As laptops get more compact they tend to have fewer expansion options built-in. But there are also a growing number of third-party accessories like USB-C hubs that give you more ports when you need them, or portable SSDs that give you more high-speed storage.

Now there are also at least a few options that give you both from accessory makers including Anker, Beelink, MINIX and Satechi.

Beelink Expand M
Beelink Expand M

Anker PowerExpand 4-in-1 SSD USB-C Hub

The Anker PowerExpand SSD Hub features a built-in USB-C cable that plugs into your laptop, smartphone, tablet, or other gadget to give you two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, another USB Type-C port, and an HDMI port.

Inside the case there’s also a 256GB SSD with support for data transfer speeds up to 400MB/s.

Anker PowerExpand 4-in-1 SSD USB-C Hub
Anker PowerExpand 4-in-1 SSD USB-C Hub

The hub also supports 100W USB-C power delivery, which means that you can plug your laptop’s power supply into the USB-C port and charge your laptop at the same time as you’re giving it additional ports and storage.

Anker’s 4-in-1 hub with an SSD has a list price of $100.

Beelink Expand M

The Beelink Expand M SSD Storage & Docking Station is available from the Beelink website and it’s another 4-in-1 USB-C hub with similar features including a built-in SSD. But Beelink’s model comes in several different storage capacities:

  • BYO SSD for $42
  • 128GB for $66
  • 256GB for $78
  • 512GB for $106

Beelink’s dock measures 4.5″ x 1.5″ x 0.4″ and houses an M.2 2280 SSD with support for speeds up to 440MB/s.

Beelink Expand M

The company notes that those prices are available during the pre-order period, and represent a 40% discount off the eventual retail price for the Expand M dock, which is expected to ship in August.

The Beelink Expand M also has an SSD power status switch on the case. Press it to put the SSD to sleep and a blue indicator light will come on letting you know that reading and writing to the drive has been disabled to save power. Press it again and the light will glow green to let you know the SSD is working.

MINIX Neo

Chinese mini PC maker MINIX has been selling a line of USB-C hubs with built-in SSD storage for a few years under its MINIX Neo line of accessories.

Like other models, it features a 4K-compatible HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, and an integrated SSD.

MINIX Neo USB-C hub with HDMI, Ethernet and 480GB SSD

Some models also have Ethernet jacks. You can pick up a few different storage capacities:

Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport Adapter

Satechi’s adapter measures 5.3″ x 1.8″ x 0.6″ and features two USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps) ports and a 4K HDMI port with support for displays up to 4K @ 60 Hz. There’s also a USB-C port with support for up to 100-watt power delivery.

There’s room for an M.2 2280 SATA SSD inside the case, allowing you to bring your own storage.

Available in black or gray color options, the Satechi USB-C Hybrid Multiport adapter is available for $90.

BYO storage options

You could theoretically buy a portable USB SSD and plug it into any USB hub to create your own port expander + storage system. But that involves carrying around another device and another cable.

A few more companies offer USB-C hubs with slots for off-the-shelf SSDs or hard drives, which allows you to build your own all-in-one solution. Here are a few that I’ve found:

  • Hagibis USB C Hub – 2.5″ SATA enclosure with 3 x USB 3.0 ports, 1 x USB 2.0 port, SD and microSD card readers for $36 – AliExpress
  • UGREEN 6-in-1 USB-C hub – 520 MB/s M.2 slot and HDMI, 3.5mm audio, 3 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB-C for $43 – AliExpress
  • Gadgetao USB-C hub – M.2 2280 slot and HDMI, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1 x USB 2.0 Type-A, 2 x USB Type-C, SD, and microSD card readers for $75 – AliEpxress
  • XTRAL USB-C hub – M.2 2280 slot and 2 x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A, HDMI, and SD microSD for $70 – Amazon

via AndroidPC.es and CNX Software

This article was originally published July 14, 2021 and last updated October 22, 2021.

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  1. Bought the Minix 480 + Ethernet thinking I could put Linux on the drive. No matter what distro I installed on the drive or which one of the 3 machines I tried, no bios would recognize the drive as bootable.

  2. I’m desperately searching for one of these that attach directly to the side of the MacBook, without any kind of cable. I want to have the SSD be a permanent part of the computer. I would also really prefer an m.2 2280 NVMe slot, as I already have a 2TB Intel 660p I would like to use. Has anyone ever seen one of this variety?

  3. Or you could just buy a half decent SSD and a USB enclosure. I paid about $55 for a 256GB. Then bought a 13 in 1 dock for $70. I can always upgrade the SSD later.

    I’m limited by the 10Gb limit on USB 3.2, so it works quite well.

  4. I’ve been looking for something exactly like this. I’m just not thrilled about either device’s choice to use an integrated USB cable. Just give me a Type-C port.

      1. Yeah, I’ve seen that one on Aliexpress. The specs concern me. It says it only supports 4K video at up to 30hz, which to me is an indication that it only supports HDMI 1.4, which is not useful to me.