Nowadays, more and more consumers are embracing the cloud for data storage and backup. This is not a mistake -- it is smart to store your files off premises. With that said, it is even smarter to also store the data locally for redundancy purposes. For instance, with local storage, if your internet connection is down, you can still access your files. With the cloud, if there is a disaster -- such as a house fire -- your data can be retrieved even if your local storage drives are destroyed. In other words, using the cloud and local storage together gives you the best of both worlds.
Picking local storage can be tricky, however. For cost purposes, a mechanical hard disk drive is still your best bet for backup. If you have a desktop, you can probably buy an internal drive, but laptop users aren't often as lucky. If you own a notebook, you most likely need to opt for an external USB drive. With USB 3.0 being fast enough for connecting a mechanical hard drive, even desktop users should probably consider it for convenience. I have been testing a very intriguing new external USB-C HDD with my MacBook Pro (running High Sierra). What makes the drive so special? It features 20TB of storage!
While the MacBook Pro doesn’t have a dedicated video port, that really doesn’t matter. Thanks to its versatile USB-C ports, any port can output video with the correct cable or dongle. In other words, a USB-C to HDMI, VGA, or DisplayPort cable can allow you to easily connect a computer to a monitor or television.
Most USB-C to DisplayPort cables claim 4K support at the most, but there is a new cable that takes things up a notch. You see, a new product from a company called "Moshi" can apparently do 5K at 60Hz. The company claims this is the first-ever USB-C cable to be certified by VESA for that resolution. It can even do 4:4:4 chroma subsampling. While it is designed for MacBook and MacBook Pro, it should work fine with Windows and Linux computers too.
The iPhone X, 8, and 8 Plus are all wonderful smartphones. Heck, you can’t go wrong with any of them. This trio of devices supports fast charging, although you need to use a compatible USB-C charger and Lightning cable.
Today, Belkin announces an all-new car charger that supports fast charging with the newest iPhone devices. Of course, it will work with Android devices too. This is exciting, as it means you can charge your phone more quickly when driving.
Having an SD card reader on a laptop nowadays is nice, but hardly necessary. After all, thanks to the cloud, consumers can easily transport files via the internet. As many photographers and videographers will yell you, however, the cloud is not always a viable solution for them -- working with local storage cards can be a must. The problem, you see, is that many creative people use macOS and the latest MacBook Pro laptops do not have such a card reader. What is the owner of Apple's latest laptop to do?
Just buy an adapter, of course! There are many USB-C card readers on the market that will work on macOS, Windows, and Linux. If you work on multiple machines, however, and some of those computers do not have USB-C, you will unfortunately have to buy a second dongle, right? Actually, no. Thanks to products such as StartTech's latest offering (SDMSDRWU3AC), which is a card reader that supports both USB-C and USB-A, you can use one adapter across all of your computers.
While some people spend their days working at the same location, for many others, their office can be anywhere. It is not uncommon to see people laboring away on a laptop while in their cars, coffee shops, or in a field sitting under a tree.
Unfortunately, this often means working with only one display -- having multiple monitors can be a huge boon for productivity. With that said, there are portable monitors on the market that offer a multi-screen experience when on the go. Today, AOC unveils a beautiful new lightweight (1.81 pounds) 16-inch (technically 15.6) variant that connects via USB-C for both power and video.
There are a lot of USB-C docks and accessories on the market today. While the port can be found on Windows and Linux machines, you can thank Apple for the overall popularity. When the company went all-in with USB-C ports on the MacBook Pro, accessory makers really took interest.
Today, Belkin releases a new dock that uses the newest USB connector. Called "USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD," it features 8 ports. Best of all, it can charge your laptop while it is connected. While it does offer 4K video, it is unfortunately capped at 30Hz, making it a non-starter for many.
When I bought my MacBook Pro last year, I knew I would end up buying some dongles. Since the laptop only has USB-C ports, I would need adapters to complete some tasks. If I want to use a traditional USB-A flash drive, for instance, I need a dongle. What if I need to plug into Ethernet? Yep, another dongle.
Truth be told, I very rarely connect to Ethernet or access flash drives these days, so those dongles are almost never needed. With that said, there is one big limitation of my MacBook Pro that impacts me regularly -- lack of video out. For this, I need to use a USB-C adapter (or a docking station). I've learned that not all of these dongles are created equally, however. While many can do 4K, they often max out at 30Hz. Thankfully, I found a really great USB-C to HDMI 2.0 adapter from a company called ACCELL that can do 4K @ 60Hz.
I recently reviewed the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Apple MacBook Pro and came away very impressed. This device essentially converts your Apple laptop into a desktop with great results. The problem? It needs to be plugged into a wall for power, and it is not intended to be taken on the go.
