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This is the signalex usb port hub thingy. Basically the idea behind it is to turn 1 usb hub on your pc in 4 usb hubs! I got mine from poundland... for 1 pound! here is the review.
After getting my signalex, i took it out the packet. I didn't feel that well made, but for 1 pound, i wasnt worried, it felt like it would do the job provided you didnt drop it etc. i plugged it in, and it automatically did all its own drivers, and all this sort of stuff.
However, a few things i didn't like. Firstly, the design. It has like a wire that goes from the usb port to the hub. Sadly this wire is so short, it doesn't even get from my computers usb hub to the floor (a distance about 8 cm or so. This mean that it was always pulling at the usb hub, and i ended up removing it worried it would damage the hub.
Secondly, when you use it, naything tht you use with it (except really basic stuff, like a mouse and keyboard), slows down. So you wouldn't really want to use this if you were thinking of getting something for all your usb flash drives for example. sadly for me, my mouse isnt usb, its the old style system, so it wasn't going to do me any good (i gave it to my mom instead).
all in all, this leads to 2 conclusions. 1stly, this is only really any good if you are using your computer to charge things up, or to make space in other usb hubs by taking over your keyboard and mouse. otherwise, this for me was useless, and promptly removed (i wanted it to be able to have my usb 2.0 wires, printer as well as a spare hubs for usbs etc, but transferring files that were pictures and videos via usb 2.0 with one of these was not fun!).
overall then, and ok product for the price, but ultimately, not really fit for purpose
This really is one of them products which is simply designed to serve its purpose, which in this scenario is to simply create more USB ports on a PC/laptop. There are many reasons why one might need to invest in a hub; over the years external devices have become more available whether it be an external hard disc drive, webcam or even a set of stereo speakers you would generally find they will come with a USB interface.
Many older PC's have USB ports attached directly to the mainboard which are normally found on the rear of the system which can often be slightly out of reach or fiddly to get to, the other main issue seems to be with laptops as there really isn't much room inside so ports are normally limited to 2 or 4.
By using a hub you can easily increase the number of available ports by simply connecting the unit to a single port and then running your devices via the hub. There are many different models of hubs available from lots of manufacturers, this hub produced by Signalex is definitely one you would class as been in the budget range costing just a £1 from poundland.
The unit is small and portable and really is just the job for making room for your external devices whilst on the go. Despite been cheap I can not fault this device as it just does what its mean too!
My only issue with this hub is that its only compatible with USB 1.1 so the transfer speeds are dramatically slower in comparison to either 2.0 or the new 3.0 faster ports, this isn't a major issue when your only copying small files from memory sticks or playing back music through a port, I also find that using several devices at one time via one port has a noticeable effect on transfer rates so the only solution for this is to go with usb 2.0 or higher.
Hope this information can be of use to anyone looking to expand there ports!
Thanks for reading.
Since USB connection was introduced in the late 1980s, its popularity keeps on growing until pretty much all electronic device uses some form of USB connection one way or another. I regularly use my laptop and desktop but I find it frustrating to unplug my mouse everytime I want to charge a camera or a phone or something else because of the lack of USB ports; it applies for both my laptop with 2 USB ports and my desktop that has 2 USB ports easily accessible from the front and about 5 USB ports hidden at the back. Due to the design of my desk, if I want to use the ports at the back of the desktop, I have to move it out of the box and clear all the books in front of it, which is a lot of hassle. Therefore, I opted out for a quick and cheap solution by buying a Signalex 4 port USB Hub from poundland.
The one I have in my possession is a lot different from the picture shown above. The hub I bought has 4 USB ports in series and is flat; the shape of the hub is very similar to a USB stick. The product is silver and opaque and made of plastic. It is very light and quite small in size, so it's quite convenient in that aspect.
As for the performance, as I've indicated by the headline, it is very slow. The hub runs for the system 1.1 which only works at the speed of 12 MB/s, which is very slow when you compare it to the commonly used system of USB 2.0 that runs at 480 MB/s. It is very easy to set up and it has an indicator light to show when the device is working.
However, I bought this product in a hurry because at that time I was doing a video project and using a mouse makes it so much quicker, but because I need to connect a lot of electrical devices (e.g. cameras, phones etc) i had to keep unplugging my mouse. Thus, I ended with this cheap product. Personally, I mostly use it to connect my mouse (and keyboard if I'm using my desktop) so I haven't encounter much problems with the speed of this. I've tried using the hub to connect my camera to my computer, and when I tried to transfer photos, it was dragging time so I decided to use the native USB port for large file transfers instead.
