Here comes USB-C!
Well, OK, the rollout has been slow, with only a smattering of 2016 PCs, tablets and phones supporting the new high-speed, reversible port. But whether it takes months or years, USB-C will eventually dominate the expansion landscape.
Not convinced? Or, perhaps, not super-excited? You may change your mind after checking out some of the newest, coolest USB-C accessories.
When it comes to boosting PC productivity, few things rival a second monitor. But what happens when you're away from your desk? It's not like you can travel with an extra screen.
Actually, you can: The 1.7-pound Asus MB169C+ is a USB-C monitor designed for portability. Its 15-inch screen features a protective case that doubles as a stand (think: iPad SmartCover). And it's instantly compatible with Mac OS and Windows: Just plug it in and it's ready for second-screen duty, no extra drivers required. No battery or external adapter required, either: It draws power from the USB-C port.
The MB169C+ lists for $199.99.
Just because your desktop doesn't have USB-C ports doesn't mean your desktop can't have USB-C ports. Drop this expansion card into an open PCIe slot and presto: one USB Type-C port and a USB 3.1 (Type A) port.
Just make sure your motherboard can support this kind of card, and keep in mind you'll probably need to upgrade the BIOS.
The Ablecon card currently sells for $36.99.
Mac fans have no doubt mourned the absence of Apple's MagSafe connector in newer MacBooks. Griffin to the rescue! The BreakSafe isn't quite as elegant, as its leaves a small (12mm) dongle protruding from the USB-C port, but it delivers the same result: a magnetic quick-release cable for charging the laptop.
The BreakSafe is compatible with not only Apple's 12-inch MacBooks, but also the Google ChromeBook Pixel and Google Pixel C. It's priced at $39.99.
Here's the problem with buying a flash drive that has only a USB-C connector: Most of the devices you'll want to plug it into, at least for now, will have older USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports.
True to its name, the Emtec Duo features a USB 3.0 plug at one end and USB-C at the other. Just slide either connector forward as needed.
Best of all, the Duos are priced right in line with their single-connector counterparts, with the 32GB and 64GB versions selling for around $20 and $30, respectively.
Taking a road trip? Pack a Roadtrip. Nomad's missile-shaped cigarette-lighter adapter serves up two ports for your mobile gear: one USB-C, one USB 3.0 (Type A).
That's a good start, but the Roadtrip goes further by incorporating a 3,000mAh rechargeable battery -- meaning it can power your phone or tablet even when you're not in the car.
The Roadtrip sells for $49.95.
Finally, external storage that's just as fast as internal storage. Samsung's T3 line combines already-zippy solid-state drives with the USB-C interface, promising read/write speeds of up to 450MB/second -- roughly four times faster than a traditional external hard drive.
A 256GB T3 will run you around $120, while the 500GB model sells for $200. Both offer a slim, lightweight design with shock-resistance and built-in encryption.
One hub to rule them all? That's the idea behind Satechi's combo platter, which plugs into a MacBook 12's USB-C port and delivers the following: a pass-through USB-C port (for uninterrupted charging), an SD card slot, a microSD slot and two USB 3.0 ports.
The hub is available in silver, space gray and gold, and it sells for $44.99.