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Our Team’s Review Of The Best Port Hubs
Last updated: 18 Aug 2021
Whether you are a young student in school or a middle-aged salaryman, chances are you own and use a laptop almost every day. You may have noticed that as the trend of thinner and lighter laptops increases, the number of USB ports in a laptop has gone down considerably. This can make connecting multiple devices such as an external mouse, keyboard, smartphone, and other gadgets a big hassle.
The solution to this emerging problem is easily solved by using a port hub, as it allows you to expand connection ports until your heart's content. To help you figure out which port hub is the best fit for you, we’ve put together a list of the best port hubs in 2021 that are currently available on the market.
This port hub is a great option for those who prefer working with multiple gadgets. The port hub contains seven data transfer ports each offering speeds up to 5 Gbps. These are typically used to connect devices such as an external keyboard, mouse, or webcam to your computer. It also has four fast charging ports that can automatically detect your device’s charging protocols.
The hub also features an extra-long cord with separate on/off buttons for each port, providing users with some added convenience. Being widely compatible, the hub can be used with most operating systems as well as USB 2.0/1.1 devices.
If you are looking for the best port hub to use on the go, the Sabrent 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub is your best choice. It features four data transfer ports, each supporting speeds of up to 5 Gbps.
Separate on/off switches with LED indicators are also present for each port, allowing you to easily disconnect your gadgets while they are plugged into the port hub. It is also entirely backward compatible with USB 2.0/1.1 devices.
The cable attached to the port hub is also at a good length, measuring about 2 feet in total. The only downside to this portable hub is that it does not support charging, so it can only be used to sync devices.
The Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub is another speedy yet miniature port hub for those users who want to expand their desk space while keeping the clutter to a minimum. Featuring four ports aligned in a durable body, this port hub will allow users to transfer and sync data at a considerable speed. The 2 feet long cord also provides some added convenience.
However, due to its sophisticated frame, the hub lacks some important features found in many similar devices on the market. There are no on/off switches for each port, nor does the hub support charging. You will also need to make sure the total rating of connected devices does not exceed 900 mA for the connection to remain stable.
This product is a great option for users looking for a single product to manage all their connectivity needs. It includes 1 Ethernet port, 1 charging port, 1 HDMI port, 1 TF SD card slot, 1 SD card slot, and 3 ports for data transfer of which two are USB 3.0 and one is USB 2.0. Transferring data from a variety of mediums has never been so easy.
However, it is important to note that if you attempt to use many of the ports all at once, it may cause overheating or interference with your network. It is also a bit more expensive than other port hubs on the market, though it does offer a significant number of features.
This hub tower is ideal for customers who are low on space but do not want to compromise on quality. Featuring 5 regular USB ports, 2 fast-charging ports, and a power adapter, this product can be used for both data transfer and charging. Also, as the port hub is designed as a standing tower, it leaves less of a footprint on your desk.
However, one drawback of this port hub is that none of the ports are compatible with USB 3.0. The data transfer ports are also slightly less in speed than others on the market, offering a speed of up to 480 Mbps.
This small yet practical device can be a great companion to users who own newer laptops like the Macbook Pro, Dell XPS 13, and HP Spectre X2. You can connect your USB-C laptop to a projector or screen using its USB-C to HDMI adapter. The dongle also contains two super-speed USB 3.0 ports, one SD Memory Card, and one TF Memory Card.
Professional photographers can use this port hub to easily transfer large files quickly from their camera to USB-C laptop. It is also quite small with a solid space-grey finish. However, some users have reported the adapter to become very hot, potentially damaging a device plugged into one of the many ports.
The LYFNLOVE Power USB 3.0 Hub is an excellent option for users wanting to connect many peripheral devices to the computer.
With 7 identical data transfer ports, you can easily connect several devices including a keyboard, mouse, webcam, printer, and scanner all at the same time. It also has one dedicated port for charging your phone or tablet along with individual on/off switches for each port.
