Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best usb hub 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated June 1, 2019
Best usb hub of 2018
If you get well acquainted with these basics, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing a usb hub that suits your need. The rating is based on multiple factors: The 3 metrics ‐ Design, Materials, Performance, and other indicators such as: Popularity, Opinions, Brand, Reputation and more. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your comfort, style, or accessibility, we have picks to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Following is the list of top three usb hub of 2018.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this usb hub win the first place?
I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
Why did this usb hub come in second place?
This is a pretty decent product that perfectly fitted the interior of our office. I recommend you to consider buying this model, it definitely worth its money. Seems that the material is good. It has a very beautiful color but I don’t really like the texture. I really liked it. It is amazing in every aspect. It did even exceed my expectations for a bit, considering the affordable price.
Why did this usb hub take third place?
It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment.
usb hub Buyer’s Guide
LENTION 4-in-USB-C Hub
Sometimes an affordable gadget’s super-budget price is a warning. Although this hub from Lention looks like one of the better peripherals for new MacBook owners on tight budgets, (it adds two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port), its promise falls apart quickly. First, we had to make sure that the hub was resting on a surface so that it wouldn’t slowly pull itself out. Later, its USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports stopped working altogether, so its only use became as a pass-through charger, making it worthless.
Read the Fine Print for Minor but Appreciated Features
Once you get past the basics: solid (and safe) build construction, bus-powered/self-powered, and the number of ports you want, the rest of choices are largely aesthetic in nature or focused on small but appreciated details. Each of the units we showcased today features these kind of details.
Other handy features you may find on nicer USB hubs include power switches. Some, like the LOFTEK, have a small power button that offers you the ability to toggle the whole hub on and off. Others, like the Etekcity Port USB 3.0 Hub, have multiple power toggles for different individual ports or sets there of. If you have peripherals that can be powered on and off via USB signal or you just want to easily disable access to certain devices without unplugging them, the extra switches are a very handy little addition.
While USB 2.0 could be enough for most users, the fact is that prices for both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 standards aren’t so different these days. You can spend a little more and get a USB hub which offers much better transfer speeds. If you plan to use your hub for more than just some basic peripherals, than getting a USB 3.0 unit is basically a requirement.
There are two options for USB hubs in terms of power. Those that are bus-powered and self-powered. The first draws power via USB bus/port, through the connection to the host computer while the latter makes use of a separate power pack. If portability matters to you, then it’s strongly recommended to get a bus-powered USB hub but if you wish to add more demanding devices to your workstation (in terms of power), it’s better to choose a powered USB hub so you can avoid instabilities in your connections from a lack of power.
Number of ports
This is quite self-explanatory. Unless portability is critical, it’s probably better to go for hubs with more ports. This depends on some factors like how many devices do you plan to connect to a computer but going with some extra ports is recommended. You never know when you find yourself in need of adding another device in. Some premium hubs can even offer extra ports that are specifically designed for charging though these aren’t always necessary.
Now that you’re aware of what it takes to find the right USB hub for your needs, try this list of carefully selected products. There are individual reviews that go a bit more in-depth to get a better understanding of each product. Although many are similar, they can have some notable differences which can help you come to a better decision. No matter what, choosing a USB hub from this list means that you’ll certainly end up with a truly dependable USB hub that’s worth the money.
Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Ultra Slim Data Hub
Anker is one of the leaders when it comes to the technology incorporated in USB hubs. They have lots of interesting models to look at and one of them is the 4-port Ultra Slim Data Hub which delivers USB 3.0 speeds, a durable design, and enhanced portability, all at a very fair price.
The design seems to be the main strength of this device. It’s very slim and compact, easily fitting in the palm of your hand and can slip into any pocket or computer bag. The gadget only weighs around an ounce and the impressive thinness of just 0.inches makes this one of the most portable options around.
Although the USB hub is so stylish and thin, Anker made no compromises when it comes to durability. It was built to perform, above all else. It comes with a fairly sturdy exterior and a reinforced cable. The connectors also got a nice treatment to better resist the generated heat. The manufacturer certainly paid a lot of attention to little details that can make all the difference in the long run, concerning the lifespan of the device.
If you want high data transfer speeds, you’ve come to the right place. This unit provides USB 3.0 SuperSpeed fast transfer rates, almost times faster than USB 2.0. Getting a full HD movie transferred can happen in just a matter of seconds instead of minutes.
This model will turn a single USB port from your computer into four ports which work without any issues for both data management and device charging. It won’t charge tablets or devices that require a bigger power input, such as external hard disks. Using this is very simple, even a novice user can manage as the hub is plug-and-play and is compatible with all the popular operating systems.
It’s hard to find a flaw in this slim and performant device. Considering everything, this Anker 4-port USB hub is strongly recommended for its solid blend of quality features and affordable cost. It may not have any advanced features but for most people, it offers more than enough.
Plugable USB3-HUB7-81X port Powered USB 3.0 hub
The average computer only has around to USB ports and for laptops, it can be even less than that. This device will allow you to turn a simple USB port from your machine into high-speed ports. Not only that, you can now have all your favorite high-powered devices like external hard drives connected at the same time thanks to the 25W power adapter which delivers the required energy to maintain a stable connection.
There are two edge ports (and 7) that have charging capabilities. They support the BC 1.charging standard offering a no-compromise solution to charge various compliant devices. If you want to quickly charge your smartphone, try plugging into one of these two ports as they’ll charge it at a much faster rate compared to a standard port.
Both CDP (Charging Downstream Port) and DCP (Dedicated Charging Port) charging modes are supported along with different charging signals that are proprietary to Apple (1A, 2A, 2.4A) and Samsung (2.4A). It can be used as a stand-alone charger without the need for a computer host attached as long as your device supports it.
This unit features two special VIA Labs VL81Bchipsets that have the latest firmware to provide flawless compatibility forward and backward between almost all USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.devices and hosts. This chipset is engineered for high performance and to maximize the energy efficiency.
With a relatively low price for a 7-port self-powered USB 3.0 hub, the Plugable USB3-HUB7-81X stands out as one of the best buys on the market. The setup is a breeze, the design is pleasant, and the performance is smooth. It truly feels like a dependable device for all your essential peripherals so that’s why it’s highly recommended.
HooToo HT-UH09-Port 60 Watts USB 3.0 Hub
The HooToo HT-UH0is a self-powered USB 3.0 hub which you shouldn’t miss if you want a reliable expansion for your USB ports on a desktop computer. It instantly adds USB 3.0 ports and two dedicated smart charging ports for a total of ports. It doesn’t have a small price tag but it packs a punch in terms of overall features.
This USB hub has a compact design and can be placed anywhere on your desk without taking too much space. You can enjoy more connectivity within arm’s reach. The device provides support for both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 devices though if you want to take advantage of the full speed potential when transferring data, it’s important to use USB 3.0 products with it.
The fact that this USB hub is advertised as a 9-port USB hub can be a little misleading because two of those ports aren’t used for data transfer. They are dedicated smart charging ports which will automatically detect the current needs of a connected smartphone or tablet and charges it as quickly as possible. These charging ports can keep two devices powered up at the same time.
The 60W adapter that powers this USB hub should cover all your energy needs. It can support multiple external hard drives transferring data simultaneously without issues. A user-friendly USB hub, it can be plugged in and it will start working right away without having to install any drivers. It supports hot-swap so you can safely plug in or unplug any devices while the host computer is running.
Another Anker product that’s worth a look is this 7-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub which comes with a power adapter and is ready to handle more advanced users who want a considerable expansion for their workstation.
The first thing you can notice regarding the looks of this USB hub is how surprisingly lightweight it is. At only 2.9oz, this compact device can slip in a travel bag and you won’t even feel it. It fits in your palm, but this is not all. Where this model truly shins is in terms of performance.
