Home ConsumerClient Accessories VAVA USB-C 8-in-1 and 9-in-1 Hub Review

VAVA USB-C 8-in-1 and 9-in-1 Hub Review

by Kevin OBrien

With most notebooks adopting and centralizing around the USB-C standard, one of the nice trends to hit the market is the explosion of universal USB-C docking solutions. These are great as they don’t require the same vendor tie-in as past docking systems did, although they can still be a bit on the bulky side. Many need large power bricks, since besides adding ports they are also designed to power your notebook and devices as well. For those looking for more travel-friendly designs or perhaps if you need quick access to a port not offered on your notebook, non-powered USB-C hubs offer many of the same benefits at a fraction of the size. In this review we look at two such options from VAVA, who has two hubs, the 8-in-1 and 9-in-1 models, which offer just as many ports as the name implies.

With most notebooks adopting and centralizing around the USB-C standard, one of the nice trends to hit the market is the explosion of universal USB-C docking solutions. These are great as they don’t require the same vendor tie-in as past docking systems did, although they can still be a bit on the bulky side. Many need large power bricks, since besides adding ports they are also designed to power your notebook and devices as well. For those looking for more travel-friendly designs or perhaps if you need quick access to a port not offered on your notebook, non-powered USB-C hubs offer many of the same benefits at a fraction of the size. In this review we look at two such options from VAVA, who has two hubs, the 8-in-1 and 9-in-1 models, which offer just as many ports as the name implies.

While we recently looked at VAVA’s full fledge USB-C dock, aptly named the 12-in-1 Dual 4K Docking Station, VAVA also sells two smaller hub models for those that need something a bit more compact. The two models are very similar, offering many of the same ports, including two USB 3.0 ports, a single USB 2.0 port, a 100w USB-C power input, a USB-C tether to connect it to your notebook, as well as a SD and microSD card reader, gigabit Ethernet port and HDMI video out. The 9-in-1 adds an audio jack for those that need it.

The VAVA 9-in-1 and 8-in-1 USB-C hubs have a 59.99 and 54.99 MSRP respectively, with street pricing at the time of this review clocking in around $50 for the 9-in-1 and $36 for the 8-in-1.

VAVA USB-C 9-in-1 and 8-in-1 Hub Specifications

  • USB-C Connection Cable
  • USB-C Power Input (100W)
  • 2 x USB 3.0 Ports
  • 1 x USB 2.0 Port
  • 1GbE Ethernet Port
  • SD card and MicroSD Card Readers
  • HDMI Video Output (1080P @ 60Hz, 4K @ 30Hz)
  • 1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack (9-in-1 only)

Build and Design

Both of the VAVA USB-C hubs offer a compact look and sturdy metal feel, whereas the 9-in-1 comes in slightly thinner than the 8-in-1. the main area of difference to point this out is looking at the end of each hub, where the 9-in-1 has a spring-loaded expanding Ethernet port, while the 8-in-1 is tall enough to have a full standard RJ45 port. Both are still very thin, the 9-in-1 is just that much more slimmed down.

From a footprint perspective each dock is about the same length and minimal differences in depth. Each also has a 6-inch or so cord to attach to a notebook. To give a size reference, both docks are around the size of a thin Apple iPhone SE, so very easy to pocket or toss into a backpack.

From a hardware standpoint everything is “driver free” in the sense that on most systems when you plug the hub in, no drivers need to be specifically downloaded and installed from the vendor to get it to work. On each VAVA hub the ports and devices quickly appear, and the Ethernet jack presents itself as an available Realtek gigabit port. It really couldn’t be easier… you literally plug in one cable and you are off to the races, a 2nd cable if you want to pass power through the hub.

Conclusion

We have been very impressed with the quality and designs offered by the VAVA USB-C offerings. The 8-in-1 and 9-in-1 hubs extend that feeling, hitting excellent design marks and coming with a nice durable feel. Both are compact and easy to use (it really couldn’t be any easier than it is) which is vital in the role as a plug-n-plug hub. Using it with the notebooks in our office both functioned as intended. The only knock would be in regards to the HDMI port, which works at 60Hz only in 1080P resolutions, while 4K clocks in at 30hz. We see these as more travel accessories instead of daily-usage components, so the lower 4K refresh rate probably won’t affect most buyers. Overall for those looking to build out a travel kit and extend the reach of a portable compute platform, the VAVA 8-in-1 and 9-in-1 USB-C hubs have a lot to offer at an excellent entry price.

VAVA USB-C docks on Amazon

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