USB (Universal Serial Bus) has become the standard method of connecting just about anything to…well, just about anything else, but particularly desktop and laptop computers. Not only does a USB connection transfer data, it can also power a device. Many of us have so many USB-based devices that we frequently find ourselves needing more USB ports, which is where the USB ubiquitous hub comes in. I’ve used several USB hubs over the years, but usually they looked quite cheap and clunky. The Satechi 4-Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub is a bit different than many of the hubs out there. Gadget on!
Click any image to enlarge.
The Satechi 4-Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub (which I shall henceforth refer to as the ub) is only available in the version reviewed here. However, if you don’t need want to spend $49.99 on the USB 3.0 hub and and USB 2.0 will suffice, Satechi offers a USB 2.0 version for $27.99. Also, if you need more than four USB ports, Satechi offers a similar version of this USB 3.0 hub with seven ports in either white or black trim for $54.99 each.
- Ports – Four (4) USB 3.0 ports
- Plug-n-Play, hot swappable, hot pluggable, compatible with Windows or Mac
- Bus powered – no separate power cable needed
- Dimensions – 4.75″ x 2″ x 9.12″
- Weight – 12 oz
- Warranty – 1 year
- Location of Manufacture – China
The hub’s packaging is fairly standard. It has a window that shows the actual product inside, but only from the top. A bit of a limited view but better than nothing.
The back of the package points out the product features.
The first thing I noticed about the hub was its styling, its matte aluminum casing with grey accents obviously patterned after Apple Mac product line. The matte finish on the Hub is not quite as smooth as the iMac, but aesthetically it fits fine with the iMac’s styling, which you’ll see below, and would look equally at home alongside just about any computer setup.
The cable is only 11 inches long, which sounds like a lot, but I found to be a bit too short—I had to keep it very near my iMac in order to plug it into one of the USB ports in the back and still keep the hub in the front (which is where I wanted it, quite frankly, since it does look good next to the iMac). The hub’s USB plug has a reinforced plastic flange to give it additional support in a spot that is a typical failure point for USB connector plugs.
In the image above, you can see one of the two “fit and finish” cosmetic issues I noticed with the hub. The silver disk on this end did not mate up perfectly with the housing, resulting in a gap at the top. Not a huge deal, but it looks a bit shabby.
The rear of the hub is fairly non-descript. Nothing to much see here.
The bottom of the Hub has a dark grey silicone-like mat that provides some grip to keep the hub from sliding around and staying where you place it.
Since the hub is bus powered, it does not require a separate power cable. This could make the hub a viable option for using it with a laptop while travelling since this would be one less thing to have to lug with you on the road. However, I would consider the hub to be large and bulky for that purpose; it is much better as a desktop computer accessory due to its size and weight, and there are many small, lightweight USB hub products that would be better suited for travel.
Above, an in-hand image depicting the relative size of the hub and further illustrating my point about its applicability as a desktop accessory rather than for travel.
The other “fit and finish” issue with the hub is depicted in the closeup above. The aluminum body on the face of the hub, just above its last USB port, was dented inward. This did not appear to inhibit function, but like the slightly off-center disk on the cable end of the hub depicted above, it does make the appear sub-par cosmetically. In the closeup photo above, the surface texture detail is also more visible. Not quite the same as the iMac, but close.
As mentioned above, I connected the hub to one of the USB ports in the back of my iMac. Only then did I discover that, once connected, the hub emits a cool blue glow from each of the four USB ports. I dig this. A nice look.
The hub’s matte aluminum body and light grey accents allow it to aesthetically fit in quite well with my iMac. And all of the UBS 3.0 ports worked just fine.
The Satechi 4-Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub is a fairly standard USB hub in terms of functionality. It offers four USB 3.0 ports and is bus powered so does not require a separate power cable. Its matte aluminum body and grey accents complement Apple’s iMac or Macbook product lines, but it would look sharp alongside any computer (check out that blue glow). The only drawbacks I found were that the cord was a bit short for desktop computer use (YMMV) and that some cosmetic defects left the “fit-and-finish” a bit sub-par. Overall, a nice product, but perhaps a bit pricey at full price.