Published on September 23rd,2012 at 4:47 AM
By >Ike

[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested

We agree with Brando’s claim when they say USB 3.0 is poised to become mainstream. The company sent us 3 hubs to play around with and check if they are worth their salt.

These USB 3.0 4-Port Hubs are all offering 4 extension ports (backwards compatible with both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0). All three devices are compatible with both PC and MAC, except for the square model (middle one in photo above) they come with an additional power supply.

 

Why could you use one?

Good question! First off the bat: USB 3.0 offers up to 5 times the speed of conventional USB 2.0, which means an imminent boost of performance. Note that the technical documents on USB 3.0 state it’s 5Gbps so technically 10x faster, but there are few devices out there that can currently come close to that speed over USB. Furthermore, USB 3.0 allows simultaneous reading and writing between two connected devices, not previously possible.

Second, these hubs are backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1, so most of the conventional USB flash memory drives/sticks you have lying around will all work at full speed where on a USB 2.0 hub you got 1/4th of performance if you’d connect 4 drives and accessed them all at the same time. Due to the fact these USB 3.0 devices are about 5x faster this technically implies if you have a 5 port USB3.0 hub, you can simultaneously access 5 USB2.0 flash drives at their full rated speed.

Third. Admittedly most hardware manufacturers like the 3.0 as much as they love the “old school 2.0” standard. But… a USB 3.0 from Renesas or NEC raises the price on the final product significantly compared to USB 2.0 ports, thus they tend to only use the bare minimum to avoid higher manufacturing costs. In a perfect world the USB 2.0 ports could perfectly retire to make place for USB 3.0-only logic boards, shame they don’t as this would increase costs on the final bill of materials.

 

If you are a Macbook (Retina/Air or normal), netbook, notebook, tablet PC or HTPC user, you don’t have the luxury of many USB 3.0 ports, 1 up to 3 ports is nowadays the maximum most hardware manufacturers are willing to go.

So here the hub comes to the rescue to turn 1 port into 4 usable superspeed ports without the need/hassle to install drivers or have a profound technical background. It’s plug & play, easy as abc.

 

Square 4-Port Hub
Product Code: UHUBS035300.  Retails for: 22 USD.

Features:

  • USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 4-Port Hub
  • Square shape design
  • Transfer rate up to 5Gbps with USB 3.0
  • Transfer rate up to 480Mpbs with USB 2.0
  • Plug and Play
  • Support Window 7 / Vista / XP / 2000, Mac 10.2 above
  • Dimension: 65 x 65 x 17mm (approx.)
  • Weight: 52g

Package Contents:

  • USB 3.0 SuperSpeed 4-Port Hub
  • USB 3.0 Cable

Look & feel:

A square black device with 2 ports on both East and West, North you have the Mini-USB3.0 port to connect to your computer/tablet. Very convenient form factor, easy to take up little space in the travel kit.

The kit doesn’t ship with a power adapter included, but it has a very durable cable. Although the cable is unpractically stiff cable, the overall package turned out to be heavier than the other 2 hub+cable kits.

Test pattern: This device passed a fully plugged scenario (1x USB 2.0 memory stick, 1x USB3.0 memory stick, 1x All-in-one USB3.0 card reader with SD and CF plugged in and 1x USB2.0 regular laser mouse). The device passed accessing all memory devices and using the mouse simultaneously without devices losing connection due to power loss/insufficient power.

 

Magic-Pro USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
Product Code: UHUBS034700. Retails for: 36 USD.

Features:

  • USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
  • Transfer rate up to 5Gbps with USB 3.0
  • Transfer rate up to 480Mpbs with USB 2.0
  • LED indicator for power and activity
  • Plug and Play
  • Support Window 7 / Vista / XP / 2000
  • Dimension: 80 x 43 x 16mm (approx.)
  • Weight: 37g

Package Contents:

  • Magic-Pro USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
  • USB 3.0 Cable
  • AC Adapter (100~240V, 50/60Hz 0.35A, 5V/2.0A)

Look & feel:

A fancy white top, black sides device with 3 ports West, 1 port East and Mini-USB3.0 to connect to your computer/tablet North. Incredibly light and compact to fit in your pocket, takes up very little space. The smallest device in our roundup.

