A pocket-sized prop for a 15-inch MacBook Pro that doubles as an 8-in-1 hub for a work-from-anywhere life
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Got a 15-inch MacBook Pro? If you have then you’ll love its sleek style and long-lasting battery, but there’s also something TravGear guarantees you hate about—it has virtually no ports. When you’ve got SD cards, USB 3.0 sticks, and a network cable to attach, what use are a couple of Thunderbolt 3 slots? Cue the J-Cube, an insanely useful device that adds eight ports to your MacBook. It’s now on Kickstarter.
Joyroom J-Cube: design
Measuring 60x59x39mm and weighing 134g, the J-Cube is just about pocket-sized. It comes in two halves, each one designed to sit at the far corners of a MacBook as you work at it. They’re magnetic so stick together, which is a nice feature. So is the pop-up design that sees each J-Cube connect to the side of a MacBook Pro via both of its Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) slots. Each halve has a silicon rubber ‘L’ or ‘R’ shape to let you know where to place it but also to prevent it slipping on almost any surface. Clever.
Joyroom J-Cube: features
One of the J-Cube halves hosts a Thunderbolt 3 slot for recharging your MacBook Pro alongside two USB 3.0 slots and a Gigabit Ethernet LAN slot for attaching a network cable. That’s really useful in situations when there’s no usable WiFi—such as at conferences and exhibitions. On the other J-Cube half is a third USB 3.0 slot alongside a 4K-ready HDMI output—for conducting presentations and watching video on a bigger screen or projector—as well as another Thunderbolt 3 and a USB-C slot.
Joyroom J-Cube: performance
We really liked using the J-Cube, but its design isn’t perfect. Despite all of its ins and outs it’s the angle it puts your MacBook Pro at that’s the most useful—and it could probably sell well solely as a ergonomic prop. In use as a hub it’s completely plug-and-play, but it only really works with a 15-inch MacBook Pro. The smaller 13-inch version only has Thunderbolt 3 slots on the left-hand side, so there’s nowhere to attach the right-hand J-Cube to. However, our biggest issue is the lack of a SD Card slot. For photographers that’s a deal-breaker. That said, J-Cube is designed mostly for remote workers and business travellers, and as such it does an excellent job.
Joyroom J-Cube: conclusion
As workstations go, a 15-inch MacBook Pro is superb up until you need to attach something. In place of traveling with a hub—which are typically oversized and use messy cables—the J-Cube is compact and fully featured. It’s a shame it doesn’t include an SD Card slot, but with plenty of USB-C slots, HDMI, Ethernet LAN and USB 3.0 slots for thumb drives, J-Cube will suit anyone traveling for work, or working remotely using a 15-inch MacBook Pro.
Price as reviewed: now on Kickstarter