A major theme at the 2021 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is faster, smaller, more reliable devices. So naturally, CES felt like the right time to announce our latest 7-in-1 USB-C Hub (USBC-7IN1E). The USBC-7IN1E comes packed with potential. Through one USB-C connection back to your computer, get instant access to 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x 4K HDMI, 1x Gigabit Ethernet port, 1x SD card reader, 1x microSD card slot, and 1x USB-C Power Delivery charging port. So it's just another hub, right? Not exactly.
Admittedly, the hub market isn't new, and we're hardly the first people to enter the space. Even now, Amazon has hundreds of listings for cheap hubs that will "expand one USB-C port into 7!" Which is great if you only need to use one or two of those ports at a time.
With few exceptions, the biggest problem with hubs on the market currently is port reliability. Which is to say, for light work the hubs will probably get the job done. Maybe you don't need pass-through charging. Or perhaps you need a second screen, but you can get by with low resolution. And you definitely don't need to access all of your ports at the same time. It's when you start to push your workload that other hubs fall short.
For the most part, these shortcomings can be blamed on technology. Either the technology wasn't quite there when the hub was designed, or it was too expensive. There's a reason this is only our second USB-C hub. We waited for the chipsets to fully mature before releasing our first 7-in-1 hub. Then we looked at how people were using the hub. We gathered as many customer stories and data points as we could get our hands on before starting work on its successor.