With all the gadgets and peripherals for our computers we’re running out of USB Ports with which to add new devices to. Fed up of having to unplug something in order to connect your Blackberry, USB Flash drives etc? I know I was. So this is a godsend as my laptop Docking station only has 3 available USB ports for which to connects to. Mouse & keyboard take 2. That leaves just one for my phone , USB memory or anything else to connect. This is especially a pain when trying to charge both my work Blackberry and my personal phone.
Now I have an additional 6 USB Ports with which I can connect (one of the PC ports is obviously taken up by the hub). On top of this, there are also 2 separate ports which are used only for charging a device. So if I want my phone to charge faster and do not need it to be connected to the PC in USB Host mode, I can connect it to one of these and it just accepts a charge which has more power output than running through a standard USB port.
On to the unit itself. The station is slim at just 1.5cm height and is well designed and built. You can see from the product pictures it is a sleek black box and it just oozes class. The shiny top is somewhat distracting as it’s a little reflective, but in a way I like it as it does make it look a little more expensive than a standard matte finish would give. On the top is also an led indicator for each port to show when something is connected and live. These indicators are recessed within the unit itself, so when not connected you just see a pure black slab. Nice! Be warned, the mirrored finish does mean it is prone to fingerprints and does show dust quite easily.
My main gripe with this hub is that all the PC USB ports are on the front of the unit. I would have preferred a split of maybe 4 ports on the rear, and 3 on the front. It can look a little untidy if you plug cables into the ports as it has to come out and then hook back leaving the front not as clean as I would have liked. Having 4 of them on the rear would have been a tidier option, with 3 ports at the front for non-cable based USB devices such as dongles, flash drives etc.
On the right hand side of the unit you have 2 charge ports. One for 2.1A output and a second for 1.5A, this means that it should be capable of charging any USB chargeable devices currently on the market. Even able to charge 2 at once if required!
I will also point out that this is backward compatible with all your standard 2.0 USB devices so there will be no issues if you need to use either. I am actually using this at work, and my current system doesn’t have a 3.0 port so cannot comment on performance. However, from other reviews I’ve read of this the performance given transferring a file is just as fast as directly into the PC. So I have no worries about when I upgrade that I will lose out on some performance by using this.
I have had in the past several usb hubs, this is by far the best looking and best built. Previous hubs I’ve had tend to be unsightly and look quite plasticy and I’ve tried to hide them away. This one however is taking pride of place on my desk! The ports look like they will withstand the time of plugging in and unplugging, and the recessed LED indicator on the mirrored top really gives an extra nice touch.
One point to note, there is a power on button next to the AC input. I missed this and not reading the instructions wondered why it wasn’t connecting to my PC. Make sure once plugged in, you press this button for a couple of seconds to activate the hub.
In Summary: If you want a well built hub with enough ports for most needs then you cannot go wrong with this. It will sit nicely on the desk and the rubber feet help grip it to reduce any movement. Except for the point I made about the placement of the ports this is a must have and I can now easily connect multiple devices without having to chop and change what is plugged in. The ports are well spread out with a decent enough gap between them to allow for slightly wider USB devices to be plugged in without affecting others (which is a common problem on Laptops especially).
I can finally have my Mouse, Keyboard, HTC One 32GB UK SIM Free Smartphone – Silver, Blackberry, Fitbit One Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracker sync dongle and USB Flash all connected at the same time! Thank you Anker!!!!!