From my experience, I would say this product does alright but it is not the best of hubs available. To be honest, for a pound I've paid for this, it did make my life a bit easier when it comes to working on media projects. Therefore, I don't really think the money is wasted.
Thank you for reading. :) x
== Background ==
The rise of USB in the latter part of the 1990s revolutionised computer connectivity. It's easy to forget now, but one of the things holding back the development of consumer-level digital cameras was the almost unbearable slowness of image transfer: *one photo* could easily take close on a minute to transfer via a serial cable, and though some manufacturers (notably Sony) experimented with cameras that used floppy disks or even CDs for storage, nothing was really satisfactory until the extra speed and ease of USB came along.
Although there are other connectors around - notably the rather unfairly neglected IEEE 1394 (otherwise known as FireWire) standard - it's USB that has become the connection everyone expects to see on a modern PC. Indeed, a machine with fewer than half a dozen or so of the things can feel a little under-equipped once you've plugged in keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner and so on. Fortunately there's an easy way to give yourself a few more plugs: using a hub to split one connection into several - in this case, four.
== The Signalex hub ==
Signalex is a brand most familiar from their prominent position in Poundland shops. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever seen their products anywhere else! The back of the pack gives only a PO Box rather than a full postal address, but the B2 postcode translates to central Birmingham. Whether this is actually a full works premises or (I suspect much more likely) just a forwarding office for goods brought in from China I don't know. At any rate, they clearly don't want the likes of you and me wandering down there to find out!
The packaging is very simple and unadorned, but I'm by no means unhappy about that, and you'd hardly expect any different for a pound in any case. And glory be, it's actually possible to extract the hub from its plastic packaging without having to spend ten minutes wrestling with a pair of scissors first! When I looked, you could choose to have the hub in black or clear grey plastic, the latter of which gave you a (not very interesting) view inside the unit: a couple of flimsy-looking wires and some cheapo connectors, as you'd expect.
== In use ==
Although the box claims connectivity with both PCs and Macs, I don't have an Apple to test with, but I did manage to try it out under both Windows (XP) and Linux (Ubuntu 10.04 LTS) on my PC. Plugging the hub in was simple enough, though as its lead is *extremely* short (literally a couple of centimetres) it may be awkward if your USB ports are cramped. A little green light came on to show it was working - high-tech stuff there! I plugged in a couple of memory sticks (one Verbatim, one SanDisk), and both were recognised properly.
So far so good, but then it all fell apart so fast that a troupe of clowns might have envied it for their trick car. Transferring files does work, that I will happily acknowledge. The trouble is that the hub's packaging clearly states "USB 2.0", which you might think would mean USB 2.0 *speeds*. It doesn't. It's pretty clear from the treacle-like responses I had when copying stuff that the statement on the pack is, though strictly truthful, not quite what you'd expect: it just means that this thing is USB 2.0 *compatible*.
This is, as far as I can see, really a USB 1.1 device in (not very good) disguise. The official transfer speed for USB 1.1 is 12 Mbit per second, which seemed blazingly fast in 1998 but which in these days of 16 GB pen drives really is entirely inadequate. For example, it took me something like 30 seconds to transfer a 40 MB folder of photos from my hard drive onto a stick via this hub connection. For comparison, USB 2.0 devices max out at 480 Mbit per second, *40 times* faster. Don't try transferring really large amounts of data with the Signalex unless you have several hours to spare before you need it!
== Buying and verdict ==
Just about every branch of Poundland I've looked in has had plenty of these hubs available, and so if you do want one you shouldn't have a problem finding one. You probably don't, though: yes, it is astoundingly cheap at £1, but in this case you get what you pay for. You *will* be in for plenty of boredom and frustration if you try relying on this to transfer your data. It gets two stars rather than one because within its very limited parameters it does work without fuss (though it gets a little warm in use) and for very basic devices such as keyboards it could perhaps do a job -- but for the most part it's a false economy, and not a product I could recommend.
Although I have 2 USB ports on my laptop i have always had lots of things that need plugging in and often I just dont have room to fit everything I need in. I use an optical mouse and this takes up one of the ports straight away, I now use this Signalex 4 port USB hub to allow me to have all my various bits and pieces connected at the same time.
The hub itself looks good, in a translucent blue colour which you can see all the internals through which looks good. The hub is also slim and compact. I like the fact that there is a wire connecting the hub to the USB socket because some hubs fit directly into the laptop and they can block other available ports negating the whole point of using a hub.
