Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C Bracket Multi-Functional Hub Review
I’m always on the lookout for the best attached-on USB-C hub to use with the MacBook Pro. The Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C Bracket Multi-Functional Hub piqued my curiosity when I saw its design. It provides 9 different ports and even claims to include two Thunderbolt 3 ports. I was honestly doubtful of the claim as the price is way below any Thunderbolt 3 docks in the market. But the only way to know is to purchase and test it myself.
Review of the Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C Bracket Multi-Functional Hub
You can tell from the packaging that Baseus has designed the Armor Age Type-C Hub as a premium product. The box is itself looks nice. Opening it is as simple as removing the plastic tape and sliding out the inside of the box.
High-density foam inside the box protects the hub. A plastic sleeve also further protects the hub from any potential scratches during transport. I’ve removed this plastic sleeve in the photo below. The warranty card and manual tucked neatly in the sleeve above the box.
The Design of the Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C hub
The bracket design of the Baseus Armor Age Type-C Hub is an interesting one. This L-shape design allows the hub to also double as a stand to elevate the back of the MacBook Pro. This allows for better airflow underneath the MacBook which can help to lower the operating temperatures.
I really like how the two sides of the hub holds itself together when not in used. As you can see in the photo below, there are two rubber slots where the USB Type-C plugs can attach itself to. As a result, when put together, it takes up very little storage space.
Using the Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C Hub
Two independent hubs make up the Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C Hub. You can just use one side alone, but doing so means your MacBook will be lopsided when it rests on the table.
As you can see from the photo below, the hub is designed to be attached directly to all 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports on the MacBook Pro. This means you will no longer get to use any of the original ports on the MacBook Pro.
You can actually attach the left side on the right side of the MacBook Pro as both sides are symmetrically designed. However, if you do that, the ports that were designed to be back-facing would not be in its ideal position. So it is best to just follow how the hub is meant to be plugged in.
The Baseus Armor Age Type-C Hub is a plug and play device. You will not need to install any drivers at all.
There is a white LED that lights up at the bottom side of the hub. While it may seem cool at first, this does consume power if you want to just leave it attached to the MacBook all the time. This is another feature that I rather not have unless there is a way to switch it off when not needed.
The Baseus Armor Age Type-C hub will block the MacBook Pro’s 3.5mm audio jack. This is why this hub also includes a built-in USB audio device.
All the 9 ports on the hub
On the left side, you will see a USB Type-C port which Baseus claims to be a Thunderbolt 3 port at the side of the hub. At the back, you will find a single USB Type-C data port, an HDMI display port and a 3.5mm headphones audio jack. I wish Baseus had included a USB 3 port on the left side as well just like how it is available at the front of the right side. This would allow me to also use USB A devices on the left side of my MacBook Pro.
On the right, you will find another USB Type-C port which Baseus claims to be a Thunderbolt 3 port. The hub provides one USB 3 port at the front side, along with a 1GbE LAN port and 2 more USB 3 port at the back.
You would have noticed that I’ve refrained from stating that the side ports are Thunderbolt ports. This is because I doubt that they are actually Thunderbolt ports. Let’s find out in the next section!
Thunderbolt 3? Really?
Thankfully, I have the Razer Core X eGPU enclosure to test if these two ports are Thunderbolt ports. So, let’s plug it in and see if it works.
The result? Na-da! My suspicion was indeed true. This Baseus hub does not provide any Thunderbolt 3 capable ports. It’s just a USB 3.1 hub. Do note that I am using the 50cm Thunderbolt cable that came with the Razer Core X, so this is not caused by a cable problem.
The Razer Core X supports 100W charging over Thunderbolt 3 cable. This allows me to test Baseus claims on the 100W charging support. And on this point, this is true. It is after all part of the USB 3.1 specifications as well.
Even though I’ve suspected the lack of actual Thunderbolt 3 capable ports from the start, it is still disappointing to confirm it. Baseus, if you are reading this and thinks that I have a faulty unit, please reach out to me and let me know!
Testing the USB Type C and USB 3 ports
The fastest USB device I currently have is the Samsung T5 portable SSD disk. This is a USB 3.1 rated device, but it only has a theoretical maximum read/write speed of up to 540MB/s. But with this the Samsung T5, I was able to determine and confirm that all the Type C ports are indeed showing up under the USB 3.1 bus in System Information.
I used the Blackmagic Design’s Disk Speed Test app to test the read and write speed of the Samsung T5 portable SSD when connected to all the different USB Type-C and USB 3 ports on the hub. The disk speed test came to about 400MB/s.
This is slightly slower than when the Samsung T5 is directly attached to the MacBook Pro where I can get up to about 485MB/s of write speed and 528MB/s of read speed.
Using the Type-C port and USB 3 port on the right hub also shows the same results as the left side.
Testing the 1GbE LAN Network device
The network port on the Baseus Armor Age Type-C Hub is detected as a 1000baseT network device, as expected.
I simply used Speedtest to test the speed of my 1Gb fibre broadband internet when the MacBook Pro was connected directly to my router using a Cat7 Ethernet cable. The result shows that it performs just as expected of a 1GbE LAN port.
HDMI and USB-C DisplayPort performance
I used my LG 27UD88-W 4K monitor to test how well the Baseus Armor Age Type-C hub performs for external displays connectivity. First, let’s check out the HDMI performance.
As you can see from the System Information screenshot below, the HDMI performance is as per Baseus claims of up to [email protected]
When using USB-C to connect to my my external monitor, DisplayPort over the USB-C performed much better.
As you can see from the System Information screenshot below, I was able to get 60Hz performance from the DisplayPort over the USB-C connection.
The big question here is if I would recommend it for MacBook Pro users. The short answer is yes, as long as you do not intend to connect a Thunderbolt 3 device through the Baseus Armor Age Type-C Hub. This is yet another reason not to just trust what the packaging says, even though the hub is a decent one.
Let me summarise what I find to be the pros and cons of the Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C hub.
- Unique and nice bracket-style design
- Good built quality
- Premium material and feel
- Attach well to the MacBook Pro
- Doubles also as a laptop stand
- A lot of ports!
- 3x Type-C ports and 3x USB 3 ports
- Audio port included as well
- False claims of Thunderbolt 3 capable ports
- No USB 3 ports on the left hub
- LED light is always on and will continue to drain power when attached
I give a 3/5 rating for the Baseus 9-in-1 Armor Age Type-C hub. But even so, this will be the primary USB hub that I would be using with my MacBook Pro for all the pros that I’ve stated above. I would also easily recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great hub to use.
- -1 points for the false claims of being Thunderbolt 3 capable
- -1 points for the lack of USB 3 ports on the left side and the always on LED lights