If there is one complaint that people have against the supremely impressive Apple MacBooks, it is that the number of USB ports are not sufficient. MacBook Air and MacBook Pro have only two USB ports, and while this may be enough for most people, there are many who feel that a few more ports would have been better.
External devices like USB flash drives, external hard drives, mobile phones, computer mouse, handheld gaming consoles, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and MP3 players can all be connected to a MacBook through the USB port, and it is quite disappointing to see only two of these in Macbook. This is where the USB hub comes into the picture.
It's an interconnecting device that has up to 7 USB outlets at one end. So it enables one to connect a maximum of 7 peripheral devices to one single USB port on the machine. The utility of this device need not be explained, and it is a great solution for people who feel constricted by the number of USB ports.
Powered vs Unpowered USB Hubs
An important choice needs to be made when you are picking a hub, and this involves choosing between a powered and an unpowered hub. As the name suggests, the former has its own source of power so it will need to be connected to an external power outlet once it has been attached to the MacBook. This will result in faster transfer speeds, and no loss of MacBook battery if you are attaching several peripherals.
On the other hand, an unpowered USB hub derives its power from the computer itself. This is fine, if your MacBook is connected to a power outlet, but if you are running on the MacBook's battery then you will see a massive drop in the battery level in no time. Transfer speeds are also lower in this case. These hubs are good for people who carry their MacBook around a lot, but it is always better to use a powered hub, or at least connect the MacBook to a power outlet if an unpowered one is attached to it.
Top USB Hubs for MacBook Air
Once you have figured out your usage needs and made a choice between a powered and an unpowered hub, you can pick one from amongst the following. As mentioned before, it is advisable to pick the best one if you are certain that you will have access to a power outlet at all times.
- Belkin 4-Port USB Hub
- CyberPower CP-H720P 7-Port USB Hub
- D-Link (DUB-H7) 7-Port USB Hub
- Dynamode 4-Port Passive USB 2.0 Micro Hub
- Entrega MAC-HUB-7U 7-Port USB Hub
- IOgear 4-Port Wireless USB Hub
- Kensington DomeHub 7-Port USB 2.0 Weighted Hub 33118
- Linksys Compact USB 4-Port Hub
- Macally 4-Port Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hub for Mac
- Sabrent Arkview Premium USB 2.0 7-Port Hub
- Startech 4-Port USB 2.0 Self Powered Hub
- Strand USB 4-Port Hub
- Trust HU-440P 4-Port USB 2.0 Mini Hub
Top USB Hubs for MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro has a similar problem as the MacBook Air when it comes to USB ports. Additionally, many people complain that the two USB ports are so close to each other that it is difficult to connect even two devices at the same time. This is another reason for which a USB hub is essential for MacBook Pro owners, and here are some popular choices to pick from.
- Belkin F5U526-APL
- CTG 7-Port 2.0 Hub Aluminum
- IOgear GUH275 4-Port
- Logitech Premium 4-Port
- Port Designs iHome IH-U561SW 7-Port
- Sabrent SBT-U2H4 4-Port
- Targus PAUH112U 4-Port
- Targus TCH81US
- Ultramax Ultra ULT40290 HUB
There are no restrictions about which machine a specific hub works with, so you do not have to look for a hub for a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro separately. The same hub will work with both the models, and it will even work with Windows based laptops.