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Review MINIX NEO USB-C Hub / Dock with Built in SSD Storage


hey everybody it’s LAN sideband we’re taking a look today at the MINIX neo USB type-c dock this is one of these devices that has a single USBC connector on one side but then you get a bunch of other stuff on the other side including power delivery HDMI out and 2 USB 3 ports but this one integrates storage as well it’s got a 240 gigabyte SSD built inside and this might be ideal for devices that don’t have that many ports like an Android smartphone or an iPad or one of those Mac books or a surface go in fact we’re going to test it with all of those things here in just a second to see what you can do with this because I do like having the storage integrated and of course we’ll take a look and see how fast that storage is now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds all the opinions are about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this device is all about so we’re gonna kick things off here with my little MacBook 12-inch the now-deceased little laptop from Apple and this famously only had a single USB C port for both power and data now I’ve got the MacBooks power adapter here coming into the power delivery slot now they didn’t indicate how much power it can deliver through the USB C port on it I think it’s probably going to be about 65 watts a little earlier we plugged my macbook pro into it and you can see we were drawing about 52 watts when we were running that computer at full load we have HDMI out here going to my video system and then I’ve plugged in my wireless Logitech dongle here for my keyboard and trackpad combo the keyboard trackpad is plugged in and charging because the battery had died and in a few minutes we’ll connect a second storage device to the other USB port here this package by the way cost about a hundred bucks for the 240 gigabyte version so not all that much more than one of those normal USB C docks would cost you without storage so let’s plug this in real quick and see if we get video out you heard that shine which means that the laptop is charging and sure enough the HDMI output is working here and I’m able to move some things around let me get the key switched on here and see if

we’re able to get that working so if I jump back here you can see I am moving the mouse around here let me get the mouse pointer down on the camera view there so that’s working just fine so the keyboard here is working through that USB and everything appears to be working as advertised now what I want to do first is just test the performance of the drive itself so we’re going to select that neo storage which you’ll see here on my finder and this is the SSD that is built into the little MINIX device here so we’re going to click that and open it it shows up just like any other external drive would and as you can see here we’re getting initially some pretty decent write performance on it about 400 megabytes per second this puts it on par with just about every other USB based solid-state portable drive I have looked at we’re not getting the super fast speeds you’d get out of a Gen 2 device but this is certainly more than adequate as you can see here the writes did take a little bit of a dip there but it looks like they’re catching up now so there might be some write caching going on that might fill up with frequent writes out to the disk but overall here it seems to be performing quite well for something that’s integrated inside of something else so this isn’t too bad to see here so yeah it looks like the writes will vary a bit but they’re hovering in the 300 to 400 megabyte range a little bit earlier on my gaming PC upstairs we tested the random read and write performance of the internal SSD I will put that result up right now from the crystal disk mark test it actually does very well you can see here on the

multi-threaded tests that it is writing and reading a pretty high rate of speed here really performing quite nicely even compared to some of the more premium solid-state drives that I have reviewed here on the channel so overall a very solid solid-state drive installed on this device that is really performing nicely for the price point here and it’s nice to have all of that packaged up in a single unit here that delivers a lot of additional functionality so it’s very pleased with that they do not recommend opening it up I did try to pull off the little feet here to see if there was a screw that I could access to maybe swap out that SSD I believe it’s just an M to drive inside of it but they said it’s all kind of glued together and if you do take it apart you’ll likely risk damaging it if you want to give it a shot you probably could swap it out for a larger Drive but it’s really not designed to be taken apart now I have noticed some irregularities on the USB ports connected to the device here so what I’m going to do real quick is without the video connected we’re going to attach a WD SSD this drive is a USB C solid-state drive that should perform about the same speed as what we saw out of the MINIX is internal drives let’s just connect it up real quick and run that test here and see what we get so it’s going to connect it up here to the first port I’m going to go over to my speed test and select that WD drive after it mounts itself and we’ll go ahead and do that the other drive should mount here in a second and if I connect it up and start the test you’ll see that we’re getting somewhat similar speeds here it’s running definitely slower than it does when I have it plugged in directly into this MacBook so the right speeds are all over the place the reads are a little bit more consistent running here at about the same rate of speed we saw out of the internal

MINIX drive but if I connect up video now and disconnect the drive and then reconnect it we’re going to see a very different story here so let’s plug in video to get the video running back to my video system here we’ll wait for that to flip over and then I will connect up the USB Drive here again and then what I’m going to do is load up the blackmagic test once more and we have it pointing out the same Drive but wait for it to mount here and we’ll run it again and I think we might see a different speed now and yeah so you can see now that it’s kind of dipped back down to USB 2.0 speeds and I think if you have video connected to it first it’s going to run these two USB devices at USB 2.0 speed versus USB 3.0 speed I’ve seen this before on a few other Doc’s that I have tested and it must have something to do with the bandwidth it’s sharing to output the video and if we take it a step further here and go into the Mac system report we’ll see that it is attaching that my passport drive to a USB 2.0 hub and the most we’re getting out of that hub if we go up to the top here is 480 megabits per second when I have it connected without video it actually puts it under this USB 3.

