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.

I Think Apple’s Still Going Down

I’ve had some time to study the Iphone 6 since its release, and some time to think about the Apple Watch since its announcement. I’ve put a lot of faith in Apple products since 2009 when I bought my MacBook and Ipod. Later I also got an Iphone. But now, to me, it seems that my prediction of Apple slowly going downhill post-Jobs is proving to be true.

I don’t have too much to say about the Apple Watch, other than that I won’t be buying one, ever. I’m not going to say that it’s a bad product, but in my opinion it’s poorly conceived. And I don’t want to charge another thing at night, I already kick myself when I use my phone too much to avoid having to charge it daily.

I will say that, on the new Macs, I’m glad they do still have USB and didn’t switch to Thunderbolt entirely like I originally thought (I don’t really listen to too much tech news). Other than that, I’m not the most pleased with their operating system, but that is really beside the point. And the OS is far from their worst failing, though it does add to the general slip in quality of their company as a whole.

My real problem comes with the Iphone. iOS has been going downhill for quite some time, in my opinion. I haven’t upgraded for a while, but that’s just because of my general dislike of upgrades. I see the new layouts and design choices, how everything fits together perfectly and I see a lack of character. The older app icons had character that these new ones lack. But as long as it functions, that doesn’t matter. And from what I’ve seen, the new app versions function exactly the same as, or worse than, my characterized versions. So I still like the older ones. And the sleek design is really off-putting. I tend to think more of us being controlled by devices like these and not being in control of them, a point that it seems was stressed before and has now been forgotten. The man who was to hold your hand through the friendly tech renaissance is no longer there, and neither is the friendly.

But to the new iPhone. I have a 4s, which I consider at this moment to be the last good iPhone. I love the design, aesthetically, ergonomically, etc. I think it is wonderful. The 5 is fine, and the 5s and 5c are both steps down. And the 6 is even worse (though, if you’re really counting, it should be the iPhone 8 or 9). First off, in my opinion, it looks ugly, which isn’t the biggest deal, the iPhone 4 looks kinda ugly, and indeed so do most cell phones, but at least the 4 looked rugged and classic. This new one just looks too rounded and thin, it’s like a toy. “Oh, your hurt yourself on the last phone, well here’s one that suits you better, Billy.” It’s kinda like Apple’s talking down to you.

The 6+ is even worse. I couldn’t possibly use it, it’s so large, and the thin, toy-ish-ness of it would make it easier to drop than to hold. I know that some people have a use for larger, thinner phones, but as I already try to cram my pockets, satchel, and backpack full of everything I might need, a few extra centimeters goes a long way toward making something uncomfortable. I’ve already combined my wallet and phone and still don’t have enough space in which to put things.

There’s also the bending problem, which isn’t really a problem as it requires one to put quite a bit of force on a specific point. The fact is that the new phones are much less durable than the old ones, which anyone can tell you is caused by their being thinner. Unless they made it out of titanium instead of aluminum, I don’t know how one could expect better performance, really. I just don’t want a bent phone. You’d think Apple would’ve tested that or maybe they just said, “Okay guys, we have this several thousand dollar prototype, no one sit on it” and the first day of purchasing someone says “I have this new several hundred dollar phone, let me sit on it!”

I can’t understand sitting on any phone. How in the world could you ever find that comfortable and/or not think it would break it in some way? I think the flaw is with both parties there.

I’m not going to be upgrading my iOS either, as I don’t want to see horrendous drops in the speed of use which may or may not be for malicious reasons. It is meant for better hardware, I wouldn’t expect windows 10 to run on most XP machines. As I said, I don’t like the graphic design, which is weird for me. I guess I just want more hard edges. YouTube moved away from hard edges some time ago and I still don’t like the way it looks now. It’s like it’s trying to stop me from hurting my eyes with the sharpness. And the new iOS has a lot of what seems to be semi-transparent features, like they’re ashamed and trying to hide. I’m not a fan, and I don’t think it functions better.

Now, I said at one point that the end of Apple would be the iPhone 5c with its silly plastic construction and vibrant colors. It looked like a toy, not like the serious and classy items Apple had made in the past three-quarters of a decade. After progressing past the kidlike original iMacs, they’re going back, and losing their exclusivity and image.

In a world with the Windows operating system and linux, Apple can’t sell to the bottom or the top of the market. Windows and android are too flexible and can outcompete them. Who’s going to buy a five-hundred-dollar or more phone when the “c” version’ll come out in a year and look the same for a few hundred less. In the top market people like exclusivity. It doesn’t just matter if it functions better: they also want it to look better. They want people to perceive it as better. And when your thousands-of-dollars gold Apple Watch looks the same as the several hundred dollar one that is spray painted by some kid, you might feel a little cheated. You got rich to get something better. It has to be designed exclusively from the ground up for you.

And at the bottom of the market Android and Windows really rule. You can make any crappy piece of hardware run those, or some open-source OS, and tinker with it to your heart’s content. Apple can’t make it cheap enough to grab the people on the really low end, nor can they make it open enough to appeal to tinkerers. In my opinion, Apple’s losing its core market with nowhere to go.

Now I do hope that isn’t entirely true. I like the modern Apple. And don’t think I hate Apple now or think they’re useless or terrible. I just think they’re making some bad decisions that are leading it downhill. I don’t want to see Apple fail, and I’m worried that it’s heading that way. But only time will tell.