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Before I bought my Macbook in 2007, my whole life and most of my product reviews rested on the large memory capacity of my trusty Toshiba Tecra PC laptop. When I look at it now however, compared to many other more modern laptops on the market, I don't regard it as being old fashioned, but rather timeless and still quite capable of giving me top word processing performance as well as general duties. Compared to the ultra-thin gap quality and design of my Macbook however, the Toshiba still sports three 2.0 USB points than the Apple's closely located 2 USB ports and the Toshiba's location of them on either side of the laptop means I could easily design additional peripheral accessories around the Toshiba, unlike the Apple. But, my experience of the Belkin 4 port 2.0 USB hub goes further back than that! It was purchased far earlier in 2003 to assist me for better versatile use with my elderly Evesham desk top computer and likewise tower that had low speed 1.0 USB ports and two 1.1 USB ports - fairly old by today's standards! The beauty of the Belkin then was that the product could be used on 1.1 USB ports and upwards - and suddenly I got more out of my Evesham when at a period of time, peripherals like USB mice and likewise devices began to filter the market pushing the lead towards high speed 2.0 capability. Those with the slower, low speed 1.1 ports pushed desktop owners like me to either upgrade their whole computer or fit higher ports on computers with 2.0 upgrade facility cards or be rescued by the time saving appeal of the Belkin without nothing other to fit than the USB cable from hub to computer.
Back in 2003 when I purchased the Belkin 4 port, it cost me £35 from Maplin stores, not knowing then that companies like Maplin applied some surcharge to the price and at the time the Belkin 4 port had arrived on Amazon.co.uk with similar prices, if not slightly cheaper. Back then as I recall, there were only a handful of suppliers on the high street able to stock this kind of product, with the only cheaper alternative being a mock USB bank of 4 ports available from private dealers, now funnily enough appearing in Pound Land, almost 10 years later. The difference with those kind of banks (I bought one, it was next to useless) is that although the cheaper 4 port banks with a single USB cord permanently attached is supposed to give you USB accessibility, they don't often work with high powered equipment. If you are the kind of computer owner who requires a lot of USB dependent devices and extra USB slots, the Belkin 4 port hub is a worthy companion and by today's cost (2012) prices are dirt cheap ranging from £7 to £12 online.
My Belkin 4 port hub looks like a little black oval purse. It has 4 USB single ports on one side and to the right hand side, a single connector Jack for the mains cord adaptor that you get. Now, if like me you have friends who are PC geeks, over time if the adaptor gets lost, you can buy use any adaptor with this Belkin 4 port USB hub, but make sure that it rates at 5Volts/2.6 Amps that the cord needs to have - Belkin have already gone to the trouble of helpfully writing this on right next to the jack on the main body of the hub. The cord however is not your usual standard USB hub to computer lead either, but rather a small 2" micro plug similar to a compact camera that connects the cord from the hub to a standard USB slot plug for any computer with a universal USB slot. The mains power adaptor similarly uses a micro single jack as opposed to the bigger single jacks that most adapters come with.
Where the design is concerned, the Belkin 4 port hub looks quite basic, but not old fashioned, rather timeless but good to hold and very easy to slide into your pocket or laptop bag. It is actually well made with its double rubber perimeter bumper that protects the main thick plastic body and a smaller circular bumper underneath that actually allows another hub to stack and lock on top but in reverse. It also looks like it is black in colour here on Dooyoo. However, in use it actually has a dark frosted blue panel in which the internals can just be seen through the plastic and when activated/plugged into the computer, a red LED is shown on the main panel. Thereafter when you choose the device you want to add to your computer, the Belkin has an instant plug-and-play feature built in that won't necessarily pop up on your computer, but whatever device you plug in to use on your computer through the Belkin port will appear! You will also get a corresponding green LED that comes through the main panel on the hub that confirms the device has been plugged in!
