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We all have our own  UNIQUE problems to solve on an ongoing basis. The truth is that no matter how much we believe in our uniqueness and pride ourselves in our own individuality – many others suffer the same trials and tribulations on a daily basis. Hopefully, we can learn some valuable LifeHacks from other people’s experiences to quickly find solutions to our unique problems. The internet has fostered the growing access to information on an enormous scale. But because it is so big we find ourselves searching for a needle in an ever-growing haystack. Join me here as we try to make that task easier. I share my experiences and those of others in finding these solutions. I am not looking to invite lengthy debate on the woes of the situation but in sharing positive solutions in the form of LifeHacks to help people move forward.

As an opener, I will share a recent problem I struck.

I purchased a new Laptop as my trusty current Dell XPS15 started to show signs of age. A brilliant unit that cost me a lot of money at the time. It was the flagship unit from that company. I was rewarded with 7 years of solid reliable performance. It managed to keep pace with many of the competitors and new technologies for a long time. Well, all good things come to an end. Not wanting to risk a total failure and then the subsequent struggle to retrieve all the data, programs and setup from a non-responsive  Brick – I ordered a replacement. 

I use my Laptop everywhere. When in my office I hook it up to all my peripherals – two 27″ Monitors, Bluetooth keyboard and Darkfield mouse, external speakers etcetera etcetera. I use USB hubs for many items but monitors run from the VGA and HDMI ports on the Laptop.

Well, there the problem began. Most laptops of note are going to slimmer form factors to reduce weight and size. Many new laptops have less in the way of connections for external devices. USB-C is becoming a regular addition which offers multiple functions through a single interface. I knew all this as I had researched laptops before buying. You will also note many compact laptops no longer have onboard DVD drives. I hardly use one so no great inconvenience there. Now we have a quandary. More items needing external connection with less onboard ports to achieve this. So now we need a newer style of external dock or hub to deal with this at home in the office, yet still available when you are on the move. The answer is the new breed of USB-C hubs. Seems simple enough. I spent some time a few months ago searching for USB-C compatible connector when I purchased a new Laptop for my son. I was dismayed by the results. There are plenty of single purpose adaptors on the market, but very few that give multiple or universal connections. It seems you needed a whole handful of adaptors to cater for each possible combination of peripherals.  There almost seemed a distinct intention by manufacturers or electrical retailers not to offer a single solution. They wanted multip[le sales not singular dead end sales. Dell offered two solutions.

The first one at AUS$109 which gave Dell Adapter – USB-C to HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/USB 3.0. 
Connections
1 x HDMI
1 x VGA
1 x USB 3.0
1 x Gigabit Ethernet RJ45

The second or next step up for connectivity came in at AUS$479 which is a big jump in outlay and had an excess of features for my needs.
Connections and Features:

Supports 3 displays
Two USB 2.0 ports
Three USB 3.0 ports
Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port
Speaker output (rear)
Combo audio (front)
Gigabit Ethernet
Kensington Lock Slot
7.4 mm DC-IN Power Input

For me, I wanted something in the middle but no compromise was visible in their range. I purchased the first unit for my son’s Laptop as it would cover his immediate needs and this was all a reward I promised him for passing out of University and gaining his Media Communications certification.

I had a little more time to research my unit and consequently took up the search from where I had left off. I came up with the solution I was looking for from Baseus.


8in1 USB Type C 3.1 HUB for Type C to
3 x USB 3.0  (with 3 high-speed USB3 I get added flexibility over one)
4K HDMI       (I  pass on the VGA as there was HDMI also on the Laptop)
RJ45 Ethernet
Micro SD TF Card Reader  (maybe not critical but useful)
USB Type C output ( to replace the one occupied by this unit on the laptop)

You can view this unit here. This suited my needs and allowed for further expansion at the same time. Price wise it was $182 which was an acceptable price for the flexibility that suited my needs. Yet a long way short of the $479 of the second option from Dell which was gross overkill for my needs.

The time spent researching this uncovered the solution I needed but I certainly had better things I could have used the time for.  I hope sharing this solution may save that time for you.

If you have any similar solutions to other problems I would be glad to feature them here. My only stipulation is to vary the topic. I have no desire to start endless forums on singular solutions or targeting any particular Brand for ridicule or hate sessions. Everybody will get bored to death.


 

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