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.