Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter
Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter Review
M1 Apple devices were designed for powerful computing, with a lower power drain than competitive products. Those powerful M1 chips, while increasingly showing up in port-heavy designs, might still benefit from a mobile USB-C dock that pushes it just a little more over the edge. Satechi knows Apple’s Mac market as well as any company, and their $179.99 Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter emboldens M1 devices with a plethora of ports. As a plus-up, the MX Adapter delivers the goods to almost every other USB-C computing device imaginable.
What we like
The 13 x 6 x 1.5 cm, 180 gm (5.11 x 2.36 x .59 and about .4 pounds) Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter comes loaded with multiple, including:
- Dual 4K HDMI ports, one at 60Hz and one at 30Hz. The dual power configuration required SiliconMotion software to drive both monitors.
- USB-C Power Deliver with Fast Charging, supporting up to 100W.
- USB-C data
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Micro/SD card readers
- Audio port
Those are all the right ports, including the audio port for the audio-port-starved iPads.
Smaller, less expensive adapters can be had, but Satechi creates beautiful products and work well. Those looking for a solid, one-stop adapter solution need look no further unless they have much higher requirements.
What could be improved
The USB-C cable leading out of the Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter is too short and too stiff, especially when connecting to a standing iPad Pro. Even with a MacBook it doesn’t have enough give to squeeze it into a small space. The USB-C connect wants to be straight, and when you bend it, it wants to return to a straighter configuration. I keep an USB-extender with me, but I should have to.
The Multiport MX can, of course, be jammed or wedged into place, but the more elegant solution would be a long connector. With the depth and breadth of this device I would like to see Satechi barrow a good design from OWC’s USB-C Travel Dock and place a flexible cord in the bottom of the case, wrapped around and tucked in until ready—and then long enough and flexible enough to serve iPadPro and laptop alike.
Satechi makes a good effort to help buyers figure out the SiliconMotion app required to use both HDMI ports. They even put the software on a small SSD in the adapter, but they don’t tell you about that–and they are not necessarily the current versions. I must confess I was confused by the app component–especially since it was “required” for dual HDMI. I discovered that my HP Spectre x360 arrived with drivers already installed. Though the built-in feature works differently than the SiliconMotion downloadable app, the dual HDMI ports worked on the HP with no additional software.
On my older MacBook, I downloaded the InstantView™ app and it worked as advertised. Exit the app and the third monitor powers down. An i5-based 12-inch MacBook usually experiences sluggish video with an unaided macOS. InstantView™ transformed my three-monitor into a viable configuration, with swift mouse movements between displays. Using InstantView™ and the Satechi USB-C Multiport MX I am driving two ViewSonic displays, a VP2768a and a TD1655 mobile display. The adapter easily supported my VP2768a in flipped orientation for full-page writing.
I explain this and include the InstantView™ sidebar to give potential buyer’s a heads up that this is not just a plug-and-play adapter—to leverage both HDMI ports requires an app, or some other software designed to make it work.
What does Silicon Motion InstantView™ software do?
This Silicon Motion InstantView™ allows laptops, Chromebooks, and Android devices to mirror their screens to an external display. The software was developed to push video over USB ports, including USB-C and ThunderBolt. The app works automatically to push video through the app immediately upon connection to a video output source.
Latest app for Mac, Windows, and Android here: https://www.siliconmotion.com/downloads/index.html
Some might complain about the size, but given the number of ports, the Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter proves svelte enough for travel. The only downside of its many ports? Unfortunately, the USB-A ports cannot be used to charge devices or power external devices or drives like the Apple SuperDrive.
Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter Review: The Bottom Line
If traveling calls for multiple displays, the Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter makes a compelling case for joining your accessories. The Multiport MX’s multitude of ports will meet most situations head-on, and its dual HDMI ports will create a studio environment almost anywhere. The $179.99 may put off some buyers, but the functionality and build quality justify this adapter’s premium.
Satechi provided the Satechi USB-C Multiport MX Adapter for review. Images courtesy of Satechi.
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