When it comes to compatibility it’s good to know that this model works well with both Windows (from XP to 10) and Mac computers (OS X 10.or later). The high-grade chipset integrated into this unit combined with the 36W adapter should ensure a stable operation. It will work in a plug-and-play manner and it has hot-swapping functionality for your convenience.
A slight downside of this USB hub is regarding the internal portion of the unit which accepts the power adapter tip. In case you plug the USB hub in and out very often, you can experience disconnecting issues. Thankfully, Anker has a stellar customer service and can readily assist you and offer a solution if you’ll ever have problems.
Despite this slight construction flaw, the Anker 7-port USB 3.0 Data Hub is a powerful tool for anyone interested in becoming more productive and attach several high-powered devices to their computer. For the price, you can’t go wrong with this USB hub from Anker.
Recommended for IT Pro and corporate users.
This 2-in-Inateck USB Hub features high-speed USB 3.0 ports and one 10/100/1000 gigabit ethernet port. If you are a corporate staff or a network engineer, this USB hub will be a great choice for you because it allows you to connect to your corporate network via the LAN port. It also comes with a high quality feet USB 3.0 cable.
USB 3.0 Hub, HooToo Port Hub with Smart Charging Ports
This USB 3.0 Hub made by HooToo features the high-speed USB 3.0 ports and other smart charging ports (1A and 2.1A) for charging your personal devices including your smartphones and tablets including iPad and Samsung tablet. It has LED for indicating power and data transfer status for each USB port. To allow high-powered devices operation, this HooFoo USB 3.0 hub come with a premium 60W power adapter (12V 5A).
After 120 hours of doing research, consulting with electrical engineers, and testing hubs, we determined that the Anker 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub is the best USB hub for most people. It’s compact and reliable, and it has well-placed ports aplenty. In our tests, it rose above the competition mainly because of its usability and design: Compared with most of the hubs we tested, it’s smaller and equipped with more ports, and those ports are easy to get to. It also has three high-speed charging ports, something our readers told us they wanted.
After testing a new model and revisiting our recommendations, we’ve determined that the Anker 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub is still our top pick for most people, and that the Anker AH23remains our pick for people who need more data ports. But our new portable pick is the four-port Sabrent HB-SGAR-5V4A, and we no longer recommend the Anker 7-Port USB 3.0 Hub, which is discontinued.
Its seven USB 3.0 data ports and three high-speed charging ports face upward, so cables and plugs take up less room on your desk.
Sabrent’s HB-SGAR-5V4A is smaller than a brick of sticky notes, and though it comes with a dedicated power adapter, it’ll run just fine without one. All four ports put out up to 1.amps, meaning this model is better suited for charging phones and tablets than most hubs of its size, and the adapter provides more than enough power, which is rare. However, this square hub has one port on each face, which means it’ll take up a fair amount of space on your desk when everything is plugged in.
Who this is for
A USB 3.0 hub is for anyone who has a computer with at least one USB 3.0 port and either wants more ports or wants those ports in a more-accessible place. Many laptops have only one or two USB 3.0 ports; many desktop computers have USB ports in difficult-to-reach locations.
This guide currently focuses on traditional, rectangular USB-A connectors. But USB-C ports are becoming more common on computers, phones, and other devices. While the new standard has yet to supplant the legacy USB-A port that all of these hubs use, new USB-A hubs seem to have stopped coming, and older models are getting discontinued without replacements. If you’re looking for accessories for your USB-C device, check out our full guide to USB-C accessories.
If your computer doesn’t have enough USB 3.0 ports, or if you want a more-convenient place to plug in your USB 3.0 hard drive or flash drive, you should consider a USB 3.0 hub. If you have a computer with USB 3.0 ports but a slow USB 2.0 hub, you should consider upgrading, as you’ll see significantly faster transfer speeds across all your devices with a new hub. If you need a dedicated charging port for your smartphone or iPad—and you’d rather not use a dedicated USB wall charger—or if you’re experiencing dropped connections or other undesirable behaviors with connected devices, you should upgrade to one of our picks.
What makes a great USB hub
We surveyed more than 700 readers and added the results of our own research to come up with the criteria for choosing the best USB hubs. A great USB hub must have USB 3.0 ports and should have dedicated power. It needs to be reliable, practically designed, compact, and (for portable hubs) light. LED indicators for each port and a decent warranty are also useful.
USB 3.0 hubs tend to be more expensive than USB 2.0 hubs, and the 3.0 standard has interference issues with 2.GHz wireless devices. Still, we chose to focus on USB 3.0 hubs, because the USB 2.0 standard is ancient—it was introduced back in April 2000, while USB 3.0 debuted in November 2008—and many times slower than 3.0. For example, our favorite desktop hard drive transfers files at about 150 megabytes per second on a USB 3.0 connection, but on USB 2.0 it maxes out at just 40 MB/s—if you think you’ll ever want to plug USB 3.0–capable external hard drives or flash drives into a hub for data transfer, you’ll want the extra speed that a USB 3.0 hub provides.
Using a dedicated power cord or adapter is a smart idea if you don’t want to risk accidentally corrupting everything on your hard drive.
Dedicated power is a must-have for most hubs—but not for all of them. (More on the kind that don’t require it in a moment.) To explain why, we first need to talk about how power flows through USB hubs. According to the official USB 3.0 spec, each USB 3.0 port must provide 900 milliamps of current at volts, or 4.watts. If you have a four-port USB 3.0 hub powered solely by your computer’s USB 3.0 port (in other words, without a dedicated power cord or adapter), that means you theoretically have four devices running on the amount of power usually provided to one. This arrangement can lead to devices losing power and disconnecting improperly from the computer, which can cause drive corruption and data loss.
However, it’s important to recognize that this theoretical setup has a lot of flexibility. The 900-milliamp-current requirement for USB 3.0 ports is a minimum rather than a fixed level, and manufacturers often provide more power to their hubs’ ports. The power consumption of devices also varies wildly based on the kind of device and what you’re doing with it at a given moment. For example, in its user manual for our top-pick hub, Anker provides the following estimates of power consumption by device: A mouse consumes about 100 milliamps, a keyboard uses a maximum of 500 milliamps, and a portable USB 3.0 hard drive consumes a maximum of 900 milliamps.
Beyond minimum power, we know from our research on USB chargers that people prefer ports that can charge their phones and tablets more quickly; an informal Twitter survey of readers confirmed this. So we looked for hubs with high-speed charging ports, a feature that requires external AC power, and with the exception of portable hubs, we ended up focusing on powered models.
With those power requirements in mind, we eliminated any USB hubs without enough juice to fully power all their ports. For example, our top pick has seven USB 3.0 ports and three 2.4-amp charging ports. According to the USB 3.0 spec, that means this hub could need as much as 4watts to power all its ports at their theoretical maximums—and because it includes a 12-volt, 5-amp (60-watt) power supply, it gets enough power for all its ports at their theoretical maximums. Many hubs without adequate power aren’t significantly smaller, lighter, or less expensive to make up for that, so we ruled those models out.
Vertically stacked ports (front) make it easier to connect larger plugs and thumb drives than horizontally arranged ports (back).
A great USB hub also has to be designed with usability in mind. The ports should be spaced far enough apart that you can connect bulky thumb drives and card readers next to one another. In our tests, we found that vertically stacked ports were generally preferable to horizontally aligned ones. A hub should also be small and light, especially if you’ll use it for traveling, and it shouldn’t make the devices you plug in take up too much room on your desk: Hubs with ports on top (as opposed to around the edges) are better because the plugs you connect will stand vertically instead of fanning out around the hub and taking up even more space. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but it’s also nice if a USB hub doesn’t look like it fell out of the ’90s. And a decent warranty is useful in case you wind up with a faulty hub.
We found that an LED indicator for each port on the hub made troubleshooting much simpler when things didn’t work as intended, because we were able to tell which port was having issues.
