Customer Review

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really Surprised How Versatile..., 23 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: Inateck Mini 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub with 1ft USB 3.0 Cable for Laptops, Ultrabooks, Macbook and Tablet PCs, Bus-Powered (Electronics)
As with another reviewer, I must ALSO DISCLOSE that the Bus-Powered 4-Port hub I am reviewing here was supplied by Inateck as a *FREE* REVIEW DEVICE.

I decided to test the Inateck HBU3VL2-4 ES 4-Port USB3 hub for a couple of weeks before posting. I also decided to extend the wait until after the release of Windows 8.1 so I could include this OS version too.

Packaging -
The cardboard box the hub is packaged in is extremely strong and so the hub is well protected during transit.

Presentatation -
The hub itself is covered by a small plastic bag, with the ~20cm lead coiled around it in the box stopping it moving around. The shiny black plastic fascia on the top of the box has the usual removable plastic film protecting it. Upon removal, this really makes the appearance of the hub look very smart indeed.

Configuration -
The top of the hub has three USB3 ports located on it. I was initially puzzled as to the location of the fourth socket, but this can be found at the opposite end of the hub to that of the USB3 cable used for connection to your PC.

System Compatibility -
Upon plugging in the hub to my Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 computers, the hub was recognised instantly by the systems as a USB3 hub. As these computers all have USB3 sockets (cards) in them, USB3 functionality was used.
Plugging the hub into a USB2 hub obviously limits the hub to USB2 speeds and power supplying capabilities.

The long term reliability test -
Plugged into the hub are two Seagate STBV4000200 Expansion 4TB USB 3.0 3.5 inch External Hard Drive, a Plugable USB3-HDMI-DVI USB 3.0 to HDMI/DVI Adapter for Multiple Monitors up to 2048x1152/1920x1080 Each (DisplayLink DL-3500 Chipset), and a fully-populated 4-bay USB2 Century EX35SW4_SB4 drive caddy.
There have been no dropouts in video or data that I have noticed. There are no related errors present in the system "Event Viewer" either. Pretty impressive.

Other devices tested -
PC Trading® Portable Slim Line USB 3.5" 1.44Mb External Floppy Disk Drive - Compatible with Win 98, Win 2000, Win XP, Win Vista, Win 7 (32-Bit + 64-Bit) - Driver CD Included - Black: Worked perfectly.
Plugable USB Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy Micro Adapter (Windows 8 and Linux Compatible; Classic Bluetooth Compatible): Worked perfectly.

Non-Windows devices test -
Synology DS713+ DiskStation (Diskless) 2 Bay Desktop NAS Enclosure
The DS713+ is a Linux-based (Busybox) NAS system. The rear USB3 ports were used for a successful test.
Synology DS2411+ 12 Bay Desktop with NAS Enclosure
An older and larger system than the DS713+ only having USB2 ports. Again a successful test.

For Windows testing -
Windows 8.1 Pro 64bit, with an Inateck Superspeed 4 Ports PCI-E to USB 3.0 Expansion Card - Interface USB 3.0 4-Port Express Card Desktop with 15 pin SATA Power Connector, [ Include with A 4pin to 2x15pin Cable + A 15pin to 2x 15pin SATA Y-Cable ] used as the system interface card.

I did some really (and I mean *REALLY*) quick and dirty speed tests using Directory Opus 10 to copy between various drives. The values are probably not accurate, but show rather an idea of the speed differences between setups -

USBTest1 4TB HDD on hub > 2nd 4TB HDD on hub... Approx 68MB/s

USBTest2 C: SATA3 drive on motherboard > 4TB on hub... Approx 104MB/s

USBTest2 4TB on hub > USB2 drive in caddy on hub... Approx 23MB/s

USBTest2 C: SATA3 drive on motherboard > USB2 drive in caddy on hub... Approx 35MB/s

Pros -
Self-Powered
Compact
Robust Cable
Smart Appearance
RELIABLE
Works with Synology Diskstations' USB3 ports.
Have not noticed any interference with wireless devices - The Bluetooth adapter, my Logitech Wireless Mouse and MS Keyboard. (USB3 devices have been reported to upset 2.4GHz band devices in close proximity)

Cons -
Self-Powered - The total current that devices plugged into the hub must be less than 0.9A as that is all that a single USB3 socket the hub is plugged into can supply. In reality, it will probably less than this as the hub needs power to operate too. When plugged into a USB2 port, the current supply capability will drop to under 0.5A, depending on the USB2 socket specification.
Short Cable (~20cm)
Stiff Cable (see "Robust" in "Pros" above) means that it does not always sit "nicely" on the desktop

In summary, I can honestly say that the hub has performed faultlessly for several weeks now - small and reliable.
From my own experience with trying to get various different other-chipset-based hubs to work reliably, this really is a major relief!
In light of the sentence above, I really did try to find fault with the hub as I have been through hell the last couple of months trying to get USB3 hardware to work reliably with Windows 8. I purchased several USB3 PCI-Express cards before settling on the Inateck 4-Port card linked further up in the review as the only one that did not fail me. (My system has two of these in it, both bought and paid for by *ME*)
Others will obviously have different hardware experiences. What works for one may not work for others. One thing that stood out though, was some chipsets and drivers from some manufacturers do not play nice with others.
My advice is to find a set of hardware that works for you, and stick with it.

Even if it had not been provided free as a review device, I would still given this the same review score. Like I said, it works for me, and works well.
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Review Details

Item

Reviewer

Susan
(REAL NAME)   

Location: Tilbury, United Kingdom

Top Reviewer Ranking: 11,267