In use, I have taken my Belkin USB 4 port hub with me to work. I find it invaluable for the use with Apple computers; especially the iMac type computers where there aren't that many USB ports that can support 2.0 peripherals and though there are slots on the keyboards, they are not 2.0 speed specific and memory sticks cannot be plugged in hoping to be used. From memory sticks to USB mice, USB modem sticks and USB touch pads, the Belkin 4 port USB hub is an excellent and additional back up device if your iMac only supports 1.0 or 1.1 ports and some of these computers do have them, especially in schools where upgrades aren't always available to meet 2.0 demand and future peripheral use.
The beauty of having the Belkin by your side, especially if you are a Macbook owner however is that it does give you the extra versatility of 4 extra ports automatically than putting up with the 2 on board. I've since gone from wireless replaceable battery-heavy mice back to corded mice because of the constant reliability I need and stop worrying about whether signals are being sent to my computer or not. So that's one port already used on the Macbook. The other port changes from time to time being used with either a larger memory block or a memory stick, and I've often had the earlier vision that sooner or later the USB ports on the computer will weaken over time because of the constant changeover from one peripheral to another. One other port on the Belkin that is permanently plugged in is my all in one printer and scanner, whilst another USB port slot that is taken up is with my cordless phone for use with both landline and internet calls.
The Belkin can take the strain of peripherals being changed all the time, not just helped by the thick perimeter rubber that surrounds it but as the owner of a Mac, the rules are still applied whereupon adding any mobile device by USB regardless of whether you use the Belkin or not, has to be manually ejected to avoid problems upon release. In all the years that I've owned and used the Belkin, it makes no noise either when it is in use, it can be used without the mains plug for 2.0 or heavier high-speed devices and is therefore compatible between Mac and PC - largely.
A final bonus being the cord from the adaptor is a long one metre and the cable length from the hub to a computer also measures a metre - hardly short, then.
There are a couple of downsides to the Belkin 4 port USB bank. For starters it comes with that mains adaptor block and plug but unless you use this port all the time for the same peripherals, dependent on the low speed or high speed of those selected devices, you may need to turn the power on the mains cord to get ALL the slots on the bank working properly. I'd have liked to have had more of an indication than LED lights when this occurs even if there is a difference of green and red upon plugging in and then the devices you need.
Secondly (and I have tried!) I find the Belkin 4 port hub can only power up 2 high speed USB devices at the same time if used without the mains cord, thus why you get one at the time of purchase! This isn't a product that can be self powered all of the time UNLESS the devices you plug in are low energy/low speed.
Thirdly, for Mac users not all systems will work with the Belkin 4 port hub when you reboot and expect the hub to automatically register upon switching/powering your Mac back on. This only occurs on the G4 Mac and Mac desktops that have operating system 10.3 or below. 10.4 and upwards will have no problem though and seems to be a minor issue. For PC computers, the Belkin's minimum requirement is Windows 98 and upwards - and my Evesham had Windows ME installed - which worked perfectly whenever the Belkin was used.
Compared to other USB hubs on the market, the Belkin 4 USB hub port is a good idea for a compact extra USB hub provider and since 2003 my Belkin hasn't let me down. Reliable and efficiently designed, the only time it will ever become bulky is if you buy another and hook it up with 8 USB's used all the time with excess cables taking up a lot of room on either side of the hub. By the single device itself though, it is a pretty effective and largely simplistic USB hub from its ease of use and clear indicators that tell you in an instant what devices have been connected properly. The simple plug-and-play attribute is essential for any Mac owner, particularly as you don't have to manually eject it if you need to move off with your Macbook - an aspect that you usually have to perform when any external device is added to the system. Thanks for reading! ©Nar2 2012
Like most people, there comes a time when you get fed up of trying to reach round the back of your computer to plug yet another device into an usb post. Then eventually, when you've plugged in your mouse, your keyboard, the printer, the phone recharger, the external drive, the webcam etc etc, you find that you've run out of usb ports, which is where devices such as this Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub come in. At around £6 delivered from Amazon, this simple little device is the answer to your usb socket shortage problem.
What is it? In simple terms it is a usb socket multiplier for your computer. It comes with a short connection cable which plugs into the device at one end, and then into a spare usb socket on your computer with the other. Simple enough to fit and the device is self powered from your computer, so no mains plugs or additional leads. But the clever bit is that the device has 4 usb sockets on it. So in effect, by utilising just the one usb socket on the back of your computer, you have now created an additional 4 usb sockets for your computer via this device.
