Triple 4K HyperDrive – Revisited
We’re back again to take another look at the 4K HyperDrive. A few weeks ago I gave my initial impressions which, unfortunately at the time were, very negative because the device was DOA and customer support was non-existent. After that article went live on our blog and our Twitter account, Hyper’s social media team reached out to rectify the situation.
I now have a working dock, as well as a power/charger that they sent out to me. Let us set the ground rules for this second article:
- It should not take a review outlet (big or small), or even a customer Tweeting about their experience to prompt action and obtain fair customer service.
- While Hyper did send out a replacement dock and included a charger they call a Hyper++ Juice, there was no agreement to re-review the product or change my stance at all.
I won’t rehash the unboxing and layout of the HyperDrive; it’s still the same as in my previous article. However, the first big difference is that this dock works! I am able to plug it and passthrough not only power but all data and display.
HyperDrive – The Setup
I have a single MacBook Air and a single external display — the 32″ 4k LG UltraFine Ergo. So truthfully, I don’t max out what this dock is slated to be able to do: outputting to 2 monitors using the MacBook Air and 13″ MacBook Pro or 3 displays if you have the 16″ MacBook Pro.
That being said, it does output to my single display perfectly, allowing me to use the MacBook Air internal display as well as my external display at full 4k 60Hz. I also get access to all of my USB ports as you would expect.
Functionally, there isn’t anything that the HyperDrive does that you wouldn’t expect from just about any dock. In my opinion, however, where it shines is the form-factor. It sits under the MacBook, giving it a bit of a lift in the rear. All of its ports come out from the back of the device rather than shooting off to the side. It’s clean and ideal for a desk dock, one that you set up and leave in place. While it is small enough to take with you, I don’t imagine many people would do that.
Now that I’ve had two of these in my possession — a non-fucntional one and its replacement — the biggest issue I’ve faced design-wise is its two USB-C cable connections to the MackBook itself. Those cables are joined by a boot on one end, and Hyper++’s documentation shows that the boot-side is the one you should connect to the Mac and the “free” side should connect to the dock. But The boot-side of the cable spaces the two cables a few micrometers too wide to actually plug in to the Mac without sliding the boot out of the way. Maybe the dual USB-C on the MacBook Pro are aligned slightly further apart than on the MacBook Air.
Perhaps the biggest upset (from a working model) is the lack of USB-C display passthrough. It would have been nice if the “power in” on the HyperDrive could have passed display back out. If it did, I could plug the HyperDrive into my MacBook Air and its power and display back to my monitor — since my monitor does display and 65w charging to my MacBook over USB-C, without providing all of the breakout ports.
The Hyper++ Juice
As I mentioned, Hyper’s social media team sent me out my replacement dock. They also sent their “Juice” power adapter. This marries to the dock in my setup rather well. The Juice is a single DC converter much like Apples own chargers for their Mac and iPads. They send a handful of adapters to convert from the standard US non grounded plug to a handful of European outlets. This should cover you if you pick this up, regardless of where you live.
The Juice has 3 outputs on it: 2 USB-C that can deliver 65w of charging, and a USB type A that can deliver 35w of charging. In my setup, this plugs in on my desk and routes to the HyperDrive to power my Mac. It also routes to my Apple Watch MagSafe charger, leaving the Type A port open for charging my headphones as needed (or any other device, really).
I am conflicted. On the one hand it shouldn’t take putting a company “on blast” on social media to elicit proper customer service. However, reaching out and righting a wrong is still a good thing in my opinion. We are a small establishment; its not like we’re a Linus or a Gamer’s Nexus. So the fact they acknowledged our issues gives me faith that they would do the same for the average consumer who made a public statement. It is also very possible their help desk software — or even business logic — creates some of this issue by automatically closing issues as soon as a rep has replied. Maybe the social media team has a better system in place?
The HyperDrive is not cheap. It’s made from some rugged materials (aluminum rather than plastic or the like). It does as advertised and looks clean doing so, and it fits my setup style well. It doesn’t mate perfectly to my MacBook Air so I do have to “fiddle”.
The biggest issue is the lack of a USB-C display passthrough is a hard-miss as my display offers a USB-C input. Having this would have still made the HyperDrive worth it as it splits out to my other most used ports.
The Juice is a neat little charger and seems to be holding up nicely and, again, fits my setup well. Your setup will surely be a little different so you’ll have to decide what works best for you.