Just when I think I’ve seen it all, a new product floats across my desk and surprises me. Earlier this week, I was asked to take a look at the 4-port Transparent USB 3.0 Hub from ORICO. I’ve seen ORICO products before and been fairly impressed with them. In the past, I’ve looked at items like USB hubs, charging docks and even cable management boxes. They have all been solid devices with a modern style, but I’ve never seen anything like this clear USB Hub.
The box it comes in is fairly nondescript. It’s a light brown cardboard with a sticker on the top that indicates what product is encased inside. The backside has a lot of writing on it that includes contact information for the company, but not a lot of details about the product. When you open the box, you find the hub sitting in between small pieces of cardboard to keep it from sliding around. The hub is wrapped in plastic so as to keep it free of scratches. The hub is very lightweight and very ‘techie’ looking. The bottom of it has a soft silicon footing on it to keep the hub from moving around on a smooth desktop. Also included in the box are the manual, which is written in both English and Chinese, a contact card for support, and a USB 3.0 data cable. Because it’s USB 3.0, data should transfer at a rate of 5 GB/s. The hub is controlled by a VL817 intelligent chip, which makes transferring and charging more stable and intelligent.
It’s important to note here that I switched my main computer over to a 2016 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. So, I only have USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on my computer. I do utilize a Thunderbolt 3 hub with my desk set-up, which has USB 3.0 ports included. My testing will consist of speed/endurance tests using this hub as a connection to my laptop. I will be transferring a movie file that is 2.36GB in size. I will first test the file transfer speed of a USB 3.0 flash drive using only the Thunderbolt 3 Dock, then I will connect the ORICO hub to the dock and test the file transfer speed using the same file. Then, I will run the flash drive through a Blackmagic Speed Test using the Thunderbolt Hub and the ORICO Hub. The flash drive I am using is the Silicon Power 64GB USB 3.0 Swivel Flash Drive.
Test 1 — USB Flash Drive to Computer using Thunderbolt Dock Only
The flash drive connected to my computer within a couple of seconds. The file transfer took 33 seconds. The file was deleted off of the flash drive and emptied from the trash almost immediately and it only took 5 seconds for the drive to eject from the computer.
Test 2 — USB Flash Drive to Computer using the ORICO Hub connected to the Thunderbolt 3 Dock
I would like to take this moment to point out that the hub came with a traditional USB 3.0 data cable, but it does have Micro USB port as well. This is actually for connecting a 5V power supply when you have ‘power hungry’ devices. When you plug the hub in, a small blue LED on the bottom illuminates causing a nice glow effect. When the area around it is darkened, it looks very cool. The tension in the cable caused the very lightweight hub to pop up from the desk a bit. I believe this is mostly because the cable was brand new and still curled up a bit.
When I plugged in the flash drive, it took approximately 6 seconds for it to mount to the computer. The file transferred in 36 seconds. The file was deleted off the flash drive and emptied from the trash within a couple of seconds. The flash drive ejected completely from the computer in about 5 seconds. Since the timing for all the other elements of Test 2 were so close to Test 1, I decided to try the mounting of the flash drive a second time thinking that perhaps the brand new hub needed a moment to warm up. Unfortunately, the second (and third) time I tried mounting it, it still took about 6 seconds.
Blackmagic Speed Tests
The Blackmagic Disk Speed test was done using the 5GB stress on the flash drive. Both methods of connection for the flash drive had almost an identical WRITE time, but the ORICO Hub actually had a slightly fast READ time. The image on the right (READ 184.8 MB/s) was the ORICO hub.
Summary I think the ORICO 4-Port Transparent USB 3.0 Hub is a charming, unique addition to any desk setup. If you have a USB-A port on your computer then it’s even a better acquisition. I would recommend perhaps placing a 3M adhesive strip or something similar beneath it if you want it to stay in place. I could see plugging more than one USB cable into it to cause the hub to move around quite a bit. I would also recommend this hub for occasional use rather than a permanent installation. With such a unique design piece, it should be showcased as an ornament and not cluttered with cables 100% of the time or hidden behind the desk so the cables don’t show.