When I bought my first computer back in 1998, everything was pretty simple. (I actually had a TRS-80 prior to that, plus something or another at my dad’s house, but I’m going with the first computer I bought for myself, as an adult). There was a “tower” (although this was actually the kind that went flat on your desk, designed to be the base for the monitor), the monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse. Everything plugged into the back of the tower, and there was an extra cord to plug in for internet (I lived in an apartment on campus and got to plug in to the college’s T1 line, so I didn’t even have to worry about a modem.
Then I started adding related stuff. A printer first – I was a college student, a computer without a printer was pretty pointless. Then a scanner, so I could start sharing pictures online. Eventually I got a digital camera, with another cord to connect it to my computer. Then an external hard drive (by that point I’d upgraded computers from my original 4G hard drive model, but still didn’t have a lot of space). Then some flash drives. Then a USB mouse. Then a game controller. And then… and then… and then…
At this point, 16 years after that first computer purchase, there are THOUSANDS of things you can buy that plug into your computer’s USB ports. Like these things:
The obvious solution is a USB port, and I got the chance to try out a great one from Liztek. The Liztek 10 Port USB 3.0 Hub has – as you may have guessed – ten SuperSpeed ports (backward compatible with USB 2.0 / 1.1) with a transfer speed of up to 5Gbps (depending on your device’s capability). The tenth port features BC 1.2 charging, offering quick charges of up to 1.5A to USB-enabled devices. When your computer is off or in sleep mode, ports 9 & 10 (the two on the top of the hub) go into fast charging mode automatically (with data transfer disabled); when your computer is on, the charging mode goes down to normal and data transfer is enabled. There’s also an on/off button at the end of the hub.
This is a small, lightweight hub for all the features it has available, which is important when you have limited desktop space like I do. (It measures 8 × 2.4 × 0.8in and is only 4.9 oz, for those of you who might be curious), and it comes with a 12V/4A power adapter and a 2.7-foot USB 3.0 cable. It supports plug-and-play and hot-swapping, and you don’t have to install any drivers for Windows XP/Vista/7/8 or Mac OS 10.2 or above (which is great for those of us who know just enough about computers to be dangerous).
In other words? This is a small, super fast, and easy to use Hub that increases your number of available USB ports by nine (because you have to use one on your computer to plug the port into).
I tried it out with a bunch of my stuff that I’ve had sitting in a desk drawer due to lack of anywhere to keep them plugged in. I didn’t even think to grab my Kindle or my Bluetooth speaker or any of the other stuff that I have to retrieve from other areas if I want to charge them at my computer, simply because I’ve never had the space to do so before.
Now that I have all these available ports, I can just rig up a shelf above or next to my desk so I can keep all these peripherals instantly accessible, without having to dig through a drawer to retrieve them and then find an available port. The Liztek USB Hub even has slots on the back so it can be hung on the wall – perfect! That’ll allow the extra cords to hang down behind my desk instead of draping across most of my available surface space. (I still really wish I had just one port near the BACK of my laptop, though – I hate having that cable sticking out from the middle and across my desk!) Due to the presence of a certain toddler in the house, my office area will be relocating to a more babyproofable location right after the holidays, otherwise I’d have myself an awesome setup already!
The best thing? I have so many extra ports available that I don’t have to pick between the USB tentacle or the USB Plasma Ball – I can have BOTH!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.