Dongles – a necessary evil, or a conspiracy plot against minimalism – whatever you think of it, it’s undeniable that they’re slightly troublesome and that their importance only means twice the inconvenience when you inevitably forget your dongle or any one of your peripherals.
The Minix Neo Storage (120GB/SGD 120, 240GB/SGD 150)isn’t the dongle to end all dongles, but it does solve some of the hassle that comes with them.
True to its name, the Minix offers 120GB of SSD storage on the Neo S1 (240GB on the Neo S2) without any noticeable bulk to its form factor. This means that if you mainly use your dongle to connect external storage devices like a thumb drive, the Minix will save you from a heart attack by alerting by you to save media directly onto the dongle itself.
In addition to 120GB of on-board high-speed storage, the Minix delivers on connectivity with two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, along with a full-sized HDMI port that supports 4K video at up to 30Hz. A single USB-C port supports power delivery for pass-through charging only, unfortunately.
Now, Minix claims that the Neo Storage dongle is designed and optimised for MacBook, but it works perfectly for iPad, too. I found that I was able to run both SSD and HDD external storage devices connected to the USB 3.0 Type A ports.
With all the I/O and internal storage, the Minix Neo Storage maintains thermal performance adequately. The aluminium chassis probably helps with the heat dissipation, and the grey finish matches perfectly with the newer MacBook and iPad models.
It’s probably worth mentioning that the underside of the Minix Neo Storage is made of plastic – although that hardly affects performance of any kind. There’s four tiny rubberised feet that make it easy to immobilise while slotting in connectors into the ports.
On the top is a bar that pleasantly glows to indicate successful connection. With iPad OS, users will be able to both read and write from the on-board SSD storage.
The Neo S2 might have twice the storage of the 120GB Neo S1, but it also sports a higher read/write speed at 400 MB/s (as compared to the 350 MB/s of the S1). These aren’t the fastest speeds by far, being SATA M.2 drives and not more advanced PCIe-based storage.
I got read/write speeds of around 400MB/s on the Neo S1 that Minix sent our way for review.
Throughout my usage of the Minix Neo Storage, there were several times I wished that the USB-C port could support Thunderbolt or even some data transfer. Being a photographer, it would be ideal to transfer images from the camera directly onto external drives. This, however, wouldn’t be an issue on MacBooks that have multiple USB-C ports.
The Minix Neo Storage S1 (120GB) comes in at SGD 120, and the S2 (240GB) costs SGD 150. The Neo S1 is a better choice if the on-board SSD storage is a useful off-hand feature like for when you forget your thumb drive, but the Neo S2 is the one to get if value is your prime concern.
The Minix Neo Storage USB-C hub comes with three-year warranty as standard.