The design of this port hub is also quite sophisticated and lightweight. However, it doesn’t offer much in terms of variety of ports, though they are all backward compatible with USB 2.0/1.1.
These days, more and more people are choosing to skip going out for work in favor of working from their desk at home. Whether you are a student taking online classes or an employee collaborating with colleagues, a port hub can add an extra layer of productivity and convenience to your workspace.
However, deciding what to look for when buying a port hub can be a daunting task. To help you make this decision, we have prepared this comprehensive buying guide highlighting the key features of the best port hubs in 2021.
What Is A Port Hub?
Port hubs are compact devices usually consisting of several types of ports, including USB 3.0, USB 2.0, HDMI, and Ethernet. Some port hubs also have added features like SD and TF card readers to help transfer files between different devices like a professional camera easily. They can also be used to charge devices, with many consisting of separate fast-charging USB ports.
Why Should I Use A Port Hub?
Many manufacturers have begun to limit the number of ports in a laptop to make a slimmer and more lightweight body. This is great for portability but can be a real problem when trying to work with several devices at one time.
This problem is solved by using a port hub, which gives users a way in which they can connect all their devices to the laptop with ease.
What Are The Different Types of Port Hubs?
Powered Port Hub
The main difference between a powered and unpowered port hub has to do with which devices you are interested in connecting to your computer. Both a powered and unpowered port hub connects to your laptop. However, a powered port hub also connects to an external power socket, causing all the devices attached to it to draw their own power. If you want to connect bigger gadgets like a printer or scanner, a powered port hub would be a much safer choice.
Unpowered Port Hub
An unpowered port hub does not connect to any external socket. Devices that are connected to the port hub draw their power from the laptop the hub is connected to. Unpowered port hubs are best for connecting small devices which don’t require much voltage, such as mice, keyboards, and chargers.
What To Look For When Buying A Port Hub?
Not all port hubs are created equal. There is so much variation in terms of size, price, and quality of port hubs on the market, making it even more difficult to decide what aspect of a port hub to prioritize when shopping. In this case, the best thing to do is break down the core features of a typical port hub, studying each category individually before setting out to buy one. Below is a list of the most important aspects to look for to avoid a disappointing purchase.
Number and Variety of Ports
Some port hubs consist of a larger number of ports but without much variation, such as having many USB 3.0 ports for data transfer. Others are more focused on variety, offering everything from HDMI to SD Card readers in one compact casing.
Deciding whether to go for a device focused on quantity or variety depends on what you plan to achieve with your port hub. Are you a student looking to connect many peripherals to your laptop? Or are you more interested in sharing files between many mediums? Instead of just chasing after the device with the most features, think about how you will actually use the port hub to get your work done.
USB Versions Supported
This is another aspect that if missed, can lead to unnecessary inconvenience. Always make sure to buy a port hub that supports the latest USB version to avoid issues with compatibility. It may cost a little more but will provide you with much greater speed and ease of connectivity in the long run.
Size and Portability
Oftentimes people buy port hubs to make their workspace much more organized. In this case, a more discreet hub with fewer features would be a better choice. The weight of a port hub is also an important point to consider, as a lighter model would be easy to carry around but may not stay in place on a desk.
Port Hub FAQs
Is it safe to plug in a USB 3.0 device into a USB 2.0 port?
The only issue that arises when plugging a newer USB into an older port is that of speed. Older USB standards have slower data transfer rates, with USB 2.0 having a speed of up to 480 Mbps as opposed to 5 Gbps offered by USB 3.0. It is safe but will require you to wait much longer for your data to transfer.
Will using a port hub affect the performance of my devices?
If you are using an unpowered port hub, each connected device gets only a share of the power instead of all the power it needs. In this case, the reading and writing speed of these devices may be affected.
Can a port hub damage my laptop?
Power only flows from a laptop port to a port hub, not the other way around. Even if you connect a powered port hub to your computer, it will remain safe from damage.
As a computers and information analyst, Denise constantly finds herself trying the latest and greatest tech products. Her extensive personal experience with electronics allows her to share her findings with others online.