Technology

Hyper’s new Thunderbolt 4 hub has laptop charging power but no brick

Hyper, the company behind these stackable GaN chargers and powerful battery banksis launch a Kickstarter for a truly compact Thunderbolt 4 hub thanks to the fact that it doesn’t need a massive power supply like those that weigh down other hubs. Instead, it plugs directly into the wall with a relatively standard figure-of-eight power cable, allowing you to add fast ports to your computer without eating up a lot of backpack or desk space.

Despite the simplicity, Hyper says it’ll still be able to deliver up to 96 watts of power to your laptop, which is enough to power most laptops (if you have a gaming laptop or a MacBook Pro 16 inches, however, this may still lose some battery while going to full incline). As with most Hyper products, however, the hub doesn’t come cheap; Hyper says it should cost around $299 when it releases.

You can do a lot with three Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Picture: Hyper

As a Thunderbolt 4 hub, it gives you a few extra ports to work with. The front has four Thunderbolt ports. You connect your computer to one, then the discs, screens or other accessories of your choice to the other three. Hyper says its 32Gbps PCIe speeds (which equals 4x for PCIe 3.0 or 2x for PCIe 4.0) are fast enough for external GPUs and the ports can supply 15W of power to devices like an iPad Pro . It should also be compatible with most sophisticated monitor setups. Hyper says the hub supports technologies like Display Stream Compression and the multi-stream transport technology required to run two 6K displays at 60Hz.

The hub uses GaN to provide plenty of power to your computer and other devices.
Picture: Hyper

Obviously, you’re paying dearly for the convenience of not having an external power supply (which makes the hub more portable). For the price of the hub, you could get a complete Thunderbolt 4 docking station which adds several more ports. Hyper is offering Kickstarter backers a significantly lower price tag (from $179 to $239, depending on the remaining tiers), but there’s inherent risk in that. Yes, at this point Hyper is a reputable brand with many successful crowdfunding campaigns under its belt, but there’s still a difference between a Kickstarter pre-order and buying something directly from a website. The company says it expects hubs to start heading to backers in November.

If your pockets aren’t that deep or you don’t mind putting up with a little inconvenience, OWC Thunderbolt Hub may be worth a look. It also lets you add three Thunderbolt 4 ports to your computer, as well as a USB-A port (it even runs at 10 Gbps). At $169, it’s a little cheaper than Hyper’s version – but it’ll need to be tethered to a massive PSU, and it can only handle 60W of charging.

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