- Editor Rating
- Rated 4 stars
- Kanex DualRole – Ethernet & 3 Port USB Hub
- Reviewed by:
- Published on:
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- Cosmetic AppealEditor: 80%
- Design & Build QualityEditor: 90%
- FeaturesEditor: 90%
- FunctionEditor: 90%
- Value For The PriceEditor: 60%
The Kanex DualRole provides Mac owners with extra USB ports and the addition of a gigabit ethernet port.
Today's computers (especially Macs) are rapidly becoming smaller, thinner, and lighter than ever.This is a great thing in terms of portability, but it is not always a great aspect from a functionality standpoint. For example, the current Macbook Air and Retina Macbook Pro models only feature 2 USB 3.0 ports and have completely removed the Ethernet option. This is a serious inconvenience for many of us who buy these models, but for one reason or another find the need for an Ethernet port or run out of USB ports with all of our additional accessories. A useful solution to this problem has hit the consumer market and it is called the Kanex DualRole.
The DualRole is a two-in-one hub that offers users 3 additional USB 3.0 ports as well as a Gigabit Ethernet option. The hub is powered only by a single USB cable though you will need to add a 5V power adapter (sold separately) in order to achieve USB 3.0 speeds on all ports simultaneously. The USB ports are compatible with USB 3.0/2.0/1.1 devices and the hub features plug and play technology which adds to the overall ease-of-use.
Unboxing the DualRole, I wasn't sure what to expect. Considering the accessory retails for a fairly steep $69, I was expecting the product to be well-built. Luckily, it did not disappoint and I found the device's build to be of a high quality and surely durable enough to take a beating while accompanying me on the traveling my laptop endures on a daily basis. The body of the hub is a white matte finish while the outer sides and the built-in USB cable are matte grey. The cable is a bit short for my taste, but this is likely since it tucks into the body of the hub for protection while not in use. The cable does not flex like a traditional USB cable does, but instead it is built to be rather stiff in order to keep the hub's placement firm and positioned in the manner you would like.
Since I own a 15″ Retina Macbook Pro and have gotten the shaft in regards to the number of USB ports and the lack of Ethernet compatibility, this was the perfect accessory to add to my arsenal. Throughout my use, the USB hub performed extremely well as expected and gave me the comfort of using multiple USB devices at once which I have been missing since I bought my Retina model. The Ethernet port has been an excellent option for situations where I do not have access to a Wi-Fi network and throughout my testing the speeds were on par with what I would have expected with a built-in Ethernet port. Keep in mind, in order to use the Ethernet port, you will need to download a free driver from the Kanex website.
Besides the short cable and the need for a AC adapter in some cases, the main negative aspect with the DualRole is the price tag. In my opinion, $69 is quite a bit of money to pay for a USB hub regardless of the fact that it is USB 3.0 and comes with an Ethernet port. I'm aware you can get a USB 2.0 hub (as well as a few USB 3.0 hubs) with 3+ ports for half the price of the DualRole, but the performance and build quality will likely not compare in the long run. I would like the DualRole price to come down to the $50 range. Currently the time this review is written, Amazon is offering the DualRole for only $53, which is a much more reasonable price for the product.
Overall, I found the Kanex DualRole to be an excellent solution to the problem of dwindling built-in USB ports and vanishing Ethernet options. The DualRole is well made and works like a charm. If you don't mind spending a bit more than competing USB hubs or can snag a deal through a retailer like Amazon, I do recommend the Kanex DualRole for any prospective buyers. The product has added a whole new level of convenience to using my Retina Macbook Pro and I am no longer limited by the lack of ports found within it.
Special thanks to Kanex, who provided a DualRole sample to make this review possible.