Untangling USB-C

I just recently discovered Glenn Fleishman’s post about the confusing state of USB-C cables and how to (more or less) untangle them. The problem, if you didn’t already know, is that even though all USB-C cables have the same connector, they don’t have the same capabilities. Just recently I ran a speed test on my external USB-C cabled SSD only to discover that its performance was way below spec. Unknowingly, I had used one of my short USB-C charging cables instead of one of my short USB-C data cables, which is much faster. Glenn’s piece on this mess is excellent.

Review: Inateck Aluminum Unibody USB-C 3 Port USB and Ethernet Hub

With the inclusion of the USB-C port, the new MacBook is more friendly to third party parts manufacturers than it has been in a long time. There’s already a long list of established accessory makers and upstart Kickstarters all cooking up ideas to take advantage of this new port. 

One of the first arrivals in my bag is the Inateck Unibody USB Hub (Product Page) (Amazon). This travel-friendly device features three bus powered USB 3.0 ports and an Gigabit Ethernet port. This is all in a small package less than 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. It has a 1 foot USB-C cable attached for plugging into your MacBook. I’ve been testing the Inatech against the Apple USB to USB-C adapter and find no discernable difference in data transfer speeds. While about $10 more than the Apple adapter, I think the Inatech’s two additional USB ports and Gigabit Ethernet make it the better value.

I like this device because it has a nice aluminum design that is befitting the new MacBook and gives me a lot of flexibility for just a little room in my bag.