Pros:Top-load USB port, stylish design, brand name
The Bottom Line: Good and stylish 4port USB hub
I purchased my Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub from Comp USA six months ago. I have a large number of peripherals for my laptop (external hard drive, DVD burner, webcam and the list goes on) and did not have enough USB ports to plug all of them into.
Recommend this product?
This USB port caught my eye because of its design which is not only functional but also stylish.
WHAT TO KNOW
There are certain things you should know before picking a USB hub to use.
Many USB hubs are self powered that means they draw all of the electricity they need in order to operate from the USB cable you connect from your computer to the hub. This works most of the time, unless you are plugging in things that do not have their own power source (e.g webcams, receiverssuch as for wireless products, etc.). These items that dont have their own power sources get their power from your computer, and if they have to go through your self-powered hub, there is a high likelihood of putting too much strain on the hub that will cause it to shut off in order to prevent any damage. I personally own two self-powered hubs which I use for travel because they are small, and when using them I have to be careful as to what I plug into them. This is because as mentioned, plugging in too many self-powered items cause them to shut down and you must restart your computer before it will recognize the hub again. Thus having a USB hub that has a power source is a very good idea.
2.0 vs. 1.1
At the birth of USB connections, 1.1 was the standard, but as technology has progressed so have USB connections, USB 2.0 is the most advanced and fastest USB connection currently available. All new computers with USB ports have the 2.0 version, while many older computers may have 1.1.
The main difference between USB 2.0 and 1.1 is simply enough, that 2.0 is much faster. While 1.1 has a maximum transfer rate of 12Mbps (megabits per second), USB 2.0 sports a transfer rate 40 times that, of 480Mbps.
If you have a computer which has USB 2.0 ports in it, using a USB 1.1 hub will slow down all data transfers to a 1.1 rate of 12Mbps. Thus if you have a 2.0 port in your computer, you must be sure to get a 2.0 hub in order to maintain a 2.0 transfer rate. It is signifigant to note that all forms of USB are compatible, 2.0 is backwards compatible with 1.1 and 1.1 is forwards compatible with 2.0
CONSTRUCTION and AESTHETICS
The USB hub is held in a plastic and silver shell. The top of the hub is white and curves inward into a solitary top-load USB port. The other three USB ports are located in the back of the hub in a vertical orientation. Toward the front of the hub-top BELKIN is written in the same color as the sides of the hub, and there is a soft green light right behind the single top-load USB port. The sides of the hub are shiny silver and all edges are rounded. The bottom of the hub has numerous slits for airflow and small plastic circles on all four edges to reduce slippage.
Unfortunately the four plastic circles that are made to reduce slippage do a very poor job. The hub itself is extremely light, and sine all of the inputs are in the back of the port it tends to get pulled in whatever direction the cords are going. I have my hub at the edge of my desk with all the cords attached to it hanging off the back. While this works for me, the front of my hub is always off the ground due to the weight put on the hub from the cords in the back. This contributes to a funny-looking hub, but it still works perfectly so I have no real complaints there.
This port is made with apple iPod shuffle in mind. The white color matches the white of iPods and the top-load port is made specifically for use with an iPod shuffle, although it works with any USB device. Thus it works well and blends well with apple ipods.
CONNECTIVITY & SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
As already mentioned this is a 4-port USB 2.0 Hub. It is also backwards compatible with USB 1.1, so it will work with any USB items. It requires no software and is instantly recognized by your computer. The layout of the hub with three ports in the rear and one on top is very functional and convenient. The three ports in the back are hidden (even when in use) and perfect for connecting devices that are consistently used such as DVD burners and hard drives. The top-load port is very hand for connecting devices that are not used often or that do not remain connected (such as thumb drives). The top port is very easy to get to and convenient. The hub has an external power source but can be used without that power source for up to two USB devices, any more and the power source is needed.
The system requirements for a PC are any Pentium processor-based computer with a USB 2.0 port available that is running Windows 98, SE, 2000, ME or XP.
The system requirements f0r a Mac are an OS 8.6 or higher for USB 1.1 mode and OS X v10.3.7 or higher for USB 2.0 mode.
WHATS IN THE BOX
I have been using this hub for six months now with no problems and I am very pleased with it. It has a nice design and the one top-load port comes in very handy. I would highly recommend it to anyone that needs a USB port.