I have had no problems with the Signalex USB hub and the feel of it is that it will last a long time if I look after it. I use it daily and no signs of wear are appearing after 6 months of use.
The hub requires no external power supply and the easy plug and play installation is ideal for users of every competence. The LED status indicator is useful for telling whether the USB port is in use and i can say i am most satisfied as a whole with this product, especially the price of just a few pounds.
For those of you who do not know what a USB Hub is... basically you plug it into the computer via a single USB slot and it gives you more, in the case of this product 4 more. As well as increasing the number of USB slots it makes them easier to access particually if like my self all your USB slots on the PC are based on the back of the machine and difficult to get to.
The product is simple to install, simply plug in a use, requiring no additional instalation or software installing. The USB slots on this hub are only 1.1 which does mean some hardware will not work through this, these are genrally high demand products e.g exteranal hard drives and printers, however things like USB pens will work just fine albiet slower than with a 2.0 Hub.
As I only use this for occaional use for transfering documents from my PC to a USB pen this is ideal as it makes the proccess more convienet with the HUB being on my computer desk rather than down the back and although the speed isn't as quick as 2.0 USB Hub I hardly notice this for transfering small files. It only cost me 99p on Amazon and I really can not complain at this price.
Working as a journalist and author, having a USB port hub is of the essence, as my days pretty much focuses upon Word Document after Word Document, at the same time also using my Signalex USB Hub for transporting and storing music and video files with my USB`s, several in the number. I`m no expert when it comes to these types of equipment, but I dare say that this USB Hub will work for everyone looking for a pretty standard "Hub", all though, as with most products, this USB Hub from Signalex also comes with its disadvantages...
I've got the impression Signalex make low cost low budget electronics approaching low quality or low value. I have this impression because the only place I have seen their product or even heard of them is at Poundland, where they consistently have a wide range of products on offer. Even though I have this impression of the Signalex brand, I have bought a wide abundance of their products. I think it's primarily the price that has lured me into doing so. My point of comparison tends to be eBay and Amazon, but where a shop like Poundland wins is in the fact that there is no shipping to add to the original price. The interesting thing is that, while Signalex products are indeed cheap, I have yet to see any of them break.
This review is of Singalex's Usb 4 port hub. Let me straight away point out, this is a USB 1.1. spec usb hub. There are several standards of USB, commonly 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0. At the time of writing, 2.0 is the most common standard, and this is significantly faster than the older 1.1 standard. Thankfully, modern Usb ports are backwards compatible with older devices, although the older devices can not run any faster in newer ports. The max speed of usb 1.1 is 1.43 MB/s, while usb 2 operates at 57 MB/s and the new usb 3 standard at 572 MB/s.
The purpose of a Usb hub is to make more usb ports available. Let's say your PC only has 2 usb ports. If you plug this usb hub into one of them, you will have not 2, but 5 ports available. However, the fact that this is a 1.1 standard hub is of very big importance. Let's say you wanted to plug in a hard drive. Hard drives typically utilize usb 2.0 standard, which is very fast and works brilliantly for hard drives. If you plugged your usb hard drive into this hub, the hard drive would be forced to operate at the speed set by the slower usb 1.1 standard.
Basically, the hard drive would operate so slow you would not want to even give it a shot. However, items like a usb mouse or usb keyboard or a usb dongle, as required by some software for copy protection (iLok, Synchrosoft, etc), are examples of products that typically can operate in their native speed with the 1.1 standard.
I am using the Signalex usb hub for my usb mouse and keyboard and for my iLok dongle used for copy protecting my music software. The hub has never let me down. It was recognized by Windows within seconds of being plugged in. All the items I plugged into the hub were recognized, and now I keep it plugged in, ensuring my mouse, keyboard and dongle are only taking up one usb port and not three. I tried it with a usb 2 disc once, and the speed was so slow, I rather aborted the operation and freed another usb 2 port for my hard drive.
I feel it is important that someone who is contemplating to buy this understands the limitations of the usb 1.1 standard and that they are sure that this hub will fill their needs. If you don't have enough usb ports for your external hard drives, for instance, do not try to save money by buying this. In such a case, the ideal alternative would be to get a powered usb 2 hub. However, if all you need a hub for is items not reliant on high speed data transfer, such as your mouse, keyboard, dongles and probably a wide range of other items I can't think of at the moment, this Signalex hub will do as good a job as any other non powered usb 1.1 hub.