Review: VisionTek Charge & Sync USB 3.0 Seven Port Hub Great for Desktops and Travel

It's rare that a desktop peripheral can also be a great travel companion, but in the case of the VisionTek Charge & Sync USB 3.0 Seven Port Hub ($54.99), a desktop add-on to the port-challenged MacBook Air 11 (and any other USB compatible computer), travel is in its nature. 

Ideal for trips

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This is a pretty small hub compared to my other one, which is a Tardis (of course, it is bigger on the inside so that makes everything else look extra diminutive). At only 0.90" x 4.30" x 1.80"  (and 0.29 lbs) this USB hub fits into most travel situations easily. The only drawback is a proprietary charger, but that may well prove its most useful feature. This hub differentiates itself by combining the power for port replication with the power of, well, just power. Even when the hub is disconnected from my MacBook Air, it contains three fully powered ports that will charge two iPhones or iPods or an iPad. The VisionTek hub fully integrates USB charging with dedicated ports (run from an international power adapter that just requires a receptacle adapter for international use).

Solid Specs

The brushed aluminum enclosure fits the Mac aesthetic well, though it will also look great next to an Ultrabook. The device includes four USB 3.0 ports with 5 GB (600 MB) SuperSpeed data transfer connectivity and 900mA bus power for digital cameras, external hard drives, flash drives, and printers. For fast connection status verification, amber colored LED’s indicate when each USB 3 port is in use. In addition to the four powered USB ports, the device includes two 1A ports for charging phones and iPods, and a 2A port for charging iPads. These ports, as well as the USB connection ports, are driven by a UL Listed international auto switching 3 amp/36 watt power supply.

The only downside is the power supply, but if you think of this USB hub as the only hub/charger you need on your trip, then the power supply doesn’t end up being a burden. I would, however, really like to see a device like this with an internal power supply accompanied by a lightweight cord, but perhaps that isn’t practical with USB hubs, as I’ve never seen one configured that way. It would make a hub a bit heavier, but would make travel easier. Just a thought, designers. 

A Final Plug

My MacBook Air 11 only comes with two USB 3.0 ports. One is permanently dedicated to a 64GB tiny USB memory stick on which iTunes resides. The other is usually connected to this VisionTek Hub so the MacBook can perform beyond its port constraints. When I travel, I use this hub as, well, my hub, replacing various travel chargers, leaving me with one hub of power to rule all my connection and charging needs (but I also bring a backup multi device charger, just in case!)

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Daniel Rasmus's picture

Daniel W. Rasmus is the Founder and Principal Analyst at Serious Insights. He is the author of Listening to the Future, Management by Design and Sketches of Spain and Other Poems. Rasmus teaches at Bellevue College where he teaches Social Media and Personal Branding.