Overall, the build quality is excellent - as you would expect from a Belkin product. Made from a plain matt black plastic overall, it does feel quite sturdy in your hand. On the top, you have a sort of clear plastic lens bit on the top which lights up when power is supplied to the device from your computer and when you have devices plugged in to it. So a clear sign that it is on and working. Of note, Belkin seem to have updated this item from the picture shown on Dooyoo. But put the item into Amazon, and you will see the new version of this hub.
What's it like in use? It works and everything seems to run from it smoothly and quickly. Connected up, it will run devices in low speed (1.5 Mbps), full speed (12 Mbps) and high speed (480 Mbps). Don't worry if those speeds don't mean much to you because pretty much all devices that run from a usb connection will automatically determine what speed they need to run at, suffice to say that if they need to go at high speed, this hub can cater for their needs. At the moment I have a webcam, microphone, printer and usb phone charger all plugged in to this hub and all working together quite happily.
In addition, the device is a USB 2.0 compatable (which is the current standard for most usb devices), but is also backwards compatible for USB 1.1 items (for older usb devices). It also has another clever little addition buried away in the electronics in that it is also fitted with an over current detection and protection system. So if your computer does get a power surge, this device will protect any of your usb components plugged in to it.
Negative points? In terms of performance and build quality, I can't fault it. The only thing that might bug some people is the light on the device, and that would really depend on what sort of computer you have, and where you set that computer up. Some computers keep the usb sockets powered up once you switch off (to allow you to charge items such as mobile phones etc), meaning that the light of this hub will remain on. Not a problem unless you have the computer in your bedroom, because the light can be quite bright, which can be annoying at night when you are trying to sleep. Only way around it is to either cover it up, or switch your computer off at the wall socket at night (and do your bit for the environment by saving power). So just a point to be aware of.
In summary, for around £6, this hub is a real life saver and easily expands the usb socket limits of your computer. With the usual excellent build quality and reliability of Belkin products, this hub is easy to install and use, and hence, you can't really go wrong. So a 5 star recommendation from me.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
A lot of laptops and netbooks come complete with two USB ports, capable of accommodating your mouse, digital camera for image transfer, and the optional USB Mug Warmer(!). Whatever the reason for you running out of USB ports on your computer the solution is right here, the Belkin Hi-Speed USB 4-Port Hub.
I have owned a lot of Belkin computer accessories in the past and continue to find them both affordable and practical. This particular model is compatible with USB 2.0 which is the second generation of USB ports. The benefit of this is a faster transfer of data and overall improved connectivity. As this product has 4 ports it gives you the ability to turn a single USB Port into four ports, instantly quadrupling the capacity.
Installation is very simple, I simply attached the device via an available USB Port and away I went. All I had to do was attach the hub and then connect my various devices to it. I sometimes connect a printer via this hub, also my mouse, digital camera and USB stick. File transfer works exactly the same as with using the original USB ports and there is no noticeable lag in transfer rate due to the hubs intervention.
The hub is self-powered, meaning it draws the required power from its connection to your laptop, for example. This is required to light the various LED's which are in place to indicate there is power to the unit, also to show which ports are in use at any given time. The simplicity of the design is typical of a Belkin product, with no fancy ideas just a simple yet effective end product. The casing of the hub is very durable, giving good protection to the componants within. The Belkin branding is also present on the top of the hub and it is of a good weight and gives me the impression it isn't shoddily knocked together for pennies.
The USB-USB cable is supplied and although it isn't as long I would have hoped, it still is adequate for the job. Longer US-USB cables can be bought, though, with a 5metre cable costing around £4 online. I have seen these hubs for around £12 on Amazon, I think I paid around £20 for mine! I would recommend the Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 4-Port Hub to anyone with an expanding list of computer accessories that they wish to attach via the USB ports.
I originally bought this as I ran out of USB slots around the back of my desktop.