In our reader survey, 5percent of respondents told us they wanted a USB hub with five to seven ports, while 2percent favored four or fewer ports. The remaining 20 percent said they wanted eight or more ports. Based on that feedback, we looked for picks with four, seven, and ports. Nearly a third of respondents said they were interested in a travel USB hub, and 7percent of them told us they wanted a travel hub without a dedicated power cord. So for the four-port category, we tried to find a USB hub that could work without a power cord but came with one; that way, the power cord would be available when you needed extra power but wouldn’t be a mandatory nuisance.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Despite being the best-designed hub we tested that has at least seven data ports, this Anker hub still has a couple of annoying quirks. The top plate is made from a glossy-black plastic that shows every fingerprint, smudge, and speck of dust. It’s easy to clean but just as easy to get dirty again the next time you plug in or unplug a device. (At least this model doesn’t have that glossy plastic on all sides like some of the other hubs we tested.) The upward-facing ports are great for making plugs and devices take up less room on your desk, but the port orientation means that the ports are susceptible to dust collecting inside. That said, they’re easy to clean out with a bit of compressed air.
Like most USB hubs, this Anker model comes with a chunky power supply. It’s a necessary evil, and the Anker’s is the same size as, or smaller than, the power bricks for the other seven- and 10-port hubs we tested, so it’s not a dealbreaker. This Anker hub also doesn’t have a power button, but only five of the hubs (and none of the seven-port options) we tested did, and we don’t think most people have a real need to turn off a USB hub (if you need to, you can just unplug the power cord).
If you need more than the seven data ports of our main pick (who are you?!), the Anker AH23is exactly the same size and shape as our main pick but designed with a different mix of connections: nine USB 3.0 data ports and one 2.1-amp charging port. (Unlike the 2.A ports on our top pick, which according to our measurements actually put out 2.A, this port maxed out at 2.A in our tests.) The AH23also has glossy white plastic around the sides and a different LED color than our pick, but the two models weigh the same and come with the same power brick and cables, and they worked similarly in all of our tests.
The Anker 10-Port USB 3.0 Hub (bottom) and the Anker AH23(top).
The Sabrent hub performs better than any other four-port option, but its sprawling layout isn’t great.
The four-port Sabrent HB-SGAR-5V4A is the most portable and versatile USB hub we tested. It’s quite compact, and you can use it with or without the included power supply. However, using it without its power supply carries the risk of overloading the hub, dropping connections, and corrupting data, so we recommend that you use the power cord whenever possible. That said, we tested the Sabrent hub with and without the power supply and found that file transfers were just as fast in both scenarios.
Each of the hub’s USB 3.0 data ports doubles as a higher-current charging port, capable of delivering up to 1.amps whether the hub is attached to a computer or not. For best performance, the hub requires 1W of power, and the included power adapter provides 20 W—it’s the only four-port hub we’ve found that gets enough power from its adapter. This means that you can use high-power-draw devices such as external hard drives with confidence. But the Sabrent has only one power-indicator light, rather than an individual light for each port.
The Sabrent hub measures just inches square and 0.inch thick, and it weighs only 1.ounces—it’s smaller than a brick of sticky notes. The hub’s four ports are arranged one per side. The ports are horizontally oriented, and because they’re not right next to one another, you won’t have any trouble plugging in large devices. But the layout is admittedly ugly, and it means that despite the hub’s small size, once you connect a few devices, it will take up more room on your desk than most others. This sprawling design is bad enough that we considered withholding our recommendation, but the hub’s performance is so much better than anything else in this category that we think it’s worth putting up with the mess. If you hate the design, consider the four-port Anker hub we describe in the Competition section below.
The Sabrent hub has an integrated USB cable that’s inches long; the cord on the included power brick is about 60 inches long.
Long-term test notes
One of our editors has been using our upgrade pick, the Anker AH231, since September 2014, and it has been working great, providing plenty of power for any USB device hooked up to it and allowing reliable data transfers. The charging port has also worked flawlessly.
Devices that don’t work with USB hubs
Some devices must be plugged directly into the host computer’s USB port—they don’t work at all when you plug them into a USB hub. For example, the Apple SuperDrive works only when you plug it directly into a USB port on an Apple laptop.
It’s impossible to account for every setup, scenario, and device, so our advice is to do a bit of research before you buy: A quick Google search will usually turn up common issues with the devices you’ll be plugging into your hub. We also recommend testing, right when you get a new hub, compatibility with your existing USB devices so that you can return the hub if it has a problem.
A note on wireless devices and USB 3.0
The RF noise can come from anywhere along the USB 3.0 connection. For example, if you have a USB 3.0 hard drive plugged into a USB 3.0 port, the interference can come from the port on your hub, the USB cord, or even the drive’s USB port. This noise isn’t always an issue, but if your wireless mouse or keyboard constantly drops its connection, or if you lose clicks or keystrokes, you should try connecting the mouse or keyboard to a USB 2.0 port and keeping RF dongles and devices away from active USB 3.0 connections. If your computer doesn’t have any USB 2.0 ports, you can use a USB 2.0 extension cable to move the RF dongle farther from the source of the interference.
The Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub’s design isn’t great for wide plugs and thumb drives.
If you hate the look of our four-port Sabrent pick, the next-best pick among a field of compromised options is Anker’s Ultra Slim 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub, available on its own or with a power adapter. This tiny (4¼ inches by inch by ¼ inch) stick is the smallest hub we tested, but its four data ports are arranged in a horizontal line along one edge, closely spaced, so fat plugs or thumb drives will partially block adjacent ports. In addition, our data transfers failed when we attempted to use two portable hard drives at a time, even with the hub’s optional power adapter connected, so we recommend this hub only for low-power-draw devices such as flash drives, mice, and keyboards rather than for hard drives. That said, if you’re planning to use a bus-powered drive with this hub, make sure to choose the version with the power adapter.
The Unitek Aluminum 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with Smart Charging Port is appealing on paper, but in our real-world use it turned out to be rather disappointing. It has only three data ports, with the fourth port reserved for charging. Though the company claims charging at amps, we measured only amp of charging output. The power adapter’s connector also fit far too loosely into the hub, suggesting poor manufacturing and leaving us uncomfortable with how this model might hold up over the long term.
Our previous top pick, HooToo’s HT-UH010, is still solid, but it’s not quite as appealing as the Anker hub that took its spot. Aesthetically, the HT-UH0is almost identical to the Anker: It has the same body and a similar port array, including the same number of data ports. It also has charging ports, but only two instead of the three of our top pick. HooToo labels these charging ports as 1-amp and 2.1-amp, yet in our testing both supported 2.4-amp charging; on the other hand, when copying data to seven flash drives at once, we saw the transfer rate of some of the drives drop. In our long-term testing, we noticed that a bit of the soft-touch coating started flaking off the bottom surface, but that isn’t a major concern because it doesn’t impact the usability or look of the hub when it’s sitting on a desk. Again, the HT-UH0is a good hub, but it’s not as good as our top pick.
Satechi’s 10-Port Premium Aluminum USB 3.0 Hub is physically larger than any other hub we tested. Rather than the clean, side-by-side power- and data-cable ports of our top picks, it has a port on each vertical end of its horizontal layout, making for more cable clutter.
The Sabrent High Speed Port USB 3.0 Hub is larger and uglier than our 10-port pick, and it was problematic in our testing. The first time we plugged it in, the first power-indicator light took about 30 seconds to turn on. We also encountered random disconnects, heard an annoying coil whine, and saw speeds slow down during multiple-device transfers. This model doesn’t have an overall power-indicator light, and during testing this hub got warmer than others.
How your tablet works will depend very much on its operating system – what you actually see and interact with on screen. Which system is best largely depends on your own personal preferences as they each have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Android was created by Google, but is available on devices made by manufacturers such as Samsung and Sony. It’s customisable and user-friendly, though the experience will differ between brands. You have more control over how you use Android and how you manage files, but this can make it a little more complicated to use.
More apps are available for Android than any other platform. Google Play is the largest app store, but there are others to choose from. Having a larger app developing community does carry some risks, however, so it’s important to check apps carefully to avoid unsecure content.
