How to choose the best USB hub
I’ve been asked by a friend of mine to help him find the best USB hub for his needs. With this occasion i started to write a guide for anyone else who might be looking to do the same thing. I’ve found out that this is not so simple operation as you might think. There are many producers of USB hubs with a lot of models to choose from, and of course, many discrepancies.
Ok, got it, but what is a USB hub and how this can help me?
As you know many computers come with a decent amount of USB ports (4 to 8 mostly), but the need of a USB port has grown. There are many devices like keyboard, mouse, card readers, printers, scanners, charging cables for iPad, phone, tablets, and so on who use the USB port which can put the user in the position to run out of free USB ports. This can lead to frustrating decisions of unplugging something to plug some other device.
Well, what choice do I have?
There are two general types of USB hubs available on market, powered (separately) and unpowered. The powered types come with cables and don’t draws power from the host computer via the USB bus/port it is connected to. There are some uncommon USB hubs that are powered dynamic and feature a circuit which can detect if the hub is currently bus-powered or has been hooked up to a transformer to become self-powered and will adjust itself accordingly. Personally I recommend buying the powered types, unless of course, the ultra-mobility is critical.
If you use the USB port frequently for charging some power monsters like iPad or a smartphone, make sure your new device comes with charging ports. The standard computer USB power is limited to 500 mA. That seems to be enough for standard computer devices connected. Premium USB hubs include non-data ports specially crafted for charging devices.
Avoid using the old types of USB hubs to avoid the data speed bottlenecks. You should buy only the certified USB 3.0 USB hub, so you can have a scalable solution for at least 2-3 years.
One more thing: you have to take care of the port orientation on the hub for an easier accessibility. Using these guidelines you can choose your next USB hub which can fit your needs.