My main work machine is a MacBook Air hooked up to an external monitor, keyboard, and trackpad. I also have a nest of USB cables snarled behind my monitor, far too many for the machine’s two USB ports. Because of this, I need a USB port with as many slots on it as I can find. For years, I’ve used Belkin’s Hi-Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub. It’s failed on me a couple times, but the company has been fantastic about honoring its lifetime warranty in both cases.
Satechi sent me their 12 Port USB Hub with Power Adapter 1 & 2 Control Switches though, and that dazzled me enough to make the switch. Sadly 7 ports hasn’t been enough to handle all the gadgets on my desk, especially once I add in the family’s assortment of phones and tablets that sometimes need connecting, but 12 gives me room to spare, without having to dance the USB cord shuffle.
Like most larger hubs, the Satechi comes with a power supply so you can use devices that demand more power than a computer provides directly via a USB bus. However, the Satechi hub is actually two standard hubs daisy-chained to each other inside a single package. It features two switches on the top of the long strip so you can supply power to one bank of ports or both as needed. Each bank is underlit with blue LEDs so you can see instantly which ports have juice.
Note there are only 11 ports on the top side. The 12th port shows up on the end of the unit and is unlit. The USB dongle on the other side of the strip sits at the end of a short cord, but the package comes with a handy USB extension cord if you need a longer reach. You also get a self-adhesive velcro strip in case you want to mount it firmly on a flat surface.
This is only a USB 2.0 unit, although it theoretically runs at speeds up to 480 Mbps. There’s no software to install though, and set-up is simple and easy. It’s not capable of charging devices like an iPad on its own, although if you hook it up to a computer rather than setting it up as a standalone, it works fine.
List price is $40, but you can find it online for just $28 instead.