Minix’s amazing USB-C hub is also a 240GB hard drive [Review]

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The Minix Neo Storage is one of those inventions so clever they make you ask, “Why didn’t someone think of this before?” It combines into one small package two accessories many people carry around: an external hard drive with up to 240GB of capacity and a 4-port USB hub.

We tested it with both a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro. We’re sharing our real-world experience.

Minix Neo Storage review: USB-C hub and SSD in one

At first glance, the Neo Storage appears to be a slightly bulky USB hub. Along one edge are a pair of USB-A ports, an HDMI port, and a single USB-C port. On one end is a short cable with a USB-C connector.

The exterior is machined aluminum, with sharp edges but curved corners. It comes in either silver or space grey, and there’s a white LED bar that glows when this accessory is getting power. The overall look matches Apple’s design esthetic fairly well.

The central unit is 4.5 inches by 1.7 in. by 0.4 in. and 2.3 ounces (0.14 pounds). As mentioned, it’s larger than a typical USB hub, but smaller than most external hard drives. It fits easily into a gear bag, and Minix includes a black drawstring pouch so it won’t get scratched up. Or scratch up anything else, which is more likely.

Minix Neo StorageMinix Neo Storage has a USB-C port, HDMI port, and dual USB Type-A ports.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The two USB ports are 0.3 inches apart. This is fine for cables and average-size thumbdrives, but is a bit tight for anything even slightly oversized. The HDMI port is equally close.

The built-in cable is 4.9-inch long, a reasonable length whether the Neo Storage is used with a MacBook or an iPad Pro. It seems durable enough to stand up to regular use.

Buried on the inside is an Intel SSD, either 120GB or 240GB. This is non-removable — it’s not possible to replace it with something larger.

Minix Neo Storage performance

The SSD inside this accessory acts like any other USB drive. Just plug this peripheral in and a drive called NEO Storage will mount. We tested it with an iPad Pro running iOS 13 and it performs equally well. The drive appears in the Files app exactly as it’s supposed to.

Minix Neo Storage in Drive appMinix Neo Storage appears in the Drive app like any other removable drive.
Screen cap: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Minix says the 240GB version offers up to 400MB/s read and write speed, while the 120GB one is slightly slower: 350MB/s.

Tests with multiple peripherals show that the dual USB-A ports perform exactly as expected, whether it’s a keyboard, mouse, or a thumbdrive inserted. That goes for the iPad Pro, too.

The HDMI port is up to 4K video at 30Hz. Our tests found no problems with this. It does what it’s supposed to: let you connect your computer to a TV or projector.

No device has as many USB-C ports as we’d like, and this accessory doesn’t have to monopolize one. It has a USB-C port so power can keep flowing to the iPad or MacBook while the accessory is in use. But that’s all it can do. It’s not possible to daisy chain on another USB-C accessory.

And just so there’s no confusion, the Neo Storage doesn’t have to be plugged in to an external power source for all its functions to work. All that’s required is the power coming from your Mac or iPad.

The aluminum casing serves as radiator so expect it to get warm. Not hot, but definitely a way to warm your fingers on a cold morning.

Minix Neo Storage final thoughts

Anyone who’s already planning on carrying a USB-C hub to connect to USB-A accessories and HDMI TVs can now add some built-in storage. True, this accessory is a bit more bulky than the average USB hub but that’s not much of a drawback.

Pricing

Minix’s official price for the 240GB version of the Neo Storage is $99.90 (€99.90). It’s available on Amazon at that price, and here’s the cost in Canada and the UK.

Buy from: Amazon — $99.90

Buy from: Amazon — CDN$ 149.90

Buy from: Amazon — £89.90

Minix lists the 120GB version at $79.90 (€79.90). We also have the Canadian and UK prices.

Buy from: Amazon — $79.90

Buy from: Amazon — CDN$ 119.90

Buy from: Amazon — £69.90

Taking into account that this is both a USB-C hub and an SSD, these prices are quite reasonable. Take the Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C hub. It’s $69.99, and while it offers more ports it doesn’t include any storage. Now look at the OWC Envoy Pro Ex whose 250GB version is $129. It’s much, much faster, but also pricier. Compared to those two, the Minix Neo Storage starts to look like a deal.

Minix provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more stuff we recommend.

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