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If you’re buying a MacBook Pro for the holidays, you really need to buy one of these too

Reuters/Albert Gea
Don’t forget.
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

After years of waiting, Apple has finally released a new MacBook Pro model, just in time for the holidays. But if you’re thinking of getting one or planning to give one as a gift, there’s just one more thing that you’ll probably have to consider.

Apple’s newest laptops, the somewhat underwhelming MacBook Pro and MacBook, eschew any inputs that aren’t USB-C ports or headphone jacks. That means every laptop accessory you have—printer, external monitor, ethernet connection, external hard drive, etc.—probably won’t work with a new Mac. You’ll need an adapter.

Perhaps Apple appreciates that it’s making customers buy so many adapters: The company recently lowered the price on all of them. But even if you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars stocking up on every adapter available (probably overkill?), you’d be left with a bundle of cables that have to go wherever you and your laptop do.

There’s a simpler solution: Get a USB-C hub. There are many available options that include multiple regular USB ports, HDMI ports, and SD-card readers, and they’ll save you the hassle of having to carry around a snake’s nest of cables. Which one? It can be difficult to choose a brand, so I asked the internet. The Wirecutter‘s Nick Guy offered up two recommendations:

For a hub that has USB and HDMI ports: The Satechi slim multi-port adapter. The hub comes in the same colors as Apple’s new laptops, and includes two USB ports, one USB-C port, and an HDMI port that supports 4K video output. It’ll set you back $60, but will free up so much space in your bag. Satechi also makes an $80 version that has an ethernet port, in case you still use one of those to connect to the internet.

For a hub with USB ports and an SD card reader: The HooToo Shuttle hub. If you’re not using an external monitor, or are more concerned with transferring lots of photos from your camera to your computer, this $30 hub might be the choice for you.

There are other hubs out there that can plug just about anything into a new MacBook. Among them, The Verge’s Micah Singleton says the Arc Hub ”may be the USB-C hub we’ve been waiting for.” It has seven ports: two USB-C ports, two regular USB ports, an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort (Apple’s older audio-visual connection), and an SD card reader. It costs a whopping $105, but you’ll be able to use everything at once, while charging an iPhone. You’ll be the life of the holiday party.

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