Apple’s Mac Mini is so much better with a docking station like this one from Elecife

I reviewed the Satechi docking station that was made for the Apple M1-powered Mac mini a few months back. This beautiful computer from Apple offers lots of power, but it is not equipped with many connectivity options. You get two Thunderbolt ports and two USB-A ports. You will need a hub if you want to have more ports.

It is not possible to upgrade RAM or SSD on Apple Macs. The Mac mini’s RAM and SSD are integrated into the M1 processor. You can request additional storage beyond the 256GB base, or you can rely on an external drive to store data.

Apple’s storage prices are so high that some companies have started to make Mac mini hubs. These hubs can be equipped with an external SATA drive and can store documents, photos and music. The external SATA drive can then be used for macOS system folders or applications.

The new Mac mini hub Elecife has two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 port. One of the USB 3.0 ports can be a USB A type, while the other one is USB-C. Two slots are available for microSD and SD memory cards. The docking station connects to the Mac mini using a USB cable. This cable can be inserted into one of the mini’s Thunderbolt/USB 3 ports.

The Elecife docking station sits under the Mac mini. It allows access to all ports at the front. The Elecife model does not include an audio jack like the Satechi hub.

The Elecife hub has a cradle which can hold a 2.5-inch SATA drive. This can either be an SSD or a traditional mechanical hard drive. A storage space is also available in the Satechi hub, but it’s an M.2 SATA drive. Although the M.2 form factor is identical to NVMe drives, the Satechi works only with SATA and does not support ultra-fast PCIe drives.

M.2 SATA drives come in sizes as large as 1TB. 2.5-inch SATA drives, on the other hand, can be purchased in capacities up to 4TB. You should remember that traditional spinning drives are slower than SSDs and can make some noise. SSD would be my choice, but if you only need to store music, photos, or documents, a 2.5-inch hard disk might be worth considering, especially if there is an extra one.

It is easy to fit a 2.5-inch drive in the Elecife docking station. Simply clip the drive into a cradle, which is covered with a plastic round cover. The hub matches the M1 Mac Mini’s silver finish and is located underneath the Mac mini, increasing its overall height by less than one inch. The hub’s top has a series radial air inlets. These inlets allow air to flow freely to the Mac mini, allowing it cool down in the event that the internal fan kicks in.

It is worth noting, however, that a docking station similar to this one is available for the Mac Mini M1. It is made by Qwiizlab, and can be used with both SATA and NVMe drives. has more information if that interests you. It is not a quality product, but I will make an effort to obtain one for you.

Verdict – The new Elecife docking station is an excellent solution to expand the storage space of a Mac mini M1 and move ports to the front. The Satechi is the best choice if you have an M.2 drive, and a headset jack. The Elecife, however, is a good choice if you don’t need a headset socket or you want to use an existing 2.5-inch SATA drive. Both stand do the job well, and both are great value. These external solutions will be a welcome addition to the Apple SSD market, even if they continue to charge high prices.

Prices and availability: The Elecife USBC Docking Stand costs $69.99 and is now available.

More info: www.amazon.com


Features:

  • Interface for hardware: USB Type C and USB 3.0.
  • Number of ports: 7
  • Compatible Devices
  • Dimensions: 8.27×8.27×1.18 inches
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