So another great accessory from Belkin it allows you to connect up to four devices through it. It has a power adapter, what for I am unsure because it runs fine with just the USB, something tells me that it is probably for older machine with USB 1.0 and hence less voltage to support the device.
So what you actually get in the box is: a USB cable for the hub to connect it to your machine, a 5v power adapter and the device itself plus all the manuals and stuff.
A great little feature of this hub is that you can stack them and they 'lock' in place so you could have loads of them for those that are putting a lot of stuff to USB flash drives etc...
I now use this hub to leave my keyboard and mouse plugged so that they are together and I can swap between my desktop and my laptop because I am too cheap skate to by a KVM switch so that I can use them on both machines but it is great.
An absolute recommend for anyone running out of free USB ports or for those who want a quick swap between two machines.
The Belkin Hi-speed Usb hub has made using Usb devices almost a pleasure instead of the usual battle with wires and cables which inhabit the dark recesses at the back of my hard drive!
The hub allows you to connect up to 4 Usb devices at the same time to your computer or laptop.
It was a lazy Saturday afternoon when I got the dreaded call up the stairs that all people who are competent in the art of computing dreads! Yes I am talking about the call from the wife or mother, (the same ones who regard I.T as a waste of time), instructing the weaker member of the family (or the only member who isnt out) to remove all the pictures that they have taken on the collection of digital cameras they possess, and to put them on a C.D or print them out. Just so they can show their so called friends blurred and out of frame photos of some womans hairless baby that nobody gives a monkeys about!!
the writer takes a breather as he is overcome by emotions resulting from the years of mental torment he suffered as a result of the event mentioned above
This has happened every other Saturday for as long as I can remember and is as unavoidable as the setting sun.
The real torment was caused by the endless switching of Usb cables and adaptors to get the printer, scanner, digital camera, DVD writer, optical mouse and other devices which I do not know the reason for their attachment in-between the 4 Usb ports I had on my p.c
Just to add extra stress to the problem, the manufacturers of most old computers insisted on putting the Usb ports on the rear of the impossible to move hard drive, in the most awkward to reach place, and at the most awkward angle and proximity they could think of! (how do these guys sleep at night) This makes unplugging and plugging the cables in so tedious, one has to be a master of some ancient Chinese martial, arts in order to hold the position required to reach the sockets.
Further more, the manufacturers of the individual digital cameras made sure that the cables were all different types with different adaptors so one has to replace the cables every single time they want to use a different camera. And of course the cables are always too short to let the camera rest in a logical place, and force it to be balanced precariously on top of your CD collection.
Finally one day I had had enough. I stormed up to my local p.c world (yes I know they are vastly overpriced but I was mad!) and demanded to the shocked pimple faced attendant that he either find me a suitable way to solve my problem, or I was going to streak through the small appliances section of the store (ha ha). He quickly reached behind him to pull out this box with the words Belkin Hi-Speed Usb Hub on, and I knew I had found the first love of my life!
I rushed home and feverously ripped open the box to find a shiny black, attractive looking oval. There was no complicated instructions or software and there were no annoying fliers included in the package (which I was annoyed about because I enjoy burning them) It was a simple matter of plugging in the hub to the mains, and then feeding the connecting wire through to a Usb port on my tower.
Now I can use all of my appliances at the same time and if I wish I can switch cameras from the comfort of my desk chair rather than crawling around in my desk.
The only problem I have had with the hub, was a few months ago when I repeatedly was getting messages every time I plugged in my flash drive which stated that the Usb device had caused a power surge. However this problem was rectified when I reformatted the hard drive on my old p.c. the hub is currently in use with my shiny new laptop and is invaluable as I can literally plug in one cable to my laptop and be instantly connected to my printer and portable music players ect.
I highly recommend this particular hub as it is not only stylish and reliable. But it also has the facility to stack additional hubs of the same type on top, making the number of Usb ports you could have limitless! For around £20 its amazing I didnt buy more than one!
Note: in this review I was experimenting with a new informal style of writing that is more suited to my character. Please tell me what you think because I dont want to make a fool of myself!
Cheers Ross :)