Mini-review: Plugable USB-C 'Phone Cube'

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Another month, another 'Continuum' hub to review, this one styled very much like Microsoft's original, though obviously and overtly cross-platform (i.e. the chat is all about Samsung's DeX), plus it adds Ethernet support, plus it's new and not relegated to clearance bins (the Microsoft one started at £99 but is now £25 or so, amazingly). This is a whopping $100 though, so read on for my comments.

You'll be familiar with the concept, of course. I've looked at numerous hubs like this in the last few years:

The standard that is Type C is quite forgiving in terms of what you can plug into what and all of these work fine with Lumia 950/Elite x3/IDOL 4 Pro, plus Samsung DeX compatible flagships, along with a number of Huawei handsets.

And now we have another option, with a generous supply of ports though with a high price and (so far) only a USA mains adapter - a UK version is planned. For the photo below, you'll see I improvised with one of my own travel adapters!

This is the Plugable USB-C 'Phone Cube':

The Cube comes with a Type C cable to get you started - anything out of the back of the accessory is down to you to cable, as you'd expect. The Type C to C cable is, obviously, for plugging in your Lumia or Samsung, etc.

In terms of design it's almost a carbon copy of the Microsoft original from 2015, though all in plastic here, which is disappointing. You'd have expected a metal chassis at this price. You do get Ethernet support on the back though, something missing from the Continuum dock. Handy if you're arriving at a remote desk or hotel and there's wired Internet available (and where the Wifi is rubbish!) 

Plugable dock

Power to the dock (not essential, but recommended, as otherwise your phone will be powering everything - this way you get topped up too) is via the supplied adapter and connector - most other docks go with Type C power input. But this is OK, it just adds a little to the bulk in your bag.

Wire it all up (here with a USB keyboard and mouse too), with HDMI to a TV, and everything works as you'd expect, with the phone's OS (Windows 10 Mobile or Samsung DeX/Android) taking over as a secondary display and showing a fully working desktop. As this is AAWP, here's my IDOL 4 Pro plugged in, listening to music and also showing the Windows Start screen on the phone:

This new Plugable 'Phone Cube' is a late entrant to the market, but more options are always welcome.

Given the plastics used and the presence of several lower priced competitors (for example, the Choetech one is smaller, lighter, has a flying lead and half the price, though you do have to supply your own Type C power, if needed), I do think the price needs to come down though. The Plugable Phone Cube is currently showing as $100 but needs to hit $60/£50 as a maximum, I'd say.

Source / Credit: Plugable