Today, OWC announces a product that is meant to be taken with you in your laptop bag. Called "USB-C Travel Dock," it features many of the ports you may need, such as HDMI, USB Type-A, and an SD card reader. It even has a USB-C port for power pass-through, so if you only have one such port, you can charge your laptop while using it too. Best of all, it is quite affordable.
USB-C devices are coming thick and fast lately -- it feels like it is raining dongles and docks! While Apple's MacBook computers aren't the only devices with such ports, they certainly accelerated the popularity. Of course, there are both Windows and Linux machines with USB-C too.
StarTech manufactures many USB-C devices, and now it is releasing three new docking stations. Why three? Well, they offer different features and come in at different price points. Heck, one model even has an integrated 2.5-inch drive bay for an HDD or SSD! All three docking stations can charge/power a laptop too, with a max output of 60W.
There are two very important technologies changing the computer landscape nowadays -- solid state drives and USB-C. SSDs are flash-based storage devices, meaning they are faster than traditional hard disk drives, while having no moving parts either. USB-C is just a connection type, but its reversible nature makes it an absolute dream for users -- Type-A connectors were a hassle as you had a 50-percent chance of inserting it incorrectly.
When these two things come together, you get a fast portable drive that can easily connect to the newest computers, such as the Apple MacBook Pro. I have been testing a very intriguing such external SSD lately from renowned company ADATA. This manufacturer is known for its high-quality memory products, such as RAM, flash drives, and solid state drives. The 512GB SSD I am testing, called "SE730H," is extremely small, very fast, and quite durable. It uses the USB 3.1 generation 2 interface.
There is no shortage of diminutive bus-powered portable USB storage drives on the market nowadays -- both SSD and 2.5-inch HDD variants. Unfortunately, these drives typically offer relatively small capacities. Some professionals (and home users) need an external drive with much higher storage possibilities and being portable doesn't always matter. In these cases, a 3.5-inch-based USB drive is preferable, as plugging into a wall outlet for power is not an issue, and more importantly, it is available in higher capacities.
Today, Western Digital unveils a new external desktop drive line that should meet the needs of many. Called "My Book Duo," it actually leverages two 3.5-inch mechanical hard drives in RAID-0 to offer capacities up to 20TB. For example, the top capacity offering is comprised of dual 10TB drives. It connects with the latest-and greatest USB-C connector. Making it even more useful, it even includes an integrated two-port USB-A hub. This makes the My Book Duo storage system particularly ideal for machines without USB-A, such as the newest MacBook Pro. It will not charge a connected laptop, sadly. The external drive also features 256-bit AES hardware encryption and comes with a respectable 3-year warranty.
The MacBook Pro is a wonderful laptop. It offers excellent performance, a sleek design, and one of the best keyboards on the market. There really isn't much to complain about, other than a lack of ports. You see, Apple went all-in with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on its new laptop, meaning some users would need to rely on dongles for connecting legacy devices.
There are countless dongles, adapters, and docking stations on the market nowadays, all looking to provide a fix for this port pain-point. Today, a new such product from a company named "Seesaw" becomes available for pre-order on Kickstarter. The "DockCase," as it is called, intrigued me because of its unique design. You see, it is a protective leather sleeve for the MacBook Pro with a USB-C docking station built in. It sounds weird, I know, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
There is no shortage of ultra high definition (UHD) monitors nowadays. Prices for 4K displays have dropped dramatically over the last few years, making them affordable for many home consumers. Heck, there are even some monitors with even higher resolutions now.
While many manufacturers are producing lower-priced 4K displays, ViewSonic is apparently going in the opposite direction. Today, the company introduces a beautiful new 27-inch 4K display with professional features, such as 99 percent Adobe RGB and HDR10. It even has USB-C video connectivity, which is perfect for Apple's MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the price is sky-high, putting it out of reach for most.
Portable solid state drives are better than mechanical hard drives for a few reasons. Obviously they are faster, but more importantly, they are more durable, as there are no moving parts. For those that travel a lot, for instance, a portable SSD is a safer product for throwing in a bag. Another big benefit is size -- modern portable SSDs are getting quite small, meaning they take up less room on a desk or in a backpack.
Today, Samsung launches its newest such drive, called the "Portable SSD T5." This beautiful drive features a USB-C connector and comes in two color options -- Deep Black and Alluring Blue. Since this is a Samsung product, it should last. If there are any issues, however, the company is including a three year warranty.
USB-C is everywhere nowadays. You can find it on smartphones, desktops, and laptops. Heck, I recently reviewed an amazing router that leverages the connector for power! Even lower-end laptops are getting in on it, such as the Acer Chromebook 11 C771.
The beauty of this connector, besides it being reversible, is that it can support many dongles, adding support for devices you need now, plus future products too. Today, Satechi launches two new such dongles, both of which are made with aluminum. One is a VGA adapter, while the other offers Gigabit Ethernet.