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Sunday, September 6, 2015

1byOne USB 4-Port Hub Review

1byOne USB 4-Port Hub Review
Have you ever counted the number of different devices you have that connect to your system by USB port? I may not be the typical user, but between thumb drives, mouse, external drives, network connectors, lights, fans, health monitors, recharging phones/powerbanks, speakers, printer, and who knows what else, I've frequently found myself running out of ports on my computer. And, I don't even own some of the more interesting devices like a mouse wheel that goes faster the faster you type or heating gloves. (The Top 15 Wackiest USB Devices, The 10 Weirdest USB Devices) Geeks get some interesting presents sometimes.

When you run out of ports, what you need is a hub. A hub uses one port and provides additional ports for expanded usage, to plug in more devices. And the 1byone Hot Sale USB 3.0 4 - Port Aluminum HUB offers just such a solution, with two ports on each side of its 4-port hub.

One factor when choosing a hub is the cabling into the hub. It is either a standard micro USB cable or one that is hard-wired into the hub. The one from 1byOne offers a hardwired connection. Is that good or bad? It is a little of both. With a hardwired connection, you are limited to the length of the original cable. Here, the cable is just under 15 inches. Most USB cables are three feet long. Do you  need 3 feet? I like having the hub closest to the computer so length doesn't matter. I also see the hardwired connection as being more reliable.

The hub utilizes the USB 3.0 protocol when communicating with devices. This offers transfer rates up to 5 Gbps and is downward compatible with the USB 2.0/1.1 specifications. For most people that is fast enough. There is, however, a USB 3.1 protocol available with transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps. When testing the 1byOne hub, I never had a need for transferring data from more than one device at a time. Sure, I could have stress tested it, but with my typical usage, I was mostly in need of recharging devices (phones / powerbanks / FitBit / Bluetooth headphones) with the occasional file transfer. The 5 Gbps speed was more than sufficient for that. Perhaps if you're transferring from one USB port to another USB port, the faster speed would do better.
The look of the hub is a bit high tech. It is made of aluminum and stands out a little. Is the material itself important to the performance? Not really. However, I'm more of a Windows PC person. This device looks more at home with my work laptop, a Macintosh. The styling of it fits right in with the Mac world. I tried out the hub and it worked fine with both computers, it just physically looked better with the Mac. One thing the aluminum material is good for is being a heat sink. The aluminum hub won't heat up like a purely plastic model.

Functionally, the hub performed flawlessly. It is a typical plug-n-play device. When I first connected it to my laptop, the computer recognized the new device and setup the device driver. From there, everything I connected through the hub was immediately recognized.

I couldn't find a video review of the 4 port model, but here's one of their 7 port model that is similar though not identical. There is no DC plug for the 4 port model.

Overall, a helpful device to allow me to plug in more devices then I have USB ports. Really the only drawback to the device is the USB 3.0 protocol. While this will perform better than USB 2.0 devices, the 3.1 protocol is even faster. The two ports on each side allow you to spread out your devices evenly versus a single sided approach. Well done.

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Please see the disclosure policy for more information.


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