Apple’s butterfly keyboard will go down as one of the biggest tech blunders of recent years, but there’s another egregious sin the company has committed against its MacBooks that hasn’t been properly addressed yet: the elimination of the built-in SD card slot. There are lots of workarounds for the loss, but ElevationLab’s new ElevationHub appears to be the least intrusive.
When Apple switched to using USB-C ports on its laptops, the company also decided it was time to eliminate the incredibly useful memory card slots it had been including on many of its notebooks for years. One less component meant there was more room inside for other tech, and milling out that tiny slot on the side of MacBook housings undoubtedly shaved a few precious seconds off the manufacturing process. It wasn’t as beneficial to consumers, though, as it once again meant that external hubs and card readers were accessories you had to keep close at hand for their inevitable use.
The move gave birth to another accessory market for the MacBook: USB-C dongles and docks that not only allowed memory cards, HDMI cables, and even multiple USB devices to connect to a MacBook at the same time, but also the return of the dreaded dongle.
They’re ugly, they’re cumbersome, and they’re easy to lose. And that’s exactly why the ElevationHubE might be the way to go. Instead of attaching to the MacBook itself, it’s designed to snap onto the side of the official Apple MacBook charger, adding an extra USB-A port and an SD-sized memory card reader, plus some much-needed cable management.
Starting at $40 the Elevation Hub isn’t the cheapest way to expand the usefulness of a single USB-C port; there are other solutions that offer HDMI and even connectivity for network cables, but it stays out of the way, and it’s impossible to forget when traveling because it’s always mounted to your MacBook’s wall wart. Functionally, there are also some challenges. If you plug in your laptop under a desk it will probably be a bit of a pain to crawl under there every time you want to grab photos of a memory card. There are also better and smaller charging alternatives to the wall wart that Apple includes with the MacBook which the ElevationHub won’t fit, unfortunately. The perfect solution is Apple including memory card slots again on its machines, but until that happens (which could be never) this seems like one of the better solutions.