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Lightning-fast device charging and data transfer speeds. Connect up to 3 displays. Features 2 HDMI, 3 USB-A, Gigabit Ethernet, display port, 2 USB-C, SD, microSD, and audio ports.
Runs a little on the warm side.
Features 2 USB-A, 3 USB-C, Thunderbolt USB-C, HDMI, SD card, and microSD ports. Connect to 2 displays at once. Simple plug and play installation. Charges devices quickly.
Only for MacBooks.
Inexpensive. Features 4 USB-A ports. Swift data transfer rates. Simple to use. Works with PC and Mac devices. Compact. Lightweight. Fast charging.
Only supports USB-A connections.
Has an IPX4 water-resistance rating and is compatible with gaming consoles such as the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS4 Slim. Carry-cable design ensures you don't lose essential cables and it's ready to plug and play.
It must be reformatted for use with Mac OS devices.
Features 2 USB 3.1 SuperSpeed and audio ports. Customizable RGB lighting. Headset stand. Rubberized base. Immersive 7.1 surround sound. Available in white, pink, and black.
Additional USB ports would have been appreciated.
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Even as the world is going gaga for new wireless devices like smartwatches and Bluetooth headphones, one thing still hasn’t changed: the vast majority of gadgets charge over USB, and in most cases, a USB cable is the fastest way to transfer data between devices. The USB standard isn’t going anywhere, but what is changing is our need for USB ports for our ever-growing list of personal tech items – and that’s where USB hubs come in.
USB hubs are small devices that include a handful of USB ports that connect to your computer or a power source through a single port. In much the same way that a power strip enables multiple appliances to plug in for electricity, USB hubs expand your capacity for connected USB devices. And many of them support USB charging as well as data transfer, so they can be useful for charging multiple gadgets at once.
USB hubs are designed to do two things: transfer data between devices and charge devices when connected to a power source. It can get tricky, however, because not all USB hubs provide power to connected devices, and not all USB hubs enable data transfer. Here’s what you need to know.
If you need your USB hub to charge your devices, make sure the product description explicitly states that it can do so. If you plan on charging multiple devices, each with different power requirements, get a USB hub with “smart” charging, which dynamically adjusts to charge any connected device as quickly as possible.
As you’re shopping for USB hubs, you may notice that certain models are much more expensive. That’s usually because they include more than just USB ports. Sometimes called port replicators, these USB hubs typically use one port from your computer to host services for multiple other ports.
Port replicators are ideal for use with laptops. Using just one of your laptop’s USB slots, these devices can add ports for many things.
Even though WiFi can be fast, a hardwired Ethernet network connection will be faster. If you want a USB hub that speeds up your computer’s ability to download or transfer files, make sure you buy a port replicator with a gigabit Ethernet port.
HDMI or DisplayPort passthrough
If you want to connect your laptop to an external monitor, get a USB hub that includes at least one HDMI or DisplayPort interface.
If you’re ready to hear your laptop’s audio through a proper set of computer speakers, find a USB hub or port replicator that features a dedicated 3.5mm auxiliary headphone jack. This can be useful for listening to music from your workspace, especially if your phone doesn’t have a headphone jack.
USB hubs aren’t very expensive, but there are a few “gotchas” to look out for, depending on how much you plan on spending. Expect to pay between $10 and $300 for a USB hub.
You’ll find the most straightforward options for USB hubs cost between $10 and $49. These models have between three and ten USB ports and support USB 3.0 speeds.
Brand name matters a lot in this price range, so stick with names you know or newer established tech brands like Aukey, Anker, Spigen, or even AmazonBasics.
Expect to see more port-replicator-style USB hubs for between $50 and $99. These models include additional ports for attaching more than just USB devices. However, most port replicators in this price range aren’t entirely stable. Users often complain about having to repeatedly reconnect devices throughout the day with these models. If you can live with a USB-only hub, you don’t need to spend this much. Conversely, if you truly need a USB hub with other ports, expect to spend more to get a reliable model.
Many port replicators exist to provide stable connectivity options to your laptop via a single cable. Hubs that cost between $100 and $300 may seem expensive, but at this price point you’re essentially getting an easy way to connect a laptop to an entire desk’s worth of peripherals. If you carry your laptop around with you all the time but still need it to work at your desk with a separate monitor, speakers, mouse, and keyboard, you’ll need to spend at least this much.
Research the charging needs of each device you intend to connect to a USB hub. Each device you plan on plugging into your USB hub will likely have unique power and charging requirements, so it’s best to know your needs ahead of time so that you can buy a hub that will charge each device as quickly as possible.
If you’re an iPhone or iPad owner, only use Apple-certified cables with your USB hub. Because iOS devices are so popular, counterfeit cables are a big part of the market, and using the wrong cable can cause problems – from incompatible apps to dangerous fire hazards. Only buy Apple USB cables directly from retailers you trust, and avoid any brands that don’t carry Apple’s explicit “Made for iOS” certification.
Q. If I plug two devices into a USB hub, will they be connected together?
A. Not without a computer to facilitate the transfer. USB hubs are designed to be connected to a computer for transferring files and require you to do so from the computer’s operating system. Devices plugged into the same USB hub will not be able to directly “talk” to each other.
Q. Will a newer USB hub work with my older USB devices?
A. Yes. The current USB speed standard is USB 3.0, but the USB-A interface (the part that connects to an open port on your computer or a USB hub) has remained the same, and each update has been backward compatible. If you have older devices that require USB charging, they will still work on a new USB hub, but they may charge more slowly than your newer devices.
Q. Do I need to worry about my USB hub getting too warm when devices are left plugged in?
A. No. Some devices will get warmer as they charge, but that happens on the device side, and typically near the battery. If you buy a USB hub that gets warm at all during use, return or replace it. The hub is not supposed to get warm, and it could represent a fire hazard.
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