With new standards come new problems. Back when computers were starting to switch over to USB-C (including Apple going all in with the MacBook Pro update in 2016), tons of companies tried to figure out the best solution to bring back old ports with hubs and dongles. Now, with Qi finally succeeding as the winner of the wireless charging standard wars, we’re seeing the same rush to find the best solution for wireless chargers.
The incredibly descriptive, but somewhat inelegantly named HyperDrive USB-C Hub + 7.5W Qi Wireless Charger iPhone Stand from Hyper might be the answer to both of those problems, combining a wireless charger and a USB-C hub in one device.
We see a lot of Kickstarter projects, many of which don’t quite live up to their potential, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this isn’t one of them. At least on paper, the HyperDrive seems to check every single box for both wireless chargers and USB-C hubs.
The HyperDrive seems to check every single box for both wireless chargers and USB-C hubs
If it was only a wireless charger, it would already be pretty great. It supports up to a 15W output, meaning it can support every wireless fast charging spec that exists, with plenty of room for future faster devices. The stand is adjustable, so it can be flat or tilt a phone up at an angle, and it includes three wireless charging coils, which dramatically reduces the risk of accidentally misaligning your phone so it doesn’t charge. Also, it charges over a standard USB-C power input.
The base also contains a full-featured USB-C dock for newer laptops, with an HDMI port (supporting up to 1080p at 60Hz or 4K at 30Hz), a gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card slot, a microSD slot, three USB Type-A ports, and a USB-C port that’s rated for up to 60W passthrough charging. There’s also an LCD display for showing voltage and current. (Why not!)
You could leave it on your desk with your laptop’s power adapter plugged in. Then, when you come into work, just drop your phone on the wireless charger and connect your laptop with a single USB-C port to gain access to all the ports and accessories — all at once. It’s small enough that you could use it on the go as an all-in-one USB-C dongle. Or you could just plug in a really powerful UBS-C charger and have a bedside wireless charger with tons of extra ports for charging other stuff.
Of course, not everything is perfect. Aesthetically, the Hyperdrive features a plastic and aluminum enclosure that ranks as decidedly passable, but it’s the sort of thing that could be overlooked considering the laundry list of features. Also, there’s the crowdfunded nature of the HyperDrive (although Hyper is an established company that already sells several USB-C hubs and has run other successful Kickstarter campaigns in the past).
It’s pretty pricey, though
The biggest problem is the price: Hyper is selling the HyperDrive USB-C Hub / Wireless Charger for an early bird price of $99 on Kickstarter. It goes up to $159 at full retail after the campaign. The company already sells USB-C hubs that are roughly in that same $100-plus price range, but it doesn’t make it any easier to shell out the cash when there are other, cheaper alternatives for both products.
Still, the combination of a USB-C hub and wireless charger seems like a great idea if you’re willing to pay a premium for that kind of convenience. Hyper hopes to ship the finished product later this year in either May or June, depending on how early in the process customers back it.