Screen quality is measured in pixels. The more pixels, the higher the quality of the image.
Entry level tablets have a pixel count of around 102x 600, mid-range tablets have a resolution of around 1920 x 1080, and more high-end devices have 204x 153and above.
More is always better when it comes to battery life. Typically it’s the most expensive tablets that have the longest. Some low cost models may have long battery life, but that’s a reflection of their lower processing performance.
Remember battery life is an estimate. High demand tasks will use up battery power faster than low demand tasks.
SD card and SD slot
SD cards are a simple way to add more memory. A small card can be placed inside an SD slot to access any files it contains. It makes it very easy to transfer files, as many devices have an SD slot. Not every tablet has an SD slot, however, so an adaptor could be required.
The second-generation Samsung SmartThings hub can connect to more than 200 devices — more than most other hubs — and lets you create a wide range of different scenarios for all of the gadgets in your home. However, the process to set up these automatic actions is a bit convoluted. Unlike the competition, the SmartThings also has a battery backup, which is good for when the power goes out.
Cool Accessories To Help Organize Your Desk
Read More, but their popularity seems to have waned in recent years. Is there still a good case for using them, or have they become largely unnecessary? It depends on your situation, but there are definitely some circumstances in which they’re really useful.
View them online from Apple here.
If you want you can upgrade the processor to 1.4GHz, while you can also choose between either 8GB or 16GB of RAM.
While the clock speeds are only slightly higher than those featured in 2016’s 12in MacBooks, they should be faster in practice thanks to more modern Kaby Lake processor architecture. The RAM is faster, too: 1866MHz, up from 1600MHz in 2015.
The energy-efficient chips also help with battery life, adding up to an hour more than their predecessors: hours of web use, or 1hours of movie watching, with 30 days of standby – at least according to Apple.
While this is the lightest and perhaps prettiest MacBook available, it’s also one of the most expensive, and – while the new processors have closed the gap – they remain relatively low-powered for the price.
While it is an utter joy to look at, and nice to use, we still feel it costs too much for too little.
Read our preview of the 20112in MacBook or, if you’d like to compare it to the previous model, our review of 2016’s 12in MacBook.
Choosing a new laptop is a lot harder than it should be. Every major brand has multiple product lines with overlapping prices and features, and every description is filled with jargon about processors, types of storage, graphics capabilities, screen resolutions and a laundry list of ports and connections. And don’t even get me started on names. Good luck figuring out the meaning behind a Pavilion/Inspiron/XPS/Latitude/Spectre/Envy/ZenBook/Odyssey or any of the others. It’s enough to make you go back to a no. pencil and a composition book.
That’s why we test and review dozens of traditional laptops every year, plus Windows tablets and 2-in-hybrids, and even Chromebooks. This handy buying guide will give you the basic background info you need to add context to those reviews and to make a smart purchase. Of course, if you’re looking to just jump right in, I’ve preselected a handful of my favorite current laptops to highlight. If you ran into me on the street, I’d probably steer you towards one of these as a starting point.
Daily or near-daily commutes mean you want something with a 13-inch or smaller display, that weighs under three pounds and is at most around 15mm thick. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro just hits those specs, while systems like the HP Spectre and Acer Swift both dip below 10mm thick.
The Aukey USB Type-C to Type-A and VGA hub is a handy companion when you desperately need to connect standard USB devices with no compatible ports available. There’s also a VGA connection for hooking up older monitors or even projectors, all while charging your machine. The hub itself is compact and lightweight making it suitable for slinging into a bag, and its power indicator lets you know when it’s connected to your device. Unlike hubs that connect directly to your machine, the Aukey uses a cable, leaving plenty of room for hooking up other USB-C accessories.
Aukey USB-C PCI-Express Card
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome in the transition from USB-A to Type-C is the lack of ports. If you’re lucky, your desktop has a single USB 3.port whereas the rest all are standard 3.0 or even 2.0 Type-A ports. Fortunately, desktop towers are highly upgradeable pieces of kit, which means if you need an extra pair of 10Gbps-capable USB ports, it’s as easy as opening up your case and screwing Aukey’s USB-C PCI-Express card into place.
On the other hand, if you’re stuck with, say, a 12-inch MacBook, expanding your connection arsenal isn’t as straightforward a process considering – at least for right now – there aren’t any USB 3.hub solutions that forego Type-A altogether. At the very least, though, companies like Aukey have made the switch to Type-C more feasible than ever on PCs.
OWC USB-C Media Dock
If you’re using a laptop with a limited number of USB ports then a dock is an essentially accessory. OWC’s USB-C Dock Media Drive adds an SD card reader, a headphone port, Gigabit Ethernet, an HDMI port and six USB 3.GenType-C ports, two of which are high-powered charging ports for juicing up your devices’ batteries faster. The dock has its own proprietary power connection, meaning it won’t sap your laptop’s battery life while in use. Just be aware that its USB-C ports can only be used for charging and transferring data, and aren’t DisplayPort compatible – so you’ll be limited to hooking up a 1080p monitor (at 60Hz, or up to 4K at 30Hz) using the onboard HDMI port.
Some mouse bungees come with additional USB ports on the base. This is helpful if you have a lot of USB peripherals and saves you buying a standalone USB hub, but can lead to an increase in desk clutter. Whether or not you’ll need these is highly dependent on your situation and computer setup.
Dodocool USB-C Charging Hub
For laptops that support only USB-C the Dodocool USB-C charging hub is a neat gadget that allows you to add on four full-size USB 3.0 ports that can handle data transfer at up to 5Gb/s, and still charge your device via the USB-C input at the bottom.
The Dodocool is a great-looking device, available with a gold or grey matt aluminium outer casing. It feels well made and is easy to use, with no drivers required.
OWC USB-C Dock
One of the unavoidable facts about the USB-C MacBook is the lack of ports. But, if you’re here, you probably don’t mind and have taken the plunge anyway. If you love the portability of the MacBook but also want the option of full-on ports and desktop usability, then the OWC dock is the best product on the market.
It allows you to connect a plethora of devices of all ages to your brand new laptop, as well as connect it to a display via HDMI. This is thankfully compatible with DisplayPort and can manage 4K options, so if you want you use your MacBook at home or in the office with four or five things plugged in, this is the option to go for.
It’s a tad complicated to set up and only comes with cables (power and USB-C to USB-C) but as long as you only use it at one workstation it’s the best all-out solution we’ve used.
Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock
The Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock (UD-ULTCD) is the best pick for early adopters who need a dock. It works with the newest standards, like USB Type-C for charging and external displays and supports 4K monitors. We didn’t like that it’s locked into vertical orientation, but you can’t argue for great performance and support for three displays at the same time.
Collapse Most Recent Updates
After hours of preliminary research, we tested more than 2USB-C accessories to put together this guide to the best ways to connect peripherals and devices to a USB-C–equipped computer. It’s by no means exhaustive. USB-C can, in theory, replace every other port, and there are a seemingly infinite number of port combinations you might encounter. We focused on the most important tasks you’ll likely face, such as connecting older peripherals like hard drives and hooking up an external display.
We’ll be expanding our coverage of USB-C as the field matures; we’re already working on guides to SD card readers, portable battery packs, port-expansion docks, and more. (We’ll also be covering Thunderbolt at some point.) If there’s something specific you think we’ve missed, please let us know.
How we picked and tested
We tested the data-transfer speed of the USB ports on hubs and adapters using our favorite flash drive from SanDisk; specifically, we used the AJA System Test app to measure the read and write speeds of the USB 3.0 drive. We repeated this process three times per device, averaging the results; if an adapter or hub had multiple USB ports, we repeated the test for each port. To test USB-C–to–USB-A cables, we connected Samsung’s Portable SSD T(one of the fastest drives with a USB-C connection) to the Dell XPS 1and ran CrystalDiskMark. It’s rare to see USB 3.Gen devices at this point, but we’ll test on the faster standard when it’s more common.
