The transition to USB-C hasn’t been smooth or swift, but that won’t matter when you need to upgrade accessories to fit your new USB-C computer. OEMs started forcing users into the USB-C world by making their flagship laptops and tablets USB-C only. And while USB-A ports aren’t scarce by any means, it’s likely that your newest or next laptop will rely primarily on USB-C for connectivity.
USB-C refers to the shape of the port, which is an oval rather than a rectangle like USB-A ports. If a laptop only has USB-C ports, you won’t be able to use any USB-A accessories unless you have a dongle, hub, or dock that adds that legacy port into the mix. (We have a whole guide to USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks that can help you choose your next multi-port hub, but we’ve included a couple of our favorites in this guide as well for ease of access.)
Aside from docks and hubs, there are other USB-C accessories you can get now to make your new machine feel as comfortable as your old one. Unfortunately, accessory companies have yet to embrace USB-C to the extent that PC OEMs have—the USB-C accessories world is growing, but it’s still relatively limited.
It’s also a world full of knock-offs and questionable devices, making it hard to know if you’re getting a solid USB-C dongle, mouse, external SSD, or other accessory. With that in mind, we recently tested out a bunch of USB-C companion devices for this guide and picked out the ones that stood out among the competition in terms of performs, design, and ease of use.