Mobile workers dream
I’m a massive fan of USB hubs, mostly because my main machine is a laptop and I don’t have time to reconnect a bazillion different devices each time I’m at my desk. It’s much easier for me to plug in a single USB hub that has all my other “desk mode” devices connected in to it.
In fact, I remember fondly the days when I had an HP laptop with it’s own docking station, all I had to do was drop it into the dock and suddenly I had an external mouse and keyboard, a mass storage drive and even a monitor ready to go.
Inateck’s 4 port hub can’t help with the monitor, but it can give me four USB 3.0 ports to use, and it gives me a fifth port for charging a mobile device at the same time.
On first inspection the hub looks like a nice piece of kit. It’s finished well and has some quite reserved detailing that should see it fit in well on most desks. It’s incredibly light, which is great if you want to carry it around all the time, not so great if you need it to stay put while four USB leads tug it in all directions.
To the front you have the four USB 3.0 ports, each capable of data transfer of up to 5Gbps (not all at the same time, mind you). To the right hand side you’ll find a 5th USB port which is purely for charging accessories like tablets or smartphones. To the rear you’ll find the connection for your PC or laptop, as well as the power adapter jack and on the top you’ll find a power button and indicator lights for each of the ports.
Now, for me this hub is a must, I’ve currently got a Wireless-AC dongle, DVD-RW drive, External Hard disk and Xbox controller receiver all connected to it. As such, my desk doesn’t look like those that you see on Amazon, it looks much more like this:
And that’s on a good day. I probably could make more of an effort to tidy up the cables, but my point is this: with four front facing ports it makes it very difficult to manage all of the cables. My preferred solution is a hub with multiple ports on the rear and maybe one or two on the front for pen drives or dongles. That way you can at least hide most of the cables down behind the desk.
That being said, if you’re looking for a hub that you’re going to be using in different environments, it’s less of an issue.
In terms of performance I’ve been more than happy with the hub, I’ve had no issues with latency on any of the connected devices, even when transferring large files to the hard disk and burning a CD at the same time, I’m still able to game without any issues from the controller.
The downside for me is the charging port. It works absolutely perfectly for Android devices, charging up my Nexus 7 in the same time that the stock charger does, but when it comes to newer Apple devices it’s another story. Apple devices never charge quickly from third party chargers, instead only trickle-charging which can mean your battery still isn’t 100% even if you leave it plugged in all night. It’s a shame that this hasn’t been looked at for this hub as I’m much more akin to Apple devices at the moment than I am Android.
One more word on the design of this thing: While it does look the part straight out of the box, the plastics do seem very prone to scratching. I gave this one a quick wipe over with a duster before taking photos and this happened:
So those scratches on the right? That’s from a DUSTER. I dread to think what the dark recesses of my backpack might do to this bad boy on a long trip.
Still, at just under £20 I’m not too fussed about it looking the part. It certainly performs well enough and is a lifesaver for me, meaning I not only get to plug in more than two devices to my laptop ,but I only have to plug in one cable when I arrive at my desk at the end of the day. For me it’s a very worthwhile purchase, and if you have multiple USB 3.0 devices and not enough ports for them, it’s a great way for you to get everything connected without your desk looking too untidy.