Review – Sabrent USB 8-Port Hub

I use a lot of different pieces of technical gear in my day-to-day life. The main computer I personally use is a Mac, but I own and use several PCs, and my family and work computers are also of the Windows variety. I work with video and need lots of hard drive space, and for my art I have a USB lightbox and a Wacom tablet. All of this different interfacing requires a lot of USB ports to keep up with all the various flash drives, accessories, and power sources. Having a good USB hub is almost essential, and the Sabrent 8-Port Aluminum USB hub is designed specifically to match the aesthetics of Macs.


The hub itself is a slopped, elongated piece of aluminum. On the bottom it’s got a bit of a rubbery material to prevent it from sliding. On the right side, there is a wire to conntect to one’s computer and on the face there are 8 USB ports that are lined with a white, Apple-esque plastic. No other details on the device are functional, but the shiny circle on either side looks fine, if unnecessary, and the white plastic goes well with the aluminum.


The device does need to be plugged into 2 ports to be operational, meaning it doesn’t raise the number of devices that can be plugged in by quite as much. The cable that is hard-wired into the device splits at a slightly intrusive, but not as bad as it could be box, and ends in two standard USB plugs. The ports on the device work quite well, and the response speed of devices plugged into it does not seem to be slowed on the user’s end. It is incapable of charging larger devices (which I don’t have, but something like an iPad won’t work). With the ports being on the front facing upward, anything that has a built-in USB plug will need to be plugged into an extension cable. Everything that does plug in will also take up a bit more vertical space than one might be used to, so it’s not really welcome on small desks.

The spacing between the ports is superb, and it will fit most common devices and flash drives comfortably next to each other. The fact that they are pointing more into the air and less parallel to the desk surface also makes them easier to identify and grab ahold of to be removed. There are no indicator lights on the entire thing, so it doesn’t become and eyesore, but the only way to see if it’s getting power is to use it. Some of the design aspects make the overall device a bit large and more cumbersome than other hubs, but it fits in well with most Apple products, and requires less fiddling.

It handles multiple inputs well; using a peripheral and several storage devices simultaneously is not a problem. I’ve not had it heat up or have any signal issues. Granted I haven’t used it for years on end or hit it with a hammer to see if it keeps going, but I have used it for long enough to say it works.

In the end it’s almost perfect for me. I don’t mind it being a bit larger since I need the extra space to plug in and remove flash drives, and being able to run more than two peripherals at a time without having to swap ports is amazing. My previous hubs either had the most annoying lights in the world, or were the portable kind where they never liked to say in place. The rubber on the bottom really helps in keeping this where I put it when adding or removing devices. I’m okay with the looks even though I’m not crazy about them. And having the space for several drives to be right next to each other without bending each other in different directions is quite the concept. The only problem I have with it is the fact that it takes up both of the ports on the Macbook. Not that I really use the extra port, but I get the feeling someday in the future that will bite me. But until then I will happily be using this hub.

Review – Casio Label-it KL-60

What? How can I review a label maker? It makes labels. If it doesn’t, it’s not a good one, right? Pretty much. And with that being said, let’s take a quick look at the Casio Label-It KL-60 label maker.


The device itself is a relatively small, but certainly not pocket-sized, boxy shape. But it’s that rounded off type of boxy that makes it hard to store in many places. The keyboard is scrunched in the center of the device with a lot of room around it that I think would have been better used by a larger keyboard. The screen also has conspicuously little space. It’s one of the tiny, split-pixel LCD screens that aren’t very good but will generally last forever. It only displays about 4 characters at a time but it gets the job done. The very prominent cutter button is easy to find and depress, as well.


Batteries and tapes go in the back. The batteries last for a while, but not too long, and the tapes are fairly easy to install, though I would recommend using the instructions. The keyboard is hard to use because of its size, but everything is clearly labeled. And the UI, while confusing on first use, gets easier to understand when one understands the limits of the hardware. The character selection is nice and the screen is easy to read. Printing and peeling the labels takes longer than I would like it to, but I think that’s just larger printers giving me unrealistic expectations. The device comes with a black-on-clear tape, which sticks to a lot of things but not nearly as many things as the black-on-white tape, for some reason, and that’s the style I would recommend. The letters are blocky but readable and small enough that at average reading distance they don’t look unattractive.

Is it a good labeler? Yes. It works. It has a few quirks but it gets the job done and if one wants an easy way to label many (not slick) items I’d recommend one over a printer. It has the same limitation most other labelmakers do, with maybe a bit more restrictions in the font category, but it’s much quicker and more fun to use. If you have a lot of things to label I’d look into this or a similar model to get it done. They’re less gimmicky than they look.

Review – Monster DNA Headphones

I’m not a real headphone kind of guy. All of my on-ear phones are gifts, like the one I’m reviewing. And all of my earbuds break super fast so I just get the cheapest I can find. But I already have the Monster DNA headphones, so I thought I’d give them a review.


The have a compact and sleek design. I’m not really a fan of the overall looks, but they function well enough. The head strap (? What do you call that?) is flexible and quite comfortable, with a bit of rubber on the interior to prevent the uncomfortableness of straight plastic-to-hair contact. Each side is capable of receiving input from a standard audio cord. They also fold up, which I find unnecessary and silly. Each side is adjustable, to allow the headphones to better fit the head, and I find that the various positions they click into are at short enough intervals that the majority of people will be able to find a comfortable position for themselves. They come with two audio cables: one standard aux cord, and another with a 90-degree bend for devices. The device cord also has controls for volume, and the pause/skip forward or back button.


The performance is great. The bass is clear and the cushions around the edges conform to one’s ear allowing one to listen with fewer outside distractions. Many even slight sounds can be picked up but the main parts of the music (or whatever audio is being listened to) isn’t interrupted or detracted from. The cables are sturdy and hold in the devices well, and the buttons are well constructed.

Overall I’m happy with them. They were a great gift, and are my primary, non-travel headphones. Not to say I haven’t traveled with them: they can become very compact and are quite sturdy for traveling purposes. And they’re just nice headphones. They’re all I, a standard music and entertainment enjoyer, will ever need out of headphones. I know there are likely better ones, but I’d still give these a shot.

Review – GTC Earbuds

In my recent quest for the least expensive headphones I can get away with using, I found the GTC basic earbuds. This review will be quite short as all I have to say is these buds were $2.50 and for the price they aren’t bad. They don’t give out good sound, but it’s definitely above ear-bleedingly bad; the package talks about them having “more bass”, which is there, if you compare it to no bass. The noise reduction they claim is about the same as any other earbud I’ve worn as well. But the point is they are so cheap that just working is an accomplishment. I’ve used them for a while and they haven’t broken, and I tear through earbuds, so that’s a good thing. If they last as long as my inexpensive Skullcandy pairs, for a quarter of the price, then I’ll definitely consider that a win. They are relatively comfortable, deliver relatively good sound, are relatively sturdy, and only a few bucks. If you really like high quality music I’d stay as far away as possible. But if you break earbud cables with any frequency, and aren’t listening in the best environments I’d give them a look.