0 hub the good news though is that the internal drive is not impacted by this it always shows up under that USB 3 hub but it must have some bandwidth issues related to these USB ports so if you are connecting video the likelihood here is that you will be running these two ports at USB 2.0 speed and not 3.0 speed despite the fact that the box here says those are indeed USB 3 ports they will be USB 3 when you’ve got no video

connected but if you do they’re going to run slower alright so let’s do a little lightning round here and see how it works with non Apple devices so we’ve got a surface go tablet which also only has a single USB port we’re going to look and see if the HDMI output works along with power delivery the internal storage and of course the logitech dongle here so let’s plug it in and see what happens so it looks like we are charging down there in the corner the NiO storage here is popped up and it looks as though my mouse is working here I copied a video file over so we’ll go ahead and play that off the internal drive real quick and make sure that works and it looks like it is at least on the internal display here let’s just drag it over there yep it looks like all is good there so I think this will work fine on windows devices that support USB see earlier I did test out that USB problem we had on the Mac it is also doing the same thing here so that Drive was showing up as a USB 2.0 device when I did have video connected and it was properly in the USB 3.0 mode when video was not connected alright let’s take a look now at an iPad alright let’s take a look at my iPad pro the iPad pros have a USBC connector and not apples proprietary lightning connector most iOS devices including iPhones and non-pro iPads do not support this device but if your

eye has USBC then this will do what you’re about to see here so we’ve got it plugged in power is going in now so that is good let’s see if we get display out yes we’ve got display out so so far we have power in display out let’s test the USB here with the keyboard that is working so that’s good iPads do not support mice so you’re not going to see any mouse pointer running here on screen but if they ever do I would suspect that it works and one of the neat things about iOS 13 or iPad OS for the iPad is that they now support external storage and sure enough the built-in drive on the hub is showing up I’ve got a video here that we had copied over from the Mac a little bit earlier and there you go it’s playing here on the iPad just like it did on the surface tablet so that is cool to see so it looks like this is fully functional on the iPad running iPad OS or iOS 13 if your device has a USB C port now we’re gonna try an Android phone this is a Galaxy s8 from Samsung that I got in from them on loan a little while ago I got to get this back to them at some point this does have a USB C output which supports video out in some of the other tests that we’ve done with it let’s see how it fares with the hub all right so we have the phone here ready to go we’re going to plug in the hub now into the bottom of the phone where it’s USB C port is it is getting powered now so it is charging off of that USB connector there and it looks like now we’ve got video working so that’s good and let’s jump over to Samsung notes here and maybe just use the keyboard and start typing out some stuff and sure enough that is working and the mouse

is working too so that’s pretty cool you can see the mouse here moving on-screen and that’s because android supports mice and if we jump back out here let’s go over to the file manager and see if we can see that built-in storage and sure enough here you can see the USB storage on the MINIX hub here so let’s load that up real quick and we can see some of the files on there now I do have the video that we copied over from the Mac a little bit earlier but it looks like this app has a hard time getting that video to playback so it’s been spinning here as I’ve been testing things but it looks like you probably should be able to move files back and forth I think this might be just an app compatibility issue with the media file that we’re trying to playback but overall it looks like if your phone supports USBC fully you’ll be able to gain access to the features of this hub now on Android you definitely want to check with your phone manufacturer to see what the compatibility is with the USB C port that you have my pixel 3a phone for example does not support video output through the HDMI but the other features do work so every phone will probably have different compatibility but at least with the Samsung phone you can see what we’ve been able to do here and I think other Samsung phones should perform the same and you can see now that video has started to playback as well so all is good for Android for iPad for Windows and for the Mac so pretty good stuff here – the USB issue and it looks like MINIX may have a pro edition on the way that incorporates gigabit ethernet in addition to the other features that we see on this one I’m eager to try that one out when it’s released and we’ll probably get one in and see how it performs I’m concerned about the

performance of that Gigabit Ethernet when you do have video attached so we’ll see if it has the same kind of performance penalties we are seeing right now with the USB ports on this edition that’s my only big ripe here is I don’t think they made it clear enough that you’ll see a performance degradation when video is attached at least for those two USB ports that should have been made more clear in the product packaging and in the manual but nonetheless it’s still pretty useful I think especially given that you don’t see a performance hit on the SSD when video is attached and it is very useful to have storage plus the ports available along with power delivery for phones tablets and other ultrabooks that are very limited in the number of ports that they have so unbalanced it’s a good product I just wish they were a little bit more clear about those USB ports until next time this is Lian Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold-level supporters the four guys with quarters podcasts cristela Greta Tom Albrecht Mike Talbert Brian Parker in Kellyanne Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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