We tested video adapters using a Dell P2715Q (our pick for the best 4K display), Intel’s Skull Canyon NUC computer, an older VGA monitor, and a 1080p TV. We measured the refresh rate using the Blur Busters Motion Tests.
Cable Matters USB-C to DisplayPort 4K 60Hz Cable
All the DisplayPort cables we tested worked perfectly, but this one will stay in place better.
If you’re connecting to a DisplayPort-based monitor, you’ll need a dedicated cable—none of the adapters we tested include a DisplayPort port. (If you’ve got a MacBook with only a single USB-C port, you’ll instead need to use an HDMI-to-DisplayPort cable with one of the adapters with an HDMI port.) Every USB-C–to–DisplayPort cable we tested worked perfectly, offering a pixel-perfect image and full 60 Hz performance, even at 4K. That said, we recommend Cable Matters’ USB-C to DisplayPort 4K 60 Hz Cable if it’s available. It’s the only one of the three cables we tested that has a clip on the DisplayPort plug housing to hold the plug in place—you have to squeeze the clip to release the cable from the port. This is admittedly a small advantage, though: Accell’s U188B-006B USB-C to DisplayPort Cable, Plugable’s USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter Cable, and StarTech’s USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter Cable, which are all identical to one another but missing the aforementioned clip, work just as well if the Cable Matters cable is out of stock or more expensive.
This certified cable charges and passes data as quickly as any other, and it’s built well.
Anker PowerLine USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable
This quality, inexpensive cable for devices with legacy USB ports is good for charging or for transferring data.
If you’d like to connect a USB-C device to an older computer or charger that has only USB-A ports, you’ll need a USB-C–to–USB-A cable. We limited our search to those that Nathan K. noted had passed his tests, and that also support at least USB 3.0 data speeds. (USB 2.0 is just too slow at this point.) This left us with a handful of cables, all of which passed our tests.
USB 3.Gen cables will offer faster transfer speeds than USB 3.0 cables such as the PowerLine (USB 3.0 is equivalent to USB 3.Gen 1)—the Gen standard promises data rates of up to Gbps, double those of Gen However, at this point very few devices support these kinds of speeds, so we don’t think most people need to spend the extra money on a Gen cable. If you can take advantage of those speeds or would like to future-proof, we recommend Google’s USB-C to USB-A Cable. It matches the charging rates we’d expect, and while we measured read speeds of 3.4Gbps and write speeds of 3.3Gbps on the USB 3.Gen Samsung T3, it’ll theoretically support faster speeds with faster devices. The build quality is also really nice: The cable is thinner than that of many other models, and the well-designed strain-relief collars should help prevent breakage over time. It even has a built-in plastic clip for keeping the cable coiled.
StarTech USB-C to DVI Cable
Full HD resolution and no need to buy a separate DVI cable.
We found only a handful of DVI adapters that claim to handle 1920×1080 resolution at 60 Hz, and the best among them is StarTech’s USB-C to DVI Cable. Unlike the other adapters we tested, this one doesn’t require a separate DVI cable: It has a USB-C plug on one end and a male DVI connector on the other. It’s available in both 3-foot and 6-foot lengths, so you can get the length that’s better for your needs. In our tests, the resolution and refresh rate were exactly as promised.
Anker’s Premium USB-C Hub (Ports) is more expensive than our HooToo pick and lacks the HooToo’s SD card slot.
Aukey’s CB-C2is inexpensive but especially large compared to the competition. Our testing also showed that one of the ports provided more power than the rest, which was strange and a bit concerning.
Accell’s U188B-006B USB-C to DisplayPort Cable, Plugable’s USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter Cable, and StarTech’s USB-C to DisplayPort Adapter Cable are identical to one another and work as well as our top pick—they just lack the clip that “locks” the DisplayPort plug in place. Don’t hesitate to get one of these if the price is particularly good or if our pick is out of stock.
Nathan K. has verified two other USB 3.Gen cables: the Anker USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable and the Anker PowerLine+ USB-C to USB 3.0 Cable. The former is more expensive than our pick with worse build quality, while the latter is about double the price of our pick. The braided cable of the PowerLine+ may be a bit sturdier than our pick’s, but we don’t think most people need to pay extra for the rugged design. The PowerLine+ did work well in our testing, if you happen to prefer its looks or want something that’s overbuilt.
What to look forward to
Kanex released a line of USB-C cables and adapters for MacBooks and MacBook Pros, as well as Windows laptops from HP and Dell. Among the accessories announced are a USB-C–to–HDMI adapter and a four-port USB charging hub with USB-C for MacBooks. We’ll check out Kanex’s USB-C adapters and cables as they become available.
HyperDrive is a Kickstarter-backed Thunderbolt USB-C hub that was designed specifically for the late-20113-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro models. The all-in-one hub uses both of a MacBook’s Thunderbolt USB-C connections and claims to offer 50 Gbps speed. HyperDrive has two USB-A 3.ports, an SD slot, a microSD slot, and HDMI, as well as two Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. We got our hands on a HyperDrive unit for testing at CES 2018, and we will update this guide soon with our thoughts.
Anker 10-Port USB 3.0 hub
The Anker 10-port hub has seven USB 3.0 data ports that offer transfer speeds of 5Gbps, so all your connections are super fast. Plus, it also has three dedicated ports for charging — all rated at 2.amps, which will keep your favorite devices charged.
Anker 3-Port hub with Ethernet
The wedge shape, brushed look, and lack of LEDs makes this device very low profile, and it can easily be hidden near the back of your desk or work area thanks to a USB cable that measures three feet. The ports are located on the sides and back of the hub, giving you the option to hide cable clutter.
Posts must be asking for advice, any other recommendation posts must be inside the Weekly Product Recommendation Thread.
The material design that comes with the different products affects their durability and elegance. With the modern design and product that comes with the USB C types, you will find that the designs are just excellent. Some come with polished aluminum while others come with other materials, but the key thing here is that you need to find the best product that looks attractive and at the same time the one that is durable enough to last you for years.
Ease of installation
Installation of the hub requires that you understand the logic. While some of the products are easy and simple to install some may come with other complexities that may give you some headache while trying to use the same. Therefore, you need to find the product that is easy to install just like the ones that we have on this list of which most come with the same feature.
Too low to display
Porsche isn’t a brand you’d typically associate with the dusty world of hard drive manufacturing. I’m not sure what they bring to the table, besides a globally recognizable brand, and the justification to charge almost twice as much as a competing drive.
That’s not to say there’s anything particularly bad about it. Reviews are positive, and it boasts the same ruggedly-German industrial design you’d expect on a Porsche Cayenne. It’s just unjustifiably expensive.
USB-C and USB 3.1
The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has defined the USB 3.Gen standard as meeting the same interface and data signaling rates as USB 3.0. So when you seen USB 3.Gen 1, it basically works at the same 5Gbps speeds as USB 3.0. USB 3.Gen refers to data signaling rates at 10Gbps, double that of USB 3.0, and matching the speeds of single-channel Thunderbolt.
USB C to HDMI
Also if you are in search of something chic and trendy, you can try the multiport adapter by Apple which is quite affordable. The USB-C hub from Apple has amazing output. One of them is an HDMI output whereas the other ones are USB 3.0 and USB-C output. The Multiport Adapter is not bad but you can surely add that to your list if you are searching for the best. The name adaptor is great but it is not a hub at all. It might not be as powerful as the rest but surely is helpful.
Anker Ultra Slim
Anker Ultra Slim can help the computers USB ports into four. It is easy to use, extremely affordable and has close to 5gbps data which allows you to transfer HD movies within a matter of seconds. It is also ultra portable and close to an ounce in weight. It is small, very easy to grab and use and can be used in a sturdy exterior. Apart from that, the product is heat resistant which ensures ultimate durability as well. It has a sturdy exterior which makes sure you get great durability.
