I promised myself that I was going to spend more money this time on a USB Hub - well it looks like I didn't keep that promise but actually when I stopped in this morning to one of my favorite computer shops I didn't think I'd have to spend very much to get a pretty good product.
The shop that we purchase a fair amount of our computer related items from has never steered us wrong and so far everything we've purchased from them has worked exceptionally well and had long lives so when the sales person pointed me to this particular USB 2.0, 7 port hub with cool little color-coded LED lights (great for coding your devices so you remember which port has which device), I figured I might as well save some money again. Please, twist my arm (but not the left one - just got a flu shot there :))
This hub only cost me $19 and the bonus is I get a colorful night light :) It's about 2-1/2" long by 2" wide and on one side is housed 3 led lit ports with 4 ports on the opposite side for plenty of plug n play power. I've never owned an ac powered hub so I'm hoping that this additional feature will ensure that I get a long life from it. It's switching power adaptable, hot swapable Plug n Play, has an Over-current detection and protection for each down-stream port, supports for both bus and self-powered devices, supports data speeds 1.5/1.2/480mbps and is USB 2.0, USB 1.0 and USB-IF certified. I have seen some reports of similar hubs and people claiming they could not get 2.0 USB devices to work nor could they use external hard drives due to latency. So far, I've checked this out on all of my devices and I've had absolutely no issues - even my flash drives are quick to access and transfer with absolutely no problems.
Hooking it up was child's play - plug in the USB adapter going from the laptop to the hub, plug in the AC adapter from the hub to the power supply, plug in the USB devices which include my wireless mouse, two external hard drives and I still have room to plug in two of my Flash drives and my wireless internet stick with an additional USB port still left over on my laptop, which only has 2, to plug in gee - what - I don't know but I'm certain it won't take me long to delegate the additional laptop port to some nifty little device at some point.
The LED lights are red, green, blue, white, orange, gold and pink with a central led light that indicates power on although I'm not certain if it is actually also indicating activity - it flashes on and off cycling through red, green and blue - so perhaps that's just more light show - of course light show or not doesn't concern me - it's whether I can access everything as I should be able to and so far, so good.
Accessing my external drives is lightning fast and there is no wait time unlike the other hub I just retired which was often a little sluggish to load and access.
So far I'm liking this little hub very much - it does what it's suppose to and does so quickly and that's what's important to me.
Update On Jan 28, 2009: Jan 28/09: Began malfunctioning (2 ports) a few weeks ago - therefore reliability for the is unit isn't optimum given it's not yet 2 months old. Therefore, my recommendations above and liking it? Have to rescind. I'd not recommend this as a purchase any longer - I had a $9 hub that lasted longer. For $20, not a good buy any longer but I guess I had to use it to find that out.