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Apart from calling a hub, a hub; what else could possibly suffice such an innovative piece of USB (Universal Serial Bus) hard-ware? The two entities of 'Gem' and 'Bird' from an exhausting brand recognition exercise are surely scraping the dregs of the creative cup. In the end the creative team tediously joined two simple words together in a 'pin the donkey' fashion. Its shape resembles a space-station from the nostalgic 1980s with four corners protruding slightly and squared off neatly adding a pointless design dimension to the hub. On each side there is an USB port, whereby you can connect external hardware devices such as your mobile phone etc. The Gembird lead is connected to your main desktop USB port allowing for three extra USB ports for peripheral usage. I find the three extra ports a mediocre compromise considering the poor use of design innovation, especially during the digi-ware age where a plethora of gadgets require connectivity to a USB port, that connects to a workstation. So, the product lacks ingenuity, due to the fact more USB ports could've been added.
One superb USP (Unique Selling Point) that this device brings to the table is a lengthy cord. Compared to other hubs the Gembird has done its user-friendliness homework. Two and a half feet in cord length is enough for any workstation desktop, yet not many vendors display the cord length, it is underestimated by device manufacturers and vendors alike - nothing more irritating than a dangly USB hub connecting all your peripherals in mid-air, causing stresses to the USB pins; one of the reasons why USB drivers don't get recognized via the Workstation operating system.
Automatically the hub will work according to your workstation; both USB 2.0 and 1.1 enabling connecting speeds are compatible. Those of you using a Windows ME operating system will still be able to use the hub, albeit it will be working slower than the hubs capabilities. Manufacturers call it 'backward compatible' is not the choice of wording I'll choose giving the impression your workstation is a connectivity retard; perhaps 'downgrade compatibility' is less discriminate to aging workstations. Gembird's plastic exterior is transparent, a blue transparency with a neon green light at the centre. Whilst on hub is available for hub duty. Inside the hub, coiled wires are neatly arranged via the silver cord and on each port slot it has an intrinsic metal casing. This all resides on a lead looking plate, yet on the back a detailed green and dark lined illustrative map of the 'London Underground;' too the non layman a code for manufacturing purposes.
The Gembird hub works very well with flash drives and meager USB devices that don't require a lot of power. I've found the USB ports however pedantic in connecting with drives from more gargantuan devices such as: scanners, printers and energy sapping, high tech digital cameras. They're best left on the available main USB ports on the workstation, therefore, any shuffling of USB connections could become a headache that you didn't bank on.
Dimensions (WxDxH): 7.3 cm x 7.3 cm x 2.1 cm - The hub is certainly desktop friendly size-wise albeit, baffling in design. At the top there are minuscule spherical indents where the green indicator light sits. In darkness the round indents catch the light resembling a green pixilated ball - signs of tackiness evident, eccentricities of kitsch maybe. Or the die-hard 'Thunderbird fanatic' so wanted to create a hub that wouldn't be out of place as a 'Thunderbird' toy.
Gembird code-name UHB C224 has the look and feel of a novelty USB item, not forgetting the jumbled up letter concept of 'HUB' - For the cost 3 GBP on Amazon the postage will be more than the product so no complaints there. However, loses points on reliability - fine with menial USB devices; not exactly 'Gembird Are Go!'- ©1st2thebar 2011
I bought this USB hub device with the intention to use it with my laptop and desktop. It's quite handy if you ever need additional USB ports, or if your home or office setup requires more ports than you currently have then this little peice of hardware is an essential addition to your network.
I often find the need to use my laptop (which has three USB ports) as a workstation when I get home, ithis requires an external mouse, keyboard, harddrive and printer. I also sometimes need to sync my Blackberry or transfer some files at the same time using a USB pen-drive. So as you can imagine, this device solves all of my problems. I also take this out with me in my laptop bag if I ever needed to setup something similar for work.
My overall opinion of the product is that for something so cheap it's a great buy and I'm very happy with it.
My technical opinions are as follows...
Production Quality Rating: 8/10
Design Originality Rating: 8/10
Ease Of Use Rating: 10/10
Reliability Rating: 10/10
Performance Rating: 8/10
Instruction Manual Rating: 2/10
Support Rating: 5/10
Overall Rating: 9/10
Ratings: 1-2 Dire, 3-4 Mediocre, 5-6 Standard, 7-8 Good, 9-10 Excellent.
The product promised to deliver exactly what it set out to do and that was provide your netbook, laptop and desktop with extra hardware connectivity.
Product specifications of interest:
4-port USB connections
1 USB to PC connection
7cm wide (approx)
7cm long (approx)
2cm height (approx)
Product conclusion - If you need an extra three USB ports this is a very cost effective way of a work-around.
Is it value for money? Yes, very much so. These USB hubs can be picked up online for under £5, or if you're very lucky, you may find an unbranded model in a pound shop.
Online retailers that I recommend that you buy the product from if you like this review - Play.com and Amazon.co.uk