Aukey USB is a solid aluminum body which comes with a rounded cylinder. It has a great compact design which makes it perfect for you as well as your MacBook 1inch along with Google Chromebook Pixel. It is very easy for carrying, has great protection and builds and can be used to connect to all devices including your hub and power surges. It has some great package contents at the same time with an aluminum hub and doesn’t need any driver at all.
HooToo USB C
The HooToo USB C comes with instant expansion and an SD memory card. It has a nice power delivery at the same time. If you are charging your laptop or transferring data, this is the one you need to use. It also has a 4K Video Adapter and has mirrors you can use to extend your screen. The USB 3.0 ports also allow you to connect to the keyboard, access files, thumb drive to your lappy etc. The design of the product is also good quite and lets you connect to all wireless devices.
The SD/microSD ports provide UHS-I 104MB/s, and there are two good old-fashioned USB 3.ports with 5Gb/s data speeds.
And one to avoid this week…
The Arkade. It’s a classic console plug-and-play, in the same vein as the Nintendo Classic Mini, but there’s one rather large caveat – it only comes preloaded with Christian games.
That’s right, every title is made by Christian game developer Wisdom Tree, previously behind smash hits like Super Noah’s Ark 3D for the SNES.
With names like Sunday Funday and Bible Adventures, they aim to instil bible teachings through interactive gameplay, which is fine if you like that kind of thing, but we’ll stick with Mario and Mega Man, thanks.
Dodocool 4-port USB 3.0 Hub
This USB-C adapter hub comes with four USB 3.0 ports. Each port can provide you with up to 5Gbps transfer speed, and itвЂ™s fully compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.devices. This hub also has a USB-C port for charging, so you can easily recharge your laptop while using this hub.
ChoeTech USB 3.Hub
If you have just one USB Type-C port, you might be interested in this hub. This hub works with USB Type-C devices and it adds three ports to your laptop. The hub has a single USB 3.0 port that offers 5Gbps transfer speed. Of course, this device is compatible with older USB 2.0 devices as well.
This hub also has a USB Type-C port that is used for charging, so you can charge your laptop even while using this hub. The hub also supports external displays thanks to the HDMI port. Using the HDMI port you can mirror the display from your laptop in 4K resolution to any external display.
Elago Aluminum USB-C Hub
If youвЂ™re looking for a simple USB-C adapter hub, Elago Aluminum USB-C Hub might be just what you need. This hub has two USB 3.0 ports that offer up to 5Gbps transfer speed. In addition, both USB ports are fully compatible with all USB devices. ThereвЂ™s also a USB Type-C port that is used for charging, so you can easily charge your laptop and all connected devices on the hub.
In addition to USB ports, the device also has card slots so it works as a card reader. Regarding the card slots, there are SD and microSD slots available. Elago Aluminum USB-C Hub offers decent features, and itвЂ™s perfect if you want to connect up to two USB devices to your laptop. The device has sleek design, so it will look perfect next to your laptop. Unfortunately, the device doesnвЂ™t have an HDMI port so you canвЂ™t use it with external displays.
Hyper Sanho HyperDrive
If youвЂ™re looking for a simple USB-C adapter hub, Hyper Sanho HyperDrive might be just what you need. This drive has two USB 3.0 ports, so you can attach any USB device to your laptop. In addition to two USB ports, the device has USB Type-C port that supports pass through charging so you can charge your laptop while using the hub.
Additional features include SDXC and microSDXC card slots. The device comes with brushed aluminum casing and it looks quite sleek. The hubВ doesnвЂ™t have an HDMI port, which can be a flaw for some users. ItвЂ™s also worth mentioning that this hub connects directly to your laptop, so it doesnвЂ™t come with a special cable, which can be a problem if you want to connect this device to your desktop PC.
AUKEY USB-C Hub
Unlike previous USB-C adapter hubs, this one is compatible with older devices. This hub has four USB 3.0 ports that you can use to connect various USB devices. Each port has transfer speed up to 5Gbps and itвЂ™s compatible with USB 2.0 and USB 1.devices. Regarding USB ports, thereвЂ™s also a USB Type-C charging port, so you can recharge your laptop while using this device.
Unlike other devices on our list that have an HDMI port, this device has a VGA port. Using this port you can connect your laptop to any older display that has an old VGA port. The VGA port offers resolution up to 1080p.
Anker USB-C to 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub
Another simple USB-C adapter hub for your PC is Anker USB-C to 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub. This hub has three USB 3.0 ports that offer Gbps transfer speed. Of course, all USB 3.0 ports are fully compatible with older USB 2.0 devices.
In addition to USB 3.0 ports, this device also has an Ethernet port that can be useful if your laptop doesnвЂ™t have a built-in Ethernet port. The device has sleek aluminum design, and itвЂ™s rather compact, so you can easily carry it with you. ItвЂ™s worth mentioning that this device doesnвЂ™t have a USB-C port for charging, so you canвЂ™t charge your laptop while using this USB hub.
This device is great if you have multiple USB-C hubs on your laptop and if you lack an Ethernet port. Regarding the price, you can get this device for 29.99.
Aukey USB-C Hub with USB 3.0 ports
This is another simplistic USB-C adapter hub. The hub doesnвЂ™t have any advanced features, and it only offers four USB 3.0 ports. Each port can provide up to 5Gbps transfer speed and it will allow you to attach any USB device to it.
Back around 1993, I had the exciting combination of a PowerBook 2with a Duo MiniDock. It only had one port—not even a headphone jack—but an innovative docking connector meant I could hook it into a full-fledged desktop setup with an external monitor, hard drives, and network.
I flashed back to this experience when I unpacked and started to test the new USB-C Dock from OWC, designed to work with the 12-inch Apple MacBook introduced almost a year ago. It’s true, compared tot he PowerBook 210, networking speeds are more than 4,000 times faster (gigabit ethernet versus AppleTalk), the MacBook has 2,000 times more RAM, and the hard drive I picked (512GB SSD) has over 6,000 times the capacity. But it’s remarkable how much the purpose and even the rough size has remained the same.
When you use this to charge other Apple devices, your devices will charge faster. For example, iPhones will charge twice as fast (their maximum) as they do when they use their supplied 5-watt adaptor. Though you’ll need a dongle… and a Lightning cable.
What’s important is to note that the dongles you end up needing are USB-C class devices that will work with any USB-C class device, not just Macs. You can use the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS-II Card USB-C Reader dongle for your Mac as a card reading interface for any USB-C device, including some Android phones.
Your Mac is now a battery
As this Medium post points out, you can use USB-C on your Mac to charge the battery on another computer that supports USB-C. You can also power and use an external hard drive without plugging that external drive into power. The Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pros can power two devices that use up to 1watts, and two more devices that use up to 7.watts.
The USB-C MacBook Pro ports are fast. Using USB-C cables with Thunderbolt support built in with peripherals that also support Thunderbolt means you’ll get data transfers at up to 40Gbps (on cables up to 0.5m), or 10Gbps for USB-C peripherals. (NB: Thunderbolt supports both active and passive modes for longer cables with speeds of 40Gbps and 20Gbps respectively).
Cables aren’t just cables
One thing is worth thinking about: These cables (particularly dongles) are very smart. The Thunderbolt to HDMI adaptor has its own processor, GPU, and RAM inside. This increased sophistication means you can do more, faster, but you also want to make sure the cables you use are kept secure.
Female USB-A to Male USB-C
The first thing you should buy — and you should probably buy in bulk — is a dongle that converts a USB-A cord into a USB-C one. USB-A is the port style you think of as USB. Its rectangular and ubiquitous. Your keyboard, mouse, thumb drives and weird wireless adaptors all use USB-A. If you get a female USB-A to male USB-C cord than you can keep on using most of the peripherals and random phone chargers you already own.
We’re here to help
Audio cables can seem like a simple thing in concept, until you set out to buy one and realize you didn’t know how much you didn’t know. Although they may be the least exciting components in your stage rig or studio setup, they are some of the most important.
