Anker’s PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-CD PD Ethernet Hub Review
A handy accessory for evening hours spent working in a hotel.
A desktop hub might not seem like an obvious tech aid for scientific fieldwork. However, if you spend the evenings working on a laptop in a hotel, motel or camp and need to attach a monitor, wired internet and more peripherals than your computer has ports for, a hub like Anker’s PowerExpand+ could come in very handy.
Designed to plug into a USB-C port, which is standard on the latest smartphones, tablets, MacBooks and laptops, it can add up to four extra inputs (below), depending on what media your data are stored on and what kind of peripherals you needs to connect to your device.
One side of the hub has two standard USB 3.0 ports that can house USB flash drives, hard drives, a printer or a wired mouse and keyboard. On the opposite side are inputs for SD and microSD cards. The last two of these inputs make it easy to transfer images, waypoints, maps or other files to and from devices such as GPS units, tablets and smartphones that use MicroSD cards for storage.
Finally, rounding out the features is an Ethernet cable port through which you can get a hard-wired connection to the internet if you have an Ethernet cable to plug into it.
The PowerExpand+ is more than just a data hub, however. It also includes a 4K HDMI output that can be hooked up to an external screen. I found this especially useful on a job where I used my Acer 2-in-1 laptop with a portable monitor and needed USB inputs for an external hard drive and a printer, as well as the Ethernet port for stable internet connection.
As its name suggests, the PowerExpand+ also has a USB-C Power Delivery input that will pass power through to the device it is used with when connected to a 60W charger (which is not supplied).
Pack it or not?
There are plenty of similar after-market hubs available through internet retailers such as Amazon and eBay and I have not compared the performance of this product against any of those. However, I have been using it everyday in my office to connect my Acer laptop to peripherals and a monitor and everything has worked as expected for several months.
Anker has a reputation among consumers as a manufacturer of high quality accessories for laptops and mobile devices. The PowerExpand+ 7-in-1 USB-CD PD Ethernet Hub is easily portable and would be reliable addition to anyone’s field gear list for extended trips where data upload and entry will be involved.
The review sample used in this article was provided by Anker. More information is available on the Anker website here.
This article was originally published on The Morton Report here. If you are interested in other technology reviews and articles I wrote as a voluntary columnist for that website, you can find them listed here. I have written for several science and technology magazines and websites and would be can provide additional samples of my work upon request.