USB-C hub

Apple-exclusive premium accessory maker Twelve South today released StayGo, a compact and lean USB-C hub featuring legacy Mac notebook ports that Apple took away from us. With StayGo, you can connect up to eight accessories to your computer or tablet, plus power.

Whether you just got a brand new Mac notebook or have upgraded your computer, you’ll probably want to get your old ports back. And rather than buy multiple pricey USB-C adapters, it’s only natural that you’ll want to invest your hard-earned cash into a multi-port hub.

Here’s Twelve South’s founder Andrew Green enthusing about what makes StayGo special.

In short, the new Twelve South accessory helps connect peripherals to your Mac notebook or iPad Pro tablet whether you’re working at your desk or on the go. The charming compact device features small footprint and is no bigger than two decks of cards.

The nicely-crafted metal enclosure feels assuringly sturdy and durable.

Getting your old ports back

StayGo brings back all the eight ports that Apple has gradually removed from Mac notebooks over the years as they transitioned to the more flexible and convenient USB-C standard.

Lined up alongside StayGo’s rear are the following ports:

  • 1x HDMI: 4K x 2k @ 30Hz HDMI / full 1080p
  • 1x USB-A 3.0: 7.5W fast-charge power (BC 1.2), USB SuperSpeed up to 5 Gbps
  • 2x USB-A: 900mA power, USB SuperSpeed up to 5 Gbps
  • 1x Gigabit Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mbps via RJ45 connection
  • 1x USB-C: 85W USB Power Delivery charging (pass-through power to MacBook)

Your SD card and Micro-SD card slots (up to 104 Mbps via Secure Digital v3.0 UHS-I) can be found on the accessory’s left side. These duals SD card slots support simultaneous data connection capable of connecting and downloading your high-resolution photos or 4K video for editing simultaneously, which is awesome. On the righthand side, you’ll find another USB-C port (40 Gbps data transfer and up to 100W input power) that is used for connecting the hub (and all of its ports) to your computer through a single USB-C cable.

Desktop + on-the-go

When using StayGo in conjunction with a MacBook, you will simply plug your notebook’s power adaptor into the hub’s USB-C port with pass-through power, then plug your computer into the other USB-C port on your hub using one of the two provided cables (more on these a bit later). In such a setup, your hub is supplying up to 85 watts of charging power to both the notebook and any connected peripherals through the connected power source.

USB-C hub

A single USB-C cable brings back all those ports + power to your Mac.

In desktop mode, however, you only need to connect the included cable to the USB-C port on the side of StayGo and the other end to your computer — no additional power source is needed because the hub is getting juice fed to it from your desktop computer.

Thoughts on ports

At first, I thought having only a single powered USB-A port would prove problematic given the amount of iThings I need to recharge on a daily basis before realizing that all three actually do provide power compliant with the full USB-A 3.0 specification. Additionally, the first USB-A port provides an additional 7.5-watt fast-charge power  In my typical daily usage of StayGo, I would take advantage of the first power to fast-charge my iPhone and use the other USB-A ports to connect things like mice, keyboards and USB thumb drives.

USB-C hub review

StayHub ships with the included 1-meter USB-C cable.

I once needed to access my external USB hard drive on the go, but had unfortunately left its wall brick at home (I told you earlier I suck at carrying extra things on me). StayGo came to the rescue—I was able to connect my hard drive to the hub without needing to plug the drive into power. The port matrix on StayGo is more or less what you get with similar USB-C accessories in that price range. Aside from its good looks and the plethora of ports, this hub sets itself apart with flexible design making it equally impressive for desktop and mobile use.

“Should I Stay or should I Go?””

Many USB hubs either have very short cables or plug directly into a Mac’s USB-C port, in turn creating a messy workspace due to a tangle of cables and cords hanging off the side. StayGo ships with a 1-meter cable that plugs directly into your notebook so you can enjoy legacy ports and connect your old accessories without using adapters. I’ve found the cable long enough to keep the wires tucked away, resulting in a clean, tidied-up workspace.

Twelve South StayGo USB-C hub review

StayGo not only brings your old Mac ports back, but also helps tidy up messy workspaces.

But when you’re ready to hit the road and work remote, StayGo has you covered with an additional travel cable, stowed neatly inside the hub. Simply slide the integrated travel cable out of its slot on the side of the Twelve South hub and connect one end of the cable to the USB-C port of the hub itself and its other end to your computer.

MacBook hub

The travel cable stays protected inside the metal hub—much better that a fixed cable from a durability point of view.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that Twelve South has integrated this cable into the enclosure. As someone who cannot be possibly bothered to carry any additional cables than absolutely necessary, such a design consideration on Twelve South’s part is greatly appreciated.

Wrapping it all up

Build quality is great and the device feels reassuringly durable and strong, almost as if holding a piece of professional networking gear in your hand. The holes on the enclosure’s top and bottom provide cooling for the components inside the housing.

The aluminum exterior shell dissipates heat. Like with most other metal-clad hubs, I’ve found StayGo to become pretty warm to touch when used under direct sunlight (so does my metal MacBook Pro so there’s that). Aside from that, I’ve had no mayor complaints in my almost month-long hands-on time with StayGo.

MacBook USB-C hub review

Move those cables up to 1 meter away from your Mac.

Small footprint – the hub’s about the size of a 4.7-inch iPhone — lets you take your StayGo anywhere you go as it takes up very little room in your typical computer bag, backpack or carrying bags like Twelve South’s own CaddySack. And because USB-C is an industry standard, you don’t need any drivers to use StayGo. In fact, the accessory will “just work” with any USB-C host device, be it a Mac or Windows PC, a Linux machine, your iPad Pro, an Android device etc.

Needless to say, there are plenty of alternatives out there.

USB-C hub review

StayGo in “Go” mode, connected to a Mac notebook via its integrated travel cable.

Satechi’s aluminum USB-C hub costs a bit less than StayGo because it skimps on some ports, but Satechi also has a pricier variant, costing $100, that is comparable to Twelve South’s gizmo. If you’re the type of person whose workflow requires presence of the 3.5mm headphone jack, I’d consider Hyper’s accessory that integrates the headphone jack.

MacBook hub

Hastily-designed hubs contribute to workspace clutter, not unlike this generic accessory.

Are you someone who only needs to access USB-A ports for charging and nothing else? If so, then Mophie’s new 6,100mAh Powerstation Hub battery pack which can charge 4 devices and also comes with Qi wireless charging support could be right what you need.

To learn more about StayGo, visit the official website.

Pros and cons

Here’s what we liked and disliked about StayGo

Pros

  • Slim, compact and portable design
  • Integrated travel cable safely stowed inside the hub
  • 1-meter desktop cable keeps connections out of sight

Cons

  • Black metal enclosure and summer heat don’t go well together (go figure!)

Pricing and availability

StayGo retails for $100 and is available at TwelveSouth.com, Amazon.com and other retail partners.

What do you think of this charming little hub? And while we’re at it, what’s your preferred USB-C hub for desktop and mobile use?

Do share your thoughts and observations with fellow readers in the comments down below.