I recently wrapped a review of Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 Plus at the same time I was fortunate enough to have had snagged a couple of JUICED Systems Adapters to help me properly put the device through its paces.
Now that we're officially in the future of dongles, choosing the right one is becoming as important as the flagship device they're going to be attached to. Fortunately, there is no shortage of dongles, however, the reliability and quality across the sea of connected peripherals vary from excellent to device ruining.
A couple of weeks ago, I was given three JUICED adapters to try out, 2 of which, were specifically designed for use with a Surface Pro. It's not often you find Surface Pro-specific hardware being sold that isn't coming from Microsoft, and it's even rarer to find something of lasting quality. So, given the chance to try out the Quad HUB - USB-C 4 Port Travel Hub, Surface Pro 6 - Optix Multifunction Adapter, and ZipHub Pro - Surface Pro 7 Adapter, I had to answer the call.
While I don't currently possess a Surface Pro 6, I was able to test out the other two adapters.
I started my testing with the ZipHUB - Surface Pro 7 Adapter.
The ZipHUB Pro is the latest adapter that Juiced Systems has designed specifically for the Surface Pro 7. The aluminum casing makes this unit perfect for those business trips or remote work spaces. We added only the essential ports without any compromise to performance. HDMI 4K @ 60 Hz, Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000), two USB 3.2 Generation 2 ports, and a USB-C port featuring USB 3.2 Gen 2 10 Gbps. Zip through your tasks with the ZipHUB Pro.
- HDMI 4K @ 60 Hz
- Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)
- 2x USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
- USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
For $35.00 (sometimes on sale on Amazon), you get a cool-to-the-touch piece of solid aluminum. Unlike other docks, hubs, or dongles I've used the ZipHUB Pro doesn't flex or creak under pressure, doesn't appear to get warm and its connecting pins continue to feel as rigid as they were on day one.
Thanks in part to its precision-cut dimensions, the ZipHUBvPro feels like more of an extension of the Surface Pro 7 than most other dongles, it snaps in to place alongside the tablet with ease.
With both support for HDMI 4K @ 60Hz and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 with 10 Gbps, I was able to usher aside my dependency on my Surface Dock and use the much more portable ZipHUB Pro. While the custom design is great for aesthetics, it should be noted its proximity to the adjoining Surface Pro 7 ports, peripherals with short cables may need a second consideration when choosing the ZipHUB Pro.
The other thing of note is its support for 4K @ 60Hz which makes it ideal for most normal workstation setups but for gaming and professional level video editing, users may need to look elsewhere.
Now that I'm back in the office, I was able to test out the hardwire connectivity of the gigabit ethernet connector and while I didn't run any specific speed tests, the connection was every bit as quick as it was for my dedicated desktop setup.
More importantly, there felt like there was zero lag between the ZipHUB Pro and my Surface Pro 7 Plus when transferring large files like edited audio, videos, batch image files, and CAD projects.
|HDMI||4K @ 30 Hz||4K @ 60 Hz|
|USB-A||2x (5 Gbps)||2x (10 Gbps)|
|USB-C||1x (5 Gbps) DATA ONLY
NO VIDEO/ NO POWER DELIVERY
|1x (10 Gbps) FULL FEATURE
DATA / POWER DELIVERY / VIDEO SUPPORT
|SD Memory||60 mb/s||N/A|
In hand, the ZipHUB Pro is about 2/3 the length of a 12.3-inch Surface Pro 7 and Plus tablet, about as wide as the device as well, and weighs a little bit more than Apple TV or Roku Stick. The ZipHUB Pro is pretty slender and pocketable which made it the ideal carry between the home office and work office for me. I used to rely on my Surface dock at home, an additional USB port on the Surface Pro 7 Plus charger, and a dongle to achieve what I can now do with the ZipHUB Pro.
If I were to have any complaints about the ZipHUB Pro, it would be the color options. The ZipHUB Pro comes in only a matte black color, which is an ideal match for a black Surface Pro 7 but I have the magnesium grey and would have preferred a similar color tone. Again, not quite a legitimate complaint of its design or functionality, just a "wish they had" sort of observation.
QuadHUB - USB-C 4 Port Travel Hub
While the title is a bit of a tongue twister, this JUICED four-port hub is anything but complicated. Users get a straightforward four-port dongle connected through USB-C as many other options before it.
At $35.00 the QuadHUB offers the basics in dongle connectivity with two USB-C (10 Gbps) and two USB-A ports all of which, do not support video output. Womp-womp!
Any USB-C Device
The QuadHUB was designed for quick device connections and rapid data transfers. Two USB-C ports and two USB-A 3.2 Generation 2 (10Gbps) ports will keep your efficiency at optimal levels. The QuadHUB serves as a quick USB hub for all of your external peripheral needs. Whether you need to connect multiple external hard drives or just a simple full-size keyboard, the QuadHUB is a fast easy solution. The QuadHUB does not need an external power supply to work and will power itself through the laptop's bus power. The small form factor makes this the smallest and most powerful travel hubs available.
There isn't much else to the QuadHUB, but unlike its ZipHUB brethren, this dongle is the most versatile of the bunch thanks to its tried-and-true form factor.
Owners will get a similar cold aluminum touch dongle with a sturdy rubber-covered USB-C stemmed wired.
For a quick fix or portable expansion, the QuadHUB is more than serviceable and can be used on any device with a USB-C port, so I was able to toggle its use between my Surface Pro 7, Lenovo's X12 detachable, Chromebook, and Surface Go 2 without an issue.
The read and write speeds for the ports are quick at 10Gbps per port and while it doesn't host a dedicated SD card or HDMI port, double the USB-A's and USB-C's connections cover more than 80% of use cases for most people.
The physicality of the QuadHUB is that it is slightly thicker than the ZipHUB Pro but shorter than it as well. The 4-inch rubber-clad USB-C connector is relatively rigid at the moment, and I'll have to follow up with this measure after prolonged use. The QuadHUB also feels lighter than the ZipHUB Pro despite being a little thicker at its base.
Life-Line USB-C Cable Combo
In addition to the dongles, I also received a JUICED Life-Line USB-C Cable Combo which retails for $40.00 on the company's website. A set of USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A set of 10ft-long threaded cables that come in a nifty threaded hard case for travel. The red, green, yellow and mostly black color aesthetic of the cable is a stand-out while the case itself is black and accented with neon green highlights coordinated design, like the Xbox theme.
For buyers who already have their favorite dongles or hubs at home but need charging cables or would like a bit more distance from an outlet, the Life-Line USB-C Cable combo should be another area of interest to visit on the JUICED website.
These were just a handful of peripherals I was able to recently test but based on the build quality, reliability, and craftsmanship, I've already ordered a couple of other items to round out my workstation at home and on the go.