Ultra Products 7 Port USB Buddy Hub
Author: Shawn Knight
Editor: Frank Stroupe
Date: 10-24-2007
Provided by: Ultra Products
Discuss: View Comments
Pages:
Installation/Testing/Conclusion

Installation of the Buddy Hub is very easy. Plug in the power adapter, then connect your USB devices to the front of the hub and finally, connect the two USB cables from the back of the hub to each computer.

I will be testing the Buddy Hub using the two computers that I spoke of earlier: main work system and my test system.



From left to right, we have: Logitech G15 Keyboard (which has my MX Revolution mouse plugged into it), Apple iPhone, Logitech Quick Cam Pro 9000, USB cable for my digital camera, HP Printer, CoolIT Beverage Chiller and Crucial Technology Card Reader.

When in use, there are only two options for each device: computer A or computer B. When both computers are powered on, the red LED indicates the device is being used with computer A and the green LED indicates computer B. If one computer is off and you are not using a device on the computer that is on, neither LED is lit and thus, the device isn't being used. This also applies for devices that aren't always "on", such as your camera cable. The LED indicator will remain unlit until you plug your camera in for a data transfer.

Conclusion

The Ultra Products Buddy Hub works exactly as advertised. It allows you to use up to seven devices across two different computers with the simple push of a button. Not having to reach behind your computer to swap devices or make room for additional input devices is great and has made my workstation that much more efficient. Granted, I won't be using all seven ports all the time, but it is nice to have that many available. The main components that I will probably be sharing across both systems are the keyboard, mouse, card reader and camera plug. Overall, the hub really helped to clean up my desk area and also freed up several more USB ports.

The hub itself is compact and the black color should match most color schemes well. The two included USB cables are very long, which is a plus. The power adapter cable is a good bit shorter, but still had plenty of length for my application.

There are, however, a few things that I could find with the Buddy Hub that I feel could use improvement. First, the feet on the bottom of the hub are plastic and offer no type of grip which allows the hub to slide around easily on the desk when swapping USB devices. Rubberized feet would certain be a welcomed addition here and would help keep the hub stationary. Also, the fact that there is no "off" button on the hub is a bit of a letdown. If both computers are on, a particular device is either connected to computer A or computer B. Sure, you could simply unplug the device, but that is extra work. Finally, since all seven of the USB ports are so close together, you might lose access to the adjacent port if one of your devices is larger than normal. A good example of this would be an oversized flash drive.



If you find yourself working on two different computers frequently and are looking to save some real estate on your desk, I would certainly give the Ultra Products Buddy Hub a look. As of writing, the Buddy Hub can be found for around $30.00 USD online. Despite the shortcomings of the Buddy Hub, I would still recommend it if you find yourself in a situation like mine.




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