Review of the Satechi Surface Pro 9 Hub: What a specialized gadget!

Review of the Satechi Surface Pro 9 Hub: What a specialized gadget!

The Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub from Satechi is a little disorganized. And it may be overstating the case. It is made just for the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 tablet, to start. Secondly, there are two variants of the Surface Pro 9, and the internal hardware of each variant varies. Is this relevant? Yes, in part. The main query, though, is whether purchasing this hub will be possible if you already possess other Surface Pro gear.

Of course, a hub made exclusively for the Surface Pro 9 is a little limited. Will the Surface Pro 8 and the Satechi Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub be compatible? Not really, though. Does it also function with the Surface Pro 10? In my opinion, yes. I’ll make an effort to clarify the distinctions for you.

Satechi’s Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub: Dimensions, interface, and build quality

Let’s begin with the fundamentals. The Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub from Satechi is cordless. Rather, a Surface device’s two USB-C ports fit into the hub’s two USB-C connectors. Measuring 4.45 x 1.3 x 0.31 inches, the hub weighs only 1.4 ounces. It’s thin and light, and it fits perfectly inside both our internal Surface Pro 9 (5G) evaluation unit and a Surface Pro 8 (with a major catch that we’ll talk about later).

However, some of the Surface clamshell notebooks have somewhat different port spacing. For instance, the Surface Laptop Studio’s ports are positioned so differently that the hub won’t fit. It’s a plus that there is no cord. The weight of a dongle hanging from the Surface Pro 9’s USB-C connector would likely strain that connection, even at only a few ounces. Satechi’s strategy is the right one.

The Surface power connector is located on the right side of the Surface Pro 9, while the two USB-C connectors are located on the left side of the tablet. In other words, the Satechi Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub is fully compatible with the gadget. We don’t have a review model of the Surface Pro 10, but based on press images, I believe Satechi’s hub will function flawlessly with that tablet as well.

On the other hand, the Surface Pro 8 positions the ports on the right, next to the power button, and the Surface charging slot directly beneath it. This indicates that the charging port is too close to the hub to be plugged in, and the hub covers the power button. If you connect the hub, your device can unintentionally shut down! On the Surface Pro 8, you may improvise a workaround by attaching the hub as soon as you hit the power button and then charging using one of the USB-C connections. Nevertheless, why? In other words, the previous Surface Pro 8 isn’t truly compatible with this hub.

On the side of Satechi’s hub where cords are plugged in, the far-left USB-C input connector is a USB4 40Gbps pass-through port. Since USB4 is a more widely compatible version of Thunderbolt 3/4, Thunderbolt devices should function with this hub—but only under specific circumstances. A standard 10Gbps port is the other USB-C inlet. A 10Gbit USB-A port, an unidentified HDMI port, and a UHS-1 SD/MicroSD slot are located next to it.

The Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub from Satechi will have varying performance.

There are two versions of the Surface Pro 9 available: the Surface Pro 9 (5G), which has a Microsoft-Qualcomm Snapdragon Arm chip inside, and the Surface Pro 9, which has an Intel chip inside. The 40Gbps Thunderbolt port on the Intel-based variant seamlessly links to the hub’s 40Gbps USB4 connection.

However, the Surface Pro 9 (5G) only has a basic USB-C connector that supports 10Gbps, so the hub’s functionality is constrained by what the tablet can provide. Do you see the problem? The Surface version you own has some bearing on this hub’s worth.

The Surface Pro 9 (5G) will connect to a single 4K display at 60Hz via the hub. Unexpectedly, the Surface Pro 8 was unable to connect to two 4K displays via a USB4 or Thunderbolt 4 port. (A USB-C (Thunderbolt) to HDMI cable worked for me because the hub only has one HDMI connector. Nope, the Surface devices with Qualcomm and Intel chips should function similarly in that way.)

Is it good to purchase the Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub from Satechi?

Most likely not if you don’t own a Surface Pro device. Your laptop’s two Thunderbolt or USB-C ports are probably not positioned right, even if you have them on the side. Not even Surface Pro devices from Microsoft are designed consistently.

Is the Surface Pro 9 that you own an Intel device? If so, there’s no doubt you could locate a USB-C hub or Thunderbolt dock with extra power. However, the Satechi Dual USB-C Surface Pro 9 Hub is a good niche product if you already own a Qualcomm-based Surface Pro 9 or aren’t prepared to spend that much money and don’t care about operating two 4K screens.

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