USB Hub Buyer's Buying Guide

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#1
Recently I was shopping for a new USB Hub for my home base computer system. This is my experience.

All these devices are USB 2.0.

The last time I went shopping for a USB Hub, the choice came down to the Targus ACH81US 7-Port USB Hub or the CyberPower 7-Port USB Hub. Both offered decent power supplies to power USB devices but the Targus offered Audio Pass Through to boot, which is very handy. I chose the CyberPower based on its lower price, and it continues to be a popular choice, going on 3 years later. The Targus has somewhat fallen out of favor.



CyberPower 7 Port USB Hub



Targus 7 Port USB Hub


My recent search led me to 2 newcomers to the USB Hub marketplace...the Plugable 10 Port USB Hub and the Satechi 12 Port USB Hub.




Satechi 12 Port USB Hub


The Satechi 12 Port is fantastically simple, in the style of the classic power strip with USB ports all face up in a row and lit up with blue LEDs. It has 2 switches which correspond to the two sets of 6 USB ports and allows you to turn them off or on. When turned off, the Blue LEDs which correspond with those 6 USB ports turn off as well, for a great visual cue. One drawback is that the Satechi does not offer additional power to the USB devices plugged into it....only the power from the one USB port is distributed to the USB devices plugged into it. At only $30 shipped from Amazon, it is highly recommended!

[video=youtube;W6g1-CvdwZM]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6g1-CvdwZM[/video]





Plugable 10 Port USB Hub


The Plugable 10 Port USB Hub has 6 ports facing forward as it sits flat on the desk and 4 ports facing rear-ward with 2 of those flippable to the verticle position seen in the pics. This is a nice configuration for keeping those cables organized on the desktop and is the reason I went with this over the Satechi above. There is plenty of power (2.5 amps) available for powering the USB devices attached to this hub as well. At $27 shipped from Amazon, it is highly recommended!

Simple and clean design. Ports on only two sides to minimize clutter. Two ports swivel to vertical position
USB 2.0 high-speed interface. 10 downstream ports with data rates up to 480Mbps
Supports both self-powered (with power adapter attached) and bus-powered (without) modes
2.5A Power Adapter. Terminus Technology Chipset. Overcurrent detection and protection
Easy plug and play installation. Works with Windows, Mac, Linux, Wii, PS3, XBOX, etc.n
Plugable also makes a nice 7 Port USB Hub with 3 Amps available to the USB Devices.

Also worth a mention is this HDE 7 Port USB Hub in which each individual port has a physical On/Off switch....which can be very handy in certain situations. Highly rated on Meritline. It does not provide extra power to the USB ports, but the ability shut them down individually somewhat alleviates that concern.

These days, those paltry 3 or 4 ports on your laptop just arent cutting the mustard. Even the 7 Port Hubs are becoming too restricting. These two 10 and 12 Port Hubs are great additions to the marketplace. The ergonomics are much better on these two hubs as well....still scratching my head on those verticle orientations on those lightweight 7 port CyberPower and Targus hubs (though the CyberPower can lay flat and no doubt that is where the vast majority of them ended up).

Super Accessory


Plugable USB 2.0 Switch for One-Button Swapping of USB Device/Hub Between Two Computers

Easy peripheral sharing!




4 Port USB Hubs for On the Go Laptop Use




First of all, let it be known that the Squid Style USB Hubs suck. The electronics are subpar and the ergonomics are poor. Dont do it!

Now onto some good devices and the why's of their goodness. Most all of these do not have additional power available to the USB Devices plugged into them, they are only duplicating the port and dividing the USB Standard power from the one duplicated port to the the four ports. But this shouldnt be too much of a concern, if running flash drives, mouse, keyboards, cameras, cell phones and such things as you would be hooking up to your laptop on the go.

Ergonomics are king. Here are my picks...

Meritline has 2 great offerings.


One


Two

You will notice that One has a longer USB connection cable. The other has a short rat tail connection cable is a bit more compact, with one of the USB ports facing out for the end of the stick. Both have switches which allow you to stop the drain on your laptop battery from USB devices plugged into it. Pick the features that suit your needs.

Also worth mentioning is the...

Belkin USB Ultra-Mini

when space is at a premium. The Belkin quality brand name is reassuring.


Good Luck out there!



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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
EV,

Users should consider the capability of their computer's power supply when it comes to (potentially) running up to twelve USB devices at the same time.

Personally, I'd like to find a USB hub that is designed to be mounted in unused CD or DVD bays on desktop computers.

Jim
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#3
Definitely, Jim!

That is another reason why I chose the Plugable over the Satechi. That being said, many devices will have their own power supplies, like external hard drives and printers. Mice, keyboards, flash drives, and multi-card readers draw very little power. The USB standard is the limiting factor and not the Computer' Power Supply.

PS - I added a video review of the Satechi, which covers the issue you brought up with regards its lack of additional power supply to the USB devices plugged into it.
 
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