D-Link DUB-H7 High Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub

Reviewed by Sunthar Visuvalingam

[The original version of this review that was posted at Amazon on 20 May 2007 is being fleshed out further here]

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I ordered this DUB-H7 from Amazon on 08 May 2009, received it on 18 May, and was immediately able to plug in and use all my existing USB peripherals without a problem.

My Dell Inspiron 6400 laptop has only 4 USB ports, which meant that I had  to switch among my 6 USB peripherals:

Western Digital MyBook Premium II 1TB powered external hard-drive
Maxtor Mini OneTouch III 160GB USB-powered hard-drive
Plantronics 550 DSP USB headset
Corsair Voyager 64GB USB flash drive
Logitech QuickCam Orbit webcam
Canon CanoScan LIDE 5000F USB-powered scanner

The Maxtor itself had occupied 2 USB slots on my laptop because, a short time after I first installed it, it needed more power than it could draw from a single slot. I transferred the scanner to my wife's laptop, and more recently installed a Firewire 800 adapter in my Inspiron express card slot in order to connect to my external WD drive for better speed and reliability (in addition to gaining a USB slot). So over the last couple of months I studied reviews of compact and inexpensive powered 7-port hubs not just to ensure future expansion but also to avoid the hassle of having to connect and disconnect cables from my laptop each time I'm on the move. The main competitors I also looked at were similar compact 7-port hubs from Cyberpower and Cables to Go, which also had a large number of reviews.

While impressed by the overwhelming number of favorable 5-star reviews from satisfied Amazon customers who were able to simply plug-and-play their USB peripherals without a problem, I hesitated because of the large number of unhappy customers who complained of peripherals not being recognized, being disconnected intermittently, working at subnormal speeds, of the DUB-H7 ceasing to function after a brief period of use (and the same happening to the replacements), and of poor and ignorant customer service from D-Link. I finally decided to take the plunge because of Amazon's stellar reputation for no-questions-asked refund on returned products. Moreover, though the Amazon price was $31.08 (list price is $45.99), the current $10 mail-in-rebate from D-Link coupled with Amazon free SuperSaver shipping brought the final price ($21.08) to slightly lower than the going rate on eBay (even for used items).

Upon receipt of the DUB-H7 on 18 May 2009, I immediately unplugged all the above USB devices and re-plugged them one-by-one into the live hub. Each of them was immediately recognized and works as if it were directly plugged into my Inspiron laptop. When I reboot the computer, all the devices are recognized, as they also are when the USB plugs are disconnected and reconnected on the fly (whenever possible I use the Safely Remove Hardware operation, sometimes this function does not work and I simply ignore it). Such is the convenience that I have now started reusing the USB (instead of Firewire 800) connection to my Western Digital (the slower speeds are hardly noticeable and this hard drive is largely used for external storage). The Maxtor OneTouch still requires 2 slots on the powered hub, but this was already the case when it was connected directly to my laptop.

Also, the vertical orientation of the 7 USB slots with sufficient space in between allows me to use all the slots without squeezing and possibly damaging the neighboring device. This is especially true of the Corsair flash drive and mobile broadband USB key from 3 (the UK operator) that I was using recently in the UK. Of the Inspiron 6400's 4 horizontal USB slots, 2 are side-by-side at the back of the laptop and the remaining 2 are stacked one-on-top-of-the-other on the side panel. This prevented these 2 devices from allowing the neighboring slot to be used, either because of their width (behind) or thickness (side). This is not a problem with the DUB-H7 because of the slots are vertical and well spaced. Moreover, the power jack and USB slot that connects to the computer are on the opposite side ('front') of the hub from this row of USB slots ('back') for the peripherals. So all the peripheral cables can be kept out of sight leading away from your desk behind your laptop.

Now when I have to take my Inspiron 6400 on the road, all I need to do is to disconnect the hub (and reconnect when I return).  I have submitted my rebate form to D-Link today (20 May) instead of waiting for a month as I had originally anticipated. This means that I can no longer return the DUB-H7 to Amazon, but I'm counting on D-Link's one-year warranty should the hub, by any chance, die out on me before the warranty expires.

Based on my above experience, I wholly recommend D-Link DUB-H7 High Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub (without attempting to compare its performance with the competitors).