The 9 best USB-C accessories, cables and adapters

Out with the old and in with the new, USB-C is the only versatile, reversible port capable of handling everything from video output to data transfers. It’s not only found its way to the latest MacBook Pro and HP Spectre, but also to flagship smartphones such as the Google Pixel.

It's a jack of all trades that may one day replace HDMI, USB Type-A proper and even the sacred headphone jack (gasp) in everything from your laptop to your Samsung Galaxy S8. When you find out that your favorite devices are now limited to just one or two ports instead of five, USB-C is to blame – or to thank, depending on your stance.

The USB-C port has been around for a short while now, making room for an overflow of compatible accessories to drop by. These include not only massive external hard drives and tiny thumb drives, but docks, hubs and monitors as well. In fact, there’s an ever-growing list of nifty peripherals designed to festoon your USB Type-C gadgetry.

Here we roundup the best USB-C accessories, cables and adapters you can get for your money.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

Apple fans were disillusioned to discover that the MagSafe power connector didn’t make it into the 12-inch MacBook, and Griffin is here to address that with its BreakSafe Magnetic USB-C Power Cable, which seamlessly detaches the power cable when it’s pulled from its socket. By injecting a tiny 12.8mm plug to the MacBook’s power port, it’s able to connect magnetically to a separate six-foot cable. And with the MacBook being as thin as it appears to be fragile, you can clear your conscience of concerns over lassoing its power cable around your ankle.

Get it from: Griffin

Portable monitors are finally going to get some time in the spotlight thanks to USB-C, which allows them to connect to your computer with a single cable. The 15.6-inch MB169C+ is everything you could want in a model: thin, light, lag-free (thanks to Thunderbolt 3’s speedy 40Gbps transfer rate) and rocking a Full HD display. The idea is that you slip it into your bag when on the road and hook it up to your laptop for extra screen space – a particular Godsend when paired with Apple’s 12-inch MacBook that tops out with a scaled resolution of 1,680 x 1,080. Whether it’s watching a 1080p movie, squeezing in more spreadsheet rows or having a dedicated chat window open, you’ll find a use for it.

Get it from: Amazon

The Aukey USB Type-C to Type-A and VGA hub is a handy companion when you desperately need to connect standard USB devices with no compatible ports available. There’s also a VGA connection for hooking up older monitors or even projectors, all while charging your machine. The hub itself is compact and lightweight making it suitable for slinging into a bag, and its power indicator lets you know when it’s connected to your device. Unlike hubs that connect directly to your machine, the Aukey uses a cable, leaving plenty of room for hooking up other USB-C accessories.

Get it from: Amazon

USB-C comes in particularly handy when it comes to hooking external hard drives such as the Seagate Innnov8. With just a single cable needed to both power the drive and connect it to your laptop, there’s no need for a bulky mains power adapter. It’s just as well too, because the Innov8 is a monster in terms of both size and capacity. Its massive 8TB of storage makes it a great fit for backing up anything from movies and music to entire Steam game libraries. Transferring files to and from the Innov8 is quick and seameless, with the unit’s sequential read and write speeds reaching up to 203MB/s and 32MB/s respectively during our testing. Great stuff all round then, but you’ll need a large backpack to cart it around and a strong spine to to manage its considerable weigh

Get it from: Seagate

Newer laptops like Apple’s 12-inch MacBook and Dell’s XPS 13 come with USB-C connections, rather than the traditional USB-A type, which means transferring data from your old thumb drives is a no-no. SanDisk’s handy Dual USB Drive Type-C storage drive, which comes with 32GB of storage, has both types of connection allowing you to easily transfer data from one device to another. It will plug into any device with a USB-C connection, from laptops to desktop PCs and even newer smartphones. Android device owners can also take advantage of SanDisk’s data management app.

Get it from: Amazon

The 12-inch MacBook’s single port is either innovative or annoying depending on how you see it. Only being able to connect one peripheral or device is at least a little bit frustrating at the best of times, which is why Hyper launched the Type-C 5-in-1 Hub. It docks into the MacBook’s single USB Type-C port to provide multiple connections, including USB Type-C (with pass-through charging for daisy-chaining USB-C devices), an SDXC slot, micro SDXC and two USB 3.0 Type-A connections for plugging in your older peripherals.

Get it from: Hyper

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in the transition from USB-A to Type-C is the lack of ports. If you’re lucky, your desktop has a single USB 3.1 port whereas the rest all are standard 3.0 or even 2.0 Type-A ports. Fortunately, desktop towers are highly upgradeable pieces of kit, which means if you need an extra pair of 10Gbps-capable USB ports, it’s as easy as opening up your case and screwing Aukey’s USB-C PCI-Express card into place.

On the other hand, if you’re stuck with, say, a 12-inch MacBook, expanding your connection arsenal isn’t as straightforward a process considering – at least for right now – there aren’t any USB 3.1 hub solutions that forego Type-A altogether. At the very least, though, companies like Aukey have made the switch to Type-C more feasible than ever on PCs.

Get it from: Amazon

For $60 (£30, about AU$80), Anker’s PowerCore+ external battery is truly a steal. Boasting an impressive 20,100mAh charge capacity and USB-C compatibility of course, the Anker PowerCore+ can deliver up to one full charge to the latest MacBook while simultaneously powering an iPhone 6S and iPad Air 2 (from this, we can safely assume it would fair well with an iPad Pro as well). Bearing a wealth of accessories as an added bonus, such as a travel pouch, a USB to USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-C cable, the Anker PowerCore+ is the perfect battery pack for anyone traveling with a MacBook, Chromebook Pixel or other USB 3.1 device.

Get it from: Amazon

If you’re using a laptop with a limited number of USB ports then a dock is an essentially accessory. OWC’s USB-C Dock Media Drive adds an SD card reader, a headphone port, Gigabit Ethernet, an HDMI port and six USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C ports, two of which are high-powered charging ports for juicing up your devices’ batteries faster. The dock has its own proprietary power connection, meaning it won’t sap your laptop’s battery life while in use. Just be aware that its USB-C ports can only be used for charging and transferring data, and aren’t DisplayPort compatible – so you’ll be limited to hooking up a 1080p monitor (at 60Hz, or up to 4K at 30Hz) using the onboard HDMI port.

Get it from Amazon

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