The kit ships with a power adapter included, and has a one of the most original blue cables. The cable is about 7mm wide and 2mm thick, huge advantage of these flat cables is that they fold up nicely and give you that “knitting-for-beginners” scenario next time you pull them out your bag/pocket.

Test pattern: This device did not pass our fully plugged scenario (1x USB 2.0 memory stick, 1x USB3.0 memory stick, 1x All-in-one USB3.0 card reader with SD and CF plugged in and 1x USB2.0 regular laser mouse). Due to power loss/insufficient power when trying to access all devices pluggin in, we had to plug in the wall-socket power adapter for this test to succeed. It might give an impression to work with 4 devices, but if you check your logfiles you can spot certain devices losing connection due to a short power loss. When using 50% of self-powered devices in this hub, it doesn’t require the additional power adapter to be plugged in.

 

USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
Product Code: UHUBS033400. Retails for: 35 USD.

Features:

  • USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
  • Transfer rate up to 5Gbps with USB 3.0
  • Transfer rate up to 480Mpbs with USB 2.0
  • LED indicator for power and activity
  • Plug and Play
  • Support Window 7 / Vista / XP / 2000
  • Dimension: 62 x 90 x 16mm (approx.)
  • Weight: 57g

Package Contents:

  • USB 3.0 4-Port Hub
  • USB 3.0 Cable
  • AC Adapter (100~240V, 50/60Hz 0.3A, 5V/2.0A)

Look & feel:

Probably one of the best looking hubs here. Design wise it combines regular black plastic with a dark transparent plastic finish at the East & West side (where both you’ll find 2 ports), North the Mini-USB3.0 to connect to your computer/tablet. This one has status LEDs per port on top of the hub. It is the biggest one in our roundup.

The kit ships with a power adapter included and ships with a regular connection cable. Thin enough to easily roll up and put away.

Test pattern: This device did not pass our fully plugged scenario (1x USB 2.0 memory stick, 1x USB3.0 memory stick, 1x All-in-one USB3.0 card reader with SD and CF plugged in and 1x USB2.0 regular laser mouse). Due to power loss/insufficient power when trying to access all devices pluggin in, we had to plug in the wall-socket power adapter for this test to succeed. It might give an impression to work with 4 devices, but if you check your logfiles you can spot certain devices losing connection due to a short power loss. When using 50% of self-powered devices in this hub, it doesn’t require the additional power adapter to be plugged in.

 

Final verdict

Cheap doesn’t always imply an inferior product. The little black design square gets a solid boost over the other 2 during testing. Alright, it doesn’t come with a power supply so charging your phone or plugging in 4 USB flash drives might be too much for it, but if this is your game then you can either buy an additional/seperate power supply for this model or pick one of the other models. The USB 3.0 cable that came with it is about as stiff as shielded network cables or coax, but it does deliver very solid results. And for 22 USD it’s a steal really.

If you are interested in purchasing a hub and you are not quite sure if you are going to need a model that has a power adapter included or not, the rule is pretty straightforward: Self powered USB devices such as DSLR’s, printers, scanners, etc, don’t require the extra juice. Gamer keyboards (especially backlit), webcams, mic’s, phone and tablets who auto-charge will definitely require extra juice. Flash memory, card readers, mice and regular keyboards normally don’t require plugging in an external power source.

You might want to check out brando.com for more USB goodies, for now we tested the best 4 port USB 3.0 hub out there, we’ll be back for new tests soon, keep us posted if you have any special product requests!

 

 

Category Review
              
[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested
[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested
[REVIEW] 3 Brando USB 3.0 hubs tested
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