Review: mbeat USB Hub Manager
- — 16 May, 2012 22:00
|Name||USB hub: mbeat USB Hub Manager (USB-M43HUB)|
|At a glance:||3 USB 2.0 ports,4 high-speed USB 3.0 ports,Individual power switches to each port|
|Summary:||A simple but useful device that does exactly what it’s supposed to with minimal fuss.|
The mbeat USB 3.0 + USB 2.0 7 Port Hub Manager is as aggressively functional as its name implies. In fact, its overly descriptive name could almost stand in place of this review. This is a device that was designed for one clear purpose, sells itself on fulfilling that purpose, and once out of the box, proceeds to do just that.
What purpose, exactly? This is just like one of those fancy powerboards with individual switches, but for USB devices instead of mains plugs. It’s the first USB 3.0-capable hub we’ve looked at, which puts it on the cutting edge of USB-hub technology. It’s also the first we’ve seen with individual switches that let you turn on or off each of its seven ports, without unplugging the device.
Why are individual switches so cool? For some users, they’re not. However, if you’re the type to run a desktop covered in USB-connected lights, fans and other novelty gadgets, being able to turn them on and off quickly, easily and in one place is a revelation. It’s also a tremendously useful feature if you have USB devices you don’t use constantly, but leave plugged in. Peripherals like graphics tablets, game controllers or USB powered speakers can not only consume unnecessary power when left connected, but can prove annoying – no, I didn’t mean to use the graphics tablet as a touchpad, I was just putting down my coffee. Plugging and unplugging gadgets is a pain; pressing a button is not.
Even if you’re not using a USB 3.0-equipped system, all seven ports will just function as old-fashioned USB 2.0.
For anyone with a large range of USB-connected gadgets, this is a must-have desktop accessory.