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I picked up this Belkin 4 port USB hub a few months back to replace a cheap hub that I had been using which had given up the ghost. Belkin have a great reputation in manufacturing reliable network equipment and it is a brand that I trust and have used a lot both at home and at work.
I paid around £10 for this on Amazon. This is about double the price I have paid for a similar USB hub in past but it has proven to be a good investment. I work in IT and perform a lot of testing on various mobile devices and I am constantly plugging things in and out of my computer via USB through out the day. I need a USB hub which will reliably charge devices and allow me to transfer data without any funny quirks and this hub seems to tick all the boxes.
It is dead easy to install. You take it out of the packaging and you plug in the cable to one of your USB ports on your laptop/PC. It's completely plug and play and ready to use after that.
--How it Compares--
Problems I had faced with previous, cheaper USB hubs that I had used was that the other devices such as my keyboard and mouse which I have plugged into my hub at all times would crash when adding an additional device to the hub. I would then have to unplug the hub and plug it back in to get it working again. I have found the Belkin hub to be very reliable and have yet to experience this behaviour with this hub.
Another issue I had previously was the speed in which data would upload via the USB hub. Although previous versions stated they were high speed, that did not seem to be the case. I have found that I get a very good upload data rate using the Belkin hub. It's worth noting that the data transfer speeds may be effected by the USB Port on your computer itself or by the cable that you are using between the hub and the device.
As the name suggests, there are 4 USB ports with this hub. These are all high speed which means you should get a through put of around 35MB/s. You may see this written in some cases as USB 2.0. There is now a quicker USB 3.0 on the market, but I have always found 2.0 to be sufficient.
Software required to be compatible with the USB hub has been taken from the manufacturer:
Apple MacOS 9.2 or later, Microsoft Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP, Apple MacOS X 10.2.8 or later, Microsoft Windows Vista / 7
I can also confirm that I have used this with a Windows 8 device without issue. The hub pre-dated Windows 8 and I am assuming this is why it is not included in the software requirements from the manufacturer.
I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for some additional USB ports. I have even picked up a 2nd one for home use as I originally purchased this to use at work.
I use this to charge devices I have plugged into it without issue, although sometimes it is the USB cable itself that can be at fault and not the hub if charging fails. I also use it to transfer data to and from my laptop and other devices such as mobile phones, portal hard disks and digital cameras. I find that 4 ports is more than enough to meet my needs and would be surprised if the average user required more.