So here is what you need to know, in plain English, to make sure you’re getting the best cable for your gear and your purpose.
Mic cables are shielded and balanced and typically have an XLR male connector on one end and an XLR female connector on the other. Some microphone cables have a TRS, mini plug,or USB connector on the delivery end for plugging directly into a computer sound card, DAW, or digital recording device. In addition to connecting a microphone to a sound system, mic cables are often used as longer, balanced patch cables—for example connecting a mixing board to powered speakers. They can also be used for D.I. connections between an instrument and a mixing console as well as for lighting effects with DMX control capabilities.
Top pro studios rate Mogami Gold Neglex Quad Mic Cables highly for accuracy, quietness and tough construction.
Browse the entire Musician’s Friend assortment of microphone cables.
The Livewire Elite Speakon Cable offers a secure connection, twist- and tangle-resistant design, and high-quality conductors that keep your signal noise-free.
XLR connectors have three pins for the positive, negative, and ground. They are most commonly used on microphone cables, but you will also see them used on balanced patch cables and with DMX-enabled lighting equipment.
The Monster Cable Studio Pro 2000 XLR Microphone cable uses Time Correct technology for the ultimate in detail and soundstage imaging.
Digital Audio Connectors
Below are some of the most common digital audio cables and connectors required for linking digital mixers, recorders, preamps, and DAWs (digital audio workstations).
A word of caution: In many cases, digital gear uses cables that resemble their analog XLR or RCA counterparts. While these connectors may look the same, the cables are often designed for different resistances, and are not interchangeable with their analog look-alikes.
Browse Musician’s Friend’s entire selection of digital cables and connectors.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface cables allow electronic instruments to communicate with peripheral devices. They don’t transmit actual audio, but by signaling every aspect of a musical performance—the note, how long it is held, the velocity of the attack, etc.—MIDI technology defines the sound in the receiving module.
MIDI cables can also communicate control functions to software and synthesizers, so you can control sound and tones with a remote control surface.
The Rocktron RMM900 Cable carries MIDI commands from a footcontroller to any MIDI-compatible gear via a 7-pin MIDI jack.
USB (Universal Serial Bus) cables have become standard for connecting everything from printers to digital audio gear. USB cables have Type A, Type B, Mini-A, Micro-A, Mini-B, Micro-B, or Type C connectors at one end, and a device-specific connector at the other. USB cables can also be used as a power source for some devices. The latest version, USB 3.0, is significantly faster than USB 2.0 and can make a difference in minimizing lag during performances and studio playback of complex material.
For critical audio applications such as recording and DJ work, a premium-quality connector like the Oyaide Neo d+ Series Class B USB Cable ensures stable performance.
There are three types of FireWire connectors: 4-pin, 6-pin and 9-pin. The 4-pin connector, or FW400, transfers data at 400 Mbps (megabytes per second). The slightly larger 6-pin connector has the same transfer rate, but also supplies DC power. The 9-pin connector, or FW800, transfers data twice as fast and also supplies power.
The METRIC HALO Firewire Cable has a standard 6-pin connector on each end, so it can transfer data and also supply power.
Optical Cables and Connectors
Optical cables transmit digital audio as pulses of light, which make them almost completely immune to interference. They are surround-sound capable, but can’t handle higher-resolution formats such as those on Blu-Ray discs.
The Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format (S/PDIF) outputs audio over shorter distances. These connectors use either optical or coaxial cables. Coaxial cables are similar in quality to optical cables, but less common. They use RCA connectors, but these cables are not interchangeable with analog RCA cables.
Bayonet Neill-Concelman connectors were originally designed for military use, but are now commonly used on video and audio testing equipment. The bayonet-style connector is used with miniature and subminiature coaxial cables in radio-frequency equipment and video gear.
This Hosa RG 5Cable has a male BNC connector on each end for video or Ethernet connections.
The Tascam Digital Interconnect Format is an unbalanced proprietary format connector that sends and/or receives up to eight channels of digital audio. The bidirectional connection means that only one cable is required to connect the eight ins and outs of one compatible device to another.
All audio cables with the exception of speaker wires and optical cables are shielded to protect the signal from interference that causes noise. The shielding is most often a wire braid that surrounds the insulator for the center conductor(s). The purpose of shielding is to protect the signal from sources of noise, such as radio transmissions, AC power cords, fluorescent lighting, rheostat dimmers, and some appliances. When you hear radio chatter through your amp, it usually means that the shielding around your amp’s gain components is inadequate, but your instrument cable’s shielding can also be the problem. Good shielding blocks interference and also may serve as a ground.
The most common is the braided shield. Small wire strands are braided to form a sheath around the insulation of the signal-conducting wire. This type of shielding is flexible and durable. Onstage mic and instrument cables are constantly being bent, pulled, and stepped on, and braided shielding holds up best under these conditions.
Serve or Spiral-Wrapped Shield
Another type of shielding is the spiral-wrapped or serve shield. This sheath is formed by wrapping a flat strip of wire strands around the center wires in a spiral. The serve shield, while it lacks the tensile strength of a braided shield, is more flexible than a braided shield because it stretches when the cable is bent. It is less resistant to radio frequency (RF) interference, because it is actually a coil and has inductance. It is also easier to manufacture so cables using serve shielding are usually less expensive.
The foil shield is a Mylar-backed aluminum tube that terminates at a copper drain wire. It provides 100% coverage, but since aluminum is a poor conductor of electricity, it also interferes with signal transfer. Foil shielding is inexpensive and easy to make, but it is also fragile and breaks down easily with repeated flexing. It is best used in small patch cables and stereo cables that don’t move much once they are connected.
Snakes are essentially bundled sets of cables. Stage snakes may contain microphone, patch, or speaker cables and are used for two-way connection between the stage and mixers and other PA equipment. They have a fan of connectors on one end, and a box on the stage end that houses a panel of connectors. In shopping for a snake, the length and the type of connections are the main considerations. There are also audio snakes for studios that bundle various cables needed for connecting studio components.
Very ruggedly built with Neutrik D connectors and serious strain relief on all cables, the Pro Co StageMASTER 12-Channel Snake has 1sends and returns.
Explore the complete selection of audio cable snakes at Musician’s Friend.
The 4-port USB 3.0 hub lets you connect both USB-C™ and USB-A peripherals to your laptop or Chromebook™, through a single USB Type-C™ or Thunderbolt™ 3 port.
The hub is ideal for virtually all USB-C equipped laptops, such as the Dell™ Latitude 15000 2-in-1, and the Dell XPS 12.
Get ready for USB-C
This USB 3.Gen hub lets you expand your USB connection options using the USB-C port on your computer. It offers one USB-C and three USB-A ports, letting you connect traditional USB devices now, while still being able to connect the growing number of USB Type-C devices in the future.
The integrated, easy-to-use USB Type-C connector is small and reversible, which makes for easier insertions. You can connect the plug with either side facing up, which means less risk of damaging your ports, and less frustration.
Save money and time
Avoid the nuisance and cost of purchasing new peripherals by using this USB 3.0 hub with your current USB 3.0 and 2.0 devices. The bus-powered hub installs in seconds with no additional drivers or software required, and it’s compatible with virtually all operating systems.
Anker USB 3.0 7-port Hub
We have the first USB hub from Anker, at an affordable pricing range. As the name says, there are seven USB ports in this hub and it needs external DC power to provide best performance. So, you get a USB connector as well as one DC power adaptor when you purchase the hub. Out of the seven ports, the seventh one has been optimized for charging your devices, such as Smartphones. This single port can deliver BC 1.charging power up to 1.Amps. This is quite a useful feature in the current scenario. Anker USB 3.0 7-port Hub is powered by plug-and-play concept and there is no need of driver installations. It’s a USB 3.0 USB hub and you can get a maximum transfer rate of 5Gbps. The design of the hub is compact and convenient for home user — a power connection is must, to be noted.
