The Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub is a thin, and very useful accessory that offers a functional way to add four more USB 3.0 ports to your connectivity starved laptop, at a very cheap price.
PROS: Thin and incredibly portable. Fully functional without external power. Reliable performance.
CONS: A microSD port would be better.
For the next few weeks, I will be using an Acer Chromebook R 11 for some of my text-and web-based tasks. First, it’s thin and very light, and costs a fraction of other ultraportables in the market, but it has a fairly significant flaw: I can’t connect all my peripherals at once. Its connectivity is limited to just a few, daily-use ports: one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and a single HDMI. For Apple fans who have recently bought MacBooks, the problem of a single USB-C port is all-familiar.
In my case, this is where the Anker 4-port USB 3.0 Data Hub comes in. For $9.99 at Amazon ,it’s much cheaper that many USB 3.0 adapters and hubs, but it’s also much more functional and reliable. Its an excellent pick for those in need of a more robust set of ports for their laptops with limited I/O options.
Measuring 3.0 by 1.03 by 1.0 inches (HWD), the Anker is a black-colored box with an 8.4-inch extending from the left edge and terminating in a USB 3.0 connector. All four USB 3.0 ports sit on the from side alongside a power icon indicating pass-through charging. That’s all, it just works as it is supposed to, no extra ports like HDMI, USB-C or SD card slot – sometimes you need it this simple.
Works with Notebook PCs, MacBooks, Chromebooks, and more
I needed to connect my camera, transfer some projects from an external HDD and a flash drive all from my Chromebook, all I did was plug the cable into the USB 3.0 and I was sorted. Each of the four USB 3.0 ports work simultaneously and perfectly. The external drive and camera showed up as external storage, and I even connected an external mouse that worked as soon as it was plugged in, and the flash drive was also detected.
The Anker doesn’t require external power to function, so you really don’t need to keep it plugged into your charger if the powering device has enough power to run. It still outputs enough power over the USB 3.0 port and all slots stay active running just from the USB connection to your device.
Apart from the Chromebook, I tested it over an iMac and a 13-inch MacBook Pro. It works just as reliably, detecting a wired mouse and three storage devices I connected to the hub. I didn’t experience any hiccups with everything hooked, and the MacBook was responsive as usual. Th Anker works with Windows laptops as well.
The Bottom Line
The Anker 4-Port USB 3.0 Data Hub is thin, usable, functional and very reliable. For $9.99 at Amazon it is very inexpensive compared with most USB 3.0 hubs available online, but those hubs have very short connector cables, and more importantly aren’t nearly as reliable based on the ones we’ve tested, especially those with individual switches that sometimes fail.
The Anker 4-Port Data Hub works exactly as it should, a channel for managing external storage, peripherals and data transfers from notebooks, desktops, MacBooks and Chromebooks with ease. If you pack light enough that your notebook doesn’t offer the full array of ports for your taste, the Anker can sit alongside an external battery pack as your best itinerary for travelling.