A Gift For Geeks 2: A Magic Bus

Anker USB3 hubThere are often little conveniences that we deny ourselves. At least, that’s true around here. To the observant, these can be the basis for a thoughtful and unexpected gift.  For example, do you have a high-quality USB 3.0 hub at your desk? Does your intended giftee? Very few people have such a handy little item. I’ve come to think that an exceptionally good one, the sort we would not buy ourselves, makes a great gift.

A USB 3.0 hub acts very much like a port replicator to a laptop. It allows you to have multiple devices connected at once, far more than the number of ports provided on the laptop. In fact, some ultrabook models now offer only one or two USB ports, making a hub even more useful.

I’ve recently found another factor influencing my use of a USB 3.0 hub; my new Rebel Deskstanding desk. My desktop computer sits on the floor below the desk. Since the desk top move up & down during the course of the day, cable management is consideration. It’s better to have a single, USB 3.0 connection from the computer to the hub on the desktop. Then all the various USB attached devices connect to the hub. This way when the desk moves up only one wire is involved, at least insofar as USB devices are concerned.

Anker USB3 hub package

Further, a really well-considered USB 3.0 hub has the juice to charge multiple, high-current devices. That means charging a several tablets and cell phones at the same time. The fact that the hub also connects to the computer makes the devices available to the computer, which is not the case when using the two USB charging ports built into the Rebel Desk power module.

My choice in this regard, ordered just recently, was an Anker 7-port USB 3.0 hub that’s capable of delivering 1.5 A to each port, up to 10 A in total. The ability to deliver so much current to all the ports implies that the hub has it’s own power supply, not unlike a small laptop AC adapter. I choose this model on the basis of the ports being physically located along the side of the device. This potentially allows me to mount it to the underside of my deck using some sticky Velcro tape.