ZeroLemon Port USB 3.0 Hub
This USB hub is for those who have a lot of devices connected to their PCs! There are USB ports for data transfer, while the eleventh port can be used dedicatedly for charging purpose. It’s so because the charging port has output of 2.1A, which is good-enough for quick-charging of your Smartphones and such devices. The noticeable aspect about this hub is that you have ports left even when you’re charging a device. Another highlight of ZeroLemon Port USB 3.0 Hub is the power switches you would find on top. A switch is meant to control three ports, and there is LED indicator for each USB port. Nine ports are on top and the rest two are on the sides of the devices. The package does come with a DC power adaptor. We bet, it’s just awesome for home use, not only due to its compactness but also the productive features.
Anker AH24USB 3.0 Aluminum 13-Port Hub
We’d added one USB hub from Anker already, and this is an optimal variant when you need a lot of ports. This one is having 13 USB ports for data and power connectivity, along with a dedicated charging port. This dedicated port can give an output of 5V 2.1A, which is truly impressive when it comes to charging purposes. Made of industry grade aluminum and commendable chipset, you don’t have to doubt the performance and durability of this hub. There are two other ports as well — the USB 3.0 port and the DC input port. On the other side, you’d find a power button that can be used for turning on or turning off the hub. It also has individual LED indicators for each USB port, and you can know if there’s a data transfer process taking place.
Ukonnect Aluminum Port USB 3.0 Hub
We have another rectangle-shaped USB hub you can choose — namely Ukonnect Aluminum Port USB 3.0 Hub! It’s one of the most affordable USB 3.0 hubs you are going to get, not to mention the quality. As the name says, you get four USB ports, each of which has a LED indicator as well. However, the maximum output of each port is limited to 900mA, which means that the USB hub isn’t that good when it comes to charging purposes. Despite all these, it’s one worth buying solution for the price you got to pay.
HooToo Port USB 3.0 Hub
The last USB hub in our list is HooToo Port USB 3.0 Hub, which is perhaps the best USB Hub you would get if you’re ready to spend a bit more. This compact hub is recommended by not only common users but also experts of industry and its features are also impressive. Apart from the seven Super Speed USB 3.0 ports you get, there are two ports that have been dedicated for charging purposes. The smart charging ports have an output of 5V, and two devices can be charged at a time. We repeat, HooToo Port USB 3.0 Hub is an awesome choice when you have medium budget but need high-quality, uncompromised and reliable USB hub for your home or small business needs.
One of the most confusing things for many people when it comes to working out which power bank they should buy is figuring out how fast it is, or rather how fast it should be.
Confusingly, the term ‘fast-charging’ is thrown around a lot within marketing, and it doesn’t really mean anything. The minimum you’ll see is 5W, and we would not recommend this. Although some phones are still sold with 5W chargers, most devices will accept more than this.
In our view anything below 10W should be considered standard (read slow), and anything above 10W fast. Then you also have various Quick Charge standards – all of which are backward-compatible – which will get you up to 18W, but only on compatible devices.
If it’s a high-capacity power bank then you should look for ‘fast-charging’ inputs as well as outputs. Do bear in mind, though, that in order to refill a power bank at 18W you will need a mains adaptor that is capable of delivering 18W to it.
The input rating is key when it comes to recharging the bank – the higher is this figure the more quickly it will charge. You’ll see a figure in Amps, and you multiply this number by the voltage (5V for USB) to find the rating in Watts.
You can use any output to charge any USB device – it will draw only the power it needs.
If a power bank has several outputs the maximum total output capacity is key, since it may not be able to simultaneously support each at full power.
Knog’s new PWR is the Swiss Army Knife of powerbanks
A USB computer microscope is also simply known as a computer microscope or a computer-connected microscope.
Using CMOS sensors, it is a microscope that plugs into a USB port on a computer or television.
Instead of looking through an eyepiece, the viewer then examines the specimen via the computer’s monitor or the television screen. It’s essentially a webcam with a macro lens.
Many of these microscopes depend on ambient lighting, but some do come with built-in illumination.
Basically, the USB computer microscope’s lens can touch an object to see it magnified or can be used to view objects at a short distance. This allows objects to be in different states-like wet or moving.
For example, you might enjoy looking at an inanimate object like a document or coin but you can also magnify human body parts or moving insects.
How to Use a USB Computer Microscope
If the viewer is using the microscope with a computer, they may need to begin by loading the device’s software.
Plug the device into any open USB port on the computer or the television.
Hold the microscope and lightly touch the lens to the specimen. The image should now be visible on the monitor or television screen. These microscopes should only be used to examine dry specimens. Any liquids should be examined though distance viewing.
Depending on the microscope, there may be focusing capabilities on the microscope, via the computer program or both. If it’s on the microscope, simply turn the focus wheel until the desired focus is found.
Focusing in the programming may include options to adjust the brightness or the contrast of an image. Some microscopes may come with an auto-focus feature, though this can often be disabled if the auto-focus image is unsatisfactory.
Note: If the viewer is using their television to view the image, they will most likely only be able to adjust the image if their microscope comes with a focus wheel.
If the viewer wishes to grab an image, there should be a “capture” icon on the screen. If the microscope takes video images, there may also be a “record” icon.
Once an image or a video has been collected, click the “save” icon to save the image or video. Note: If the viewer is using their television, they will most likely be unable to save the images.
Celestron Infiniview LCD digital microscope
Veho VMS-00Deluxe USB Powered Microscope – another handy device that has remained popular. Comparing the magnification of any handheld device to a traditional compound microscope is futile but for many hobbies and teaching environments this is perfect and at a generous price for good quality.
ViTiny UM0Handheld USB Digital Autofocus Microscope
TENKEYLESS MODELS. A recent trend has been toward “tenkeyless” or TKL models in a vendor’s line. These are shorter versions of a keyboard without a numeric keypad, meant mainly for gamers. TKL keyboards save space on the desktop and allow for your hands to be held closer together during gameplay. They also save the keyboard maker money (fewer of the pricey mechanical switches are needed!), and they therefore tend to be a bit cheaper, all else being equal. A TKL board is a matter of personal preference, but make sure you don’t buy one in error if that’s not exactly what you want.
Cooler Master QuickFire Rapid-i, a “tenkeyless” board.
DEDICATED SHORTCUT KEYS. These, again, are found in keyboards meant primarily for gamers. They tend to be fewer in number than on non-mechanical gaming keyboards. Also note that not all mechanical gaming keyboards use mechanical switches under every key. Shortcut or media keys tend to be the ones that don’t, if there’s a mixture.
GAMING SOFTWARE (OR NOT). As you’d expect, you’ll tend to find a dedicated macro/profile utility in gaming-focused boards, but not all gaming keyboards come with one. Logitech, Corsair, and Razer, among others, tend to include their own “overlay” utilities that can govern shortcuts, macros, game-profile settings, and lighting schemes across your whole game collection. The functionality can get quite sophisticated.
You’ll want to look at our individual reviews for details on what’s programmable and what’s not in a given keyboard’s software. Gaming-keyboard models that are more basic may lack any such software and leave you to rely only on the key-shortcut settings within each game, but that is sufficient for many players. Other models may lack a software utility but implement basic macro-recording and -playback functionality purely in hardware.
Macro creation in the Logitech Gaming Software
Which kind is best for you is your call, depending on how serious your gaming is. The models with the dedicated software utilities tend to be the most sophisticated and pricey, all else being equal. The main utilities from the major makers are Logitech’s Gaming Software, Razer’s Synapse and Chroma (the latter governs key backlighting and LED bling), and Corsair’s Utility Engine, or CUE (which was recently given a rework with the rollout of the aforementioned K9RGB Platinum.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your usb hub wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of usb hub
- №1 — Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Ultra Slim Data Hub for Macbook
- №2 — AmazonBasics 4-Port USB 2.0 Ultra-Mini Hub
- №3 — Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Ultra Slim Data Hub for Macbook