The best USB 3.0 hubs

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After 100 hours of research, testing, and consulting with electrical engineers, we found the HooToo HT-UH010 seven-port hub ($40) is the best USB 3.0 hub for most people. It’s compact, reliable, and has well-placed ports aplenty. But its main strength is its usability and design—we looked at many other hubs that were larger, had fewer ports, and weren’t as easy to use.

How we decided

A shot of the HooToo in action, with its power indicator and numbered LEDs alight. 

A USB 3.0 hub is for people who have a computer with at least one USB 3.0 port, but need more ports to plug in a bunch of peripherals like portable hard drives, printers or thumb drives. Most hubs have one or two charge ports (for smartphones or tablets), but a USB hub is not the same as a dedicated USB charging station. To find the best, we surveyed hundreds of readers, interviewed engineers, and did our own research to find out what makes a USB hub great. We found the best USB hub must have USB 3.0 ports and dedicated power. It needs to be reliable, well-designed, light, and compact. A decent warranty and LED indicators for each port are also useful.

Our Pick

The HooToo HT-UH010 7-port hub, and all the cords that come with it. 

The HooToo HT-UH010 is the best USB hub because it has a great, usable design that most of the competition lacked. It has seven USB 3.0 data ports, a 1-amp charge port for smartphones, and a 2.1-amp charge port for high-power devices like iPads. The upward-facing ports reduce desk clutter, and the HooToo is sturdy and reliable for simultaneous USB 3.0 file transfers and device charging. It also has LED indicators for each data port, lengthy cords for easy setup, and an 18-month warranty.

The vertically stacked ports mean you won’t have trouble plugging in bulkier USB devices next to one another. And, because the ports are located on top of the hub rather than arranged around the sides, devices stick up instead of fanning out and taking up valuable desk space. Much of the competition had side-facing ports that were too close together or made USB devices take up way more space on our desk.

For more ports

The ten-port Anker (right) next to our seven-port recommendation (left). They’re almost identical. 

If you need more ports than the HooToo’s seven, the Anker AH231 has 10: nine USB 3.0 data ports and one 2.1A charging port. It’s exactly the same size and shape as our main pick, but has a different selection of ports, is white instead of black, and has different-colored LEDs. The Anker weighs the same, comes with the same power brick and cords, and worked just as well as the HooToo in all of our tests. However, at $60, the Anker is a full $20 more than the HooToo. That’s a lot to pay for two extra data ports, so make sure you really need it before buying.

The most portable four-port option

The Sabrent has two USB ports on each side, and there’s plenty of space between them for large devices. 

The four-port Sabrent HB-W4U3 is the most portable and flexible hub we tested because it can be used with or without the included power cord and brick. (But we recommend you always use the power cord when possible, so you don’t risk overloading the hub.) The Sabrent has two horizontal, well-spaced USB 3.0 ports on each side. One of the data ports also doubles as a charge port, but it requires the host computer to be off or asleep, which means you can’t use the other three data ports at the same time. It’s also the smallest hub we tested—even smaller than a deck of cards—and has LED indicators and a one-year warranty.

In closing

The HooToo UH-010 is the best USB 3.0 hub for most people—it has seven data ports and two charge ports for tablets and smartphones. Its vertically stacked, upward-facing ports and compact design keep devices from taking up too much room on your desk, and the hub isn’t ugly, either.

(engadget.com)

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