There comes a time when you require a lot more USB ports than what your laptop or desktop provides. You probably have already noticed this if you own a slim designed laptop which only comes with 2-3 USB ports for you to use. For most people, 2 to 3 USB ports isn’t enough to plug in all the peripherals, USB drives, and external hard drives that you may have.
A simple solution to this problem is to buy a USB hub so that you can plug in extra devices and drives. A hub takes up 1 USB port but allows for 3-7 usable USB ports for all your device porting desires. Every hubs in the market today comes in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, and the price tag varies among different brands.
There are high-end USB 3.0 hubs with powered ports that out performs the cheaper ones. However, the high-end ones will cost way more since it has it’s own AC power supply. Also a separate power supply means that it won’t be as portable as the ones without it. You would typically use the high-end hubs for stationary proposes like for desktops and iMACs.
For this particular post, we will focus more on the cheaper portable USB 3.0 hubs that works create for laptops and even desktops.
Why Do You Need To Buy A Cheap Portable USB Hub?
Everyone nowadays have more than one device that they use on a daily basis, and each device most likely requires a USB cable to connect or charge. And when it comes to computers, especially laptops, they don’t come with too much ports for all your devices. That’s why a USB hub comes in handy when you have multiple devices you need to connect to your computer. A hub seriously will make your life a lot easier when it comes to plugging in all your devices.
Here are couple good reasons for you to get yourself a simple portable USB hub:
- You’ve run out of usable USB ports on your computer (desktop, or laptop).
- You want an easier way to connect your USB drives other than having to reach the back of your desktop.
- You want an easier way to manage your device cables.
- To charge multiple devices at once.
- Simple and portable plug & play USB hub
Now that we got that out of the way lets get to the cheap portable USB hub that you can get. There is going to be three options and you can pick one of the three.
Note: Simple hubs without AC power are meant for data transferring from USB drives and light devices. Try not to use hubs without AC power with high power-consuming USB devices such as external hard drives. Also I don’t recommend charging devices through your computer. Always use AC outlets to charge your devices.
Anker Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Turn one of your laptop’s USB ports into four 3.0 high speed USB ports with the Anker Ultra Slim hub. This hub is one of the cheapest in the market and you get great value for the money you spend. Anker company is reliable and their products are high quality. I personally love Anker’s products especially their portable batteries that they sell. Their customer service is good so if you end up with a bad product you can talk with one of their friendly customer service agents and they will help you out.
The Anker Ultra Slim is an excellent choice for those who want a small portable data hub that you can connect to your laptop with. This hub is ideal for travelers who are looking for a quick fix to their limited USB port problem. The slim design of the hub makes it simple and easy for packing. If you happen to be in a hurry then you could even throw this in your pocket and you’re good to go.
The design of this USB hub is simple and has a slick look to it. I’m always a fan of that simple slick designs like this USB hub. It’ll match with any laptop you have. You also get great durability with this hub which makes it even better for traveling. The hub features reinforced cables, sturdy exterior, and heat-resistant connectors. Heat resistant connectors are great because when you’re transferring data, the USB connector tend to heat up. I know many of you guys have felt the heat of your USB after a large transfer.
Overall, this USB hub is great to have because of it’s cheap price and it’s portability. I mean it literally weighs about an ounce so it’s not really going to weigh you down.
This hub doesn’t have a AC power of it’s own so I don’t recommend you using this to charge your high powered devices with your computer. But you could use them to transfer and sync data from your devices to your computer.
Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub (Power Switch & LED)
The Sabrent hub is another great choice for a cheap reliable USB hub. This hub cost slightly more than the Anker one above but it comes with individual power switches for each USB port. When the switch is pushed in (powered on) then the USB port for that switch is live and usable. There is also a blue LED indicator when the port is active. Simple features like the power switches make it pretty ideal for when you want to disconnect an active port. However, use caution when using the switches because it doesn’t mean the device connect is being safely ejected when you turn the switch off. So always make sure that the data transfer is fully complete, or the device connected is able to safely eject before you turn the switch off.
Sabrent 4-Port USB hub is what I currently have myself and I’ve use it to connect multiple devices through my keyboard’s USB connector. The USB hub being a 3.0 makes the data transfer super quick which ideally goes up to 5Gbps. Although, you probably won’t reach the top speed of the 3.0 USB, it’s still great to have because it’s backwards compatible. You can use it with 2.0 USB ports.
For quality and durability, I must say that it’s quite good for the price tag. The switches are pretty responsive and the cable cord is sturdy and strong. It’s simple to use, you just have to plug it in and your good to go. This hub is compatible with PC and OS X. Also this hub weighs about next to nothing so it’s a great travel companion for your laptop.
One thing I found interesting with this Sabrent 4-Port USB hub was that one of the reviewers on Amazon used it as a charging hub for his devices. So basically he plugged the male USB port to a USB to AC adapter like the ones that come with your phone charger. Then he had 3 cables plugged into the hub that were connected to 3 different devices. He said it was great to use because you could just turn the switch off for devices that were fully charged. You could check out the review and his video here.
Overall, for the price and value this USB hub is pretty good to buy. If you want a simple USB hub that comes with power switches then this hub is the one for you. It’s simple, cheap, and good.
Just like the Anker USB hub, this hub is for light powered devices that doesn’t use too much power. So be mindful of the devices you plug in.
Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub w/ Power Adapter
Now this option is for those who want a cheap USB hub that has it’s own AC power without having to spend 30-60 bucks. The Sabrent 4-Port USB hub also has a version that comes with a power adapter for those who want to plug in high powered devices.
This version will be able to charge more than 1 device because of the extra power it gets from the power adapter. The only downside to it is that there will be one extra thing to carry around. But compared to the size of other AC powered USB hubs, this is still really small and portable. Also you can use the hub as it is without the power adapter so it’s basically having the normal Sabrent hub.
So if you want to charge devices or you want a simple USB hub for your desktop then this option is perfect for you. You don’t have to go out of your way to spend extra money on a high-end USB hub because this Sabrent hub will do the job just fine.
Some ways you can use these USB hubs
There are many ways you can use these USB hubs, but here are some ways I have used mine. I have used the Sabrent USB hub on my Corsair K70 mechanical keyboard. Since keyboards like the Corsair K70 only comes with 1 USB port, you can make it into 4 usable USB ports with one of these USB hubs. By having a hub right above your keyboard, you can easily put in USB drives without having to get out of your chair. It makes things simple and easy.
Another way you could use these hubs is on a iMAC. When it comes to iMACs, all of the USB ports are in the back of the screen which makes plugging in USB drives and peripherals a real hassle. You literally have to stand up and look behind the mac to plug in a drive every time. I know some people could probably do it without looking but I can guarantee that you’ll end up scratching it up in the back. So one simple solution is to get yourself a USB hub. It will make your life a lot easier and plus, you’ll end up with more USB ports.
If you’re someone who doesn’t want a hub hanging out of the back of your iMAC then I still got a solution for you and it’s simple. All you have to do is get yourself a velcro tape or a strong double sided tape and line the hub on the back right edge of the mac. Once the hub is in place, you could now simply plug in drives without having to stand up or far reaching. This way you get a cleaner look but with the added benefit of more easy to reach USB ports.
Those two ways were the ones I used with my USB hub. You could probably find more creative ways to use them. If you have other great ways to use these cheap simple USB hubs, tell me in the comments below! 🙂