iDsonix 4 Port USB HUB REVIEW Expand Your USB 3.0 Ports without Breaking the Bank | Mac Sources9.8
Do not let limited USB ports dictate your peripherals. Turn one port into four with the iDsonix 4 Port USB HUB.
If you were born before the 1990’s, you probably remember a time before USB technology. Computers utilized a variety of serial and parallel ports, and peripheral devices were often forced to plug into certain port locations. Frustration and necessity led to the development of a Universal Serial Bus (USB) in 1994 ( USB HISTORY). USB 1 was a huge milestone in the computing world and was capable of data transfer rates of 12 megabits per second. As more devices utilized USB technology, faster speeds were needed and USB 2 was introduced around the year 2000. With data transfer speeds of up to 480 megabits per second (40x USB 1.0), peripheral technologies expanded. As noted in USB History, USB flash drives and USB-On-The-Go power also developed around that same time. Over the next 8 years, USB 2.0 reigned supreme. Around 2008, USB 3.0 arrived on the scene with 5.0 Gigabits per second transfer speeds (10x USB 2.0). Around 2013 USB 3.1 increased the speeds further to around 10 Gigabits per second. Most recently, USB 3.2 was released in 2017 and allowed new SuperSpeed+ over USB-C with speeds up to 20 Gigabits per second.
As more and more devices utilize USB technology, it is odd that many laptops and desktops have limited ports. My 2013 Macbook Pro 15 inch has only two USB 3.0 ports, 2 Thunderbolt 2.0 ports (20 Gigabit per second), a MagSafe 2 power port, HDMI output port, headphone port, and an SDXC card slot. My MacBook Pro 2019 does not even use USB-A technology any longer, instead opting for the newer USB-C technology. I built my Desktop around 2013 and it had 2 USB 2.0, 3 USB 3.0 and an optional frontal expansion port for two additional USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports (total of four). Once I plugged my keyboard, mouse, printer, and computer speakers into the machine, there was limited room for other peripherals. The cheapest solution to upgrade the number of ports is to add a USB HUB, like the one from iDSONIX. The hub allowed me to expand the ports on my older Macbook Pro, which has now been deemed “WORK COMPUTER.”
The iDSONIX Smart Interactive Aluminum USB 3.0 4-Port HUB arrived in a 5 1/8 inches long by 4 3/8 inches wide by 2 5/8 inches thick retail package with outer white slip cover. The obliquely angled 2 1/4 inches long by 1 1/2 inches tall image of the 4-Port HUB was attractively displayed overlying a 1 3/16 inches wide blue column, upon the flat white background. A generic title was displayed along my top right, the iDsonix website address was listed toward my bottom left and the iDU3-H407-SV model number was listed just to my left of the image. The front and back panels provided a 15/16 inches long by 7/16 inches wide rectangle with the same “iDsonix SMART INTERACTIVE” trademarked logo as the cover/back panel. In addition to the logo, I found a QR code, a “Made in China,” FCC, CE, RoHS, Recycle, Do not Throw Away product label, an SKU sticker, and website address/phone number/email. I slid the slipcover to the side and found a relatively unadorned cardboard box. The cover had the same trademarked logo and the bottom provided a quaint thank you notice and website address.
Lifting the lid from the box, I found a 3 5/8 inches long by 2 5/8 inches thick by 1 1/4 inches tall, wedge-shaped, four-port USB HUB. The device arrived wrapped within an opaque plastic bag. Underneath the cardboard shelf, I found a 42 1/4 inches long blue USB-A to USB-A USB 3.0 cable, a business-card shaped product review card, and a ten-panel, bilingual, instruction manual. Turning to the manual, the first four pages were in an Asian character language, but I could not determine if it was written in Traditional or simplified Chinese. Page five of the instruction manual detailed the product safety standards, whereas pages six and seven detailed features and capabilities of a variety of devices. Instead of detailing the device that I received, the manual talked about fast charging HUBS and Data Sync HUBS. Interestingly, they provided a notice detailing the need to read the website overview or to contact the distributor to learn about the details of the specific device. This device did not come with a power adaptor and thus it was not designed for fast charging. Furthermore, the manual noted that some of the devices had a detachable USB-cable and others had an undetachable USB cable. The manual was poorly written, provided vague generalities and was rife with typographical errors. Overall, it was rather disappointing.
Since this device does not have an external power supply, it will not provide power beyond the limitations of USB 3.0. The manual details a product compatibility list and names iPads, Tablets, Phones, external hard drives, flash drives, card readers, media players, etc. as compatible. I plugged a DROK USB-A Multimeter into the USB-A/USB 3.0 port on my MacBook Pro and a small blue LED illuminated to the left of the four USB ports. Without anything plugged into the ports, the multimeter read 5.05V/0.04A. I plugged a USB-A to Lightning cable into the first slot and then plugged the lightning port into my iPhone XS Max. The Multimeter read 4.96V/0.53A, which was far from optimal. To test the data transfer speeds, I plugged a Toshiba 1TB external drive into the HUB and enjoyed several old episodes of Game of Thrones. Since it was not formatted specifically for Mac OS, I was unable to use the Blackmagic Speed Test.
I added a SanDisk Connect Sense 32GB Wireless/USB thumb Drive to the USB HUB and used the App with the device. Since the thumb drive was only USB 2.0 capable, the speeds were less than USB 3.0. The App showed 13.0 MB/s read and 12.3 MB/s write speeds, while still playing Game of Thrones from the portable drive. This process will not transfer large files quickly, but it will work. As an example, a 2Gb file took two and a half minutes to transfer. I loved that I could run this test, charge my iPhone XS Max and still watch Game of Thrones from the Toshiba drive. I do not have any USB 3.0 Jump drives at this time. However, all four ports worked and they allowed me to add peripheral devices to my MacBook Pro.
The HUB lived up to my expectations and matched the coloration of my MacBook Pro 2013 very well. Since the device did not have USB-C capability, I did not use this with my MacBook Pro 2019. If you are short on USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports, I would recommend this device based on cost alone. How else can you turn one port into four ports for $12? The lower rubberized ribbed footings allowed the device to rest securely upon my desk. Not too long nor too short, the 42 1/4 inches long USB 3.0 USB-A cable was the perfect length.