Belkin’s latest version of their popular 7-port hub has been redesigned and adds cable management features. This review will take a look at the changes, design and performance of Belkin’s latest offering for USB junkies.
The first thing you’ll notice is the design Belkin has chosen for this hub: Its rectangular shape means it’ll take up less space on your desk than previous versions, while retaining the two top ports – useful for USB memory sticks and similar devices. The top ports are also spaced out a bit, so you should be able to connect larger USB devices without any problem as well. The device features an attractive white & blue color scheme – quite a departure from the usual gray, black and silver. Belkin also offer a brown edition of the hub, if white’s not your thing.
At the end of the device Belkin have included a cable loop made out of firm but rubbery plastic The loop can be adjusted slightly, making it easier to cram all your cables inside. The loop allows you to reduce cable clutter, makes for a tidier look and is useful if you need to route one or two of your USB cables to the front of your desk (e.g. for your keyboard). I’m forever losing the business end of my camera’s USB cable behind my desk, so this feature should prove to be very useful.
As expected of a device with this price tag, the build quality is great: the materials feel very solid and smooth and even the power brick feels less cheap than other generic power adapters. The cable loop material is thick enough to be reass The only slight issue I encountered: The top USB ports were a little ‘stiff’ at first, making it quite difficult to plug in a regular Apple USB cable. After a few times it did become significantly easier though.
USB 2.0 obviously has performance rates and limits imposed by the standard itself, so you ask whether performance is an issue at all. Often though, you’ll see reduced throughput if you connect a lot of high-speed devices to a single hub. The 7-port Hub Plus performed tremendously though, even with 2 external harddrives, iPhone, digital camera, Logitech wireless mouse, iMic audio interface and printer connected.
The hub also comes with a power supply. Whilst you can use the hub without power, you’ll need it to use (and charge) devices such as iPhones, iPods or USB-powered harddrives.
Belkin offer a lifetime warranty of this device and I was pleased to find a single folded piece of paper with all their technical support numbers in the box. Whilst this may seem like a given, a lot of manufacturers will bury that kind of information of their websites. I don’t expect needing a lot of support with a hub, but it’s still nice to know it’s available.
The hub performs very well and will also help you to reduce some of the cable clutter on your desk. If you have a MacBook, it’s great to be able to just plug in a single USB plug and have access to all of your devices. Whilst more expensive than generic hubs on the market, it’s thought-out form, design and functionality are well worth it.
The Belkin 7-port USB 2.0 Plus Hub: RRP $49.95