090 USB hub should work with most USB-C laptops and does work with the Google Chromebook Pixel and MacBook, as well as the 2016 MacBook Pro.
2 years Belkin hardware warranty

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