Review #33: QuantumZERO 7-port USB 3.0 Hub

The hub certainly looks the part with its glossy black and white combination, even though it is apologetically plastic. It is compact enough to fit in the palm of the hand and light enough to carry around stuffed in a trouser packet. Functionally, it ticks off all the right boxes by having a separate LED for the power supply as well as individual ones for each port which light up as soon as the attached device starts drawing current. Speaking of power supply, the hub necessarily needs the included power supply to function unlike some hubs that can operate off the USB connection alone in the absence of the power supply.

One of the prominently advertised aspects of the hub is the Via VL813 chipset. VIA chipsets are popular for their excellent compatibility with different host systems and OS. The VL813 is Via's 3rd generation USB 3.0 chipset and is purported to resolve some of the power supply issues of the previous generation chipsets. However, one important thing to keep in mind is that it is a 4-port chipset, so I assume that the 6 regular ports have been daisy-chained and thus share bandwidth as well as power.

The proof is in the pudding and hence the best way to judge this hub was to compare its performance with my old Anker 4-port USB 3.0 hub that isn't externally powered. This should be a good way of judging the benefits of a powered USB hub like this one. I tested the data transfer and charging capabilities of both the hubs when not loaded as well as when fully loaded. The table below captures the read/write performance of a SSD as well as the charging of a phone capable of drawing up to 2A. The devices connected for each scenario are as follows:

1. Charging only
  • Charging phone (capable of 2A) at 76%
2. Loaded - 4 ports
  • USB 3.0 64GB SSD 
  • USB 3.0 2 TB HDD 
  • USB 3.0 2 TB HDD 
  • Charging phone (capable of 2A) at 76%
3. Loaded - 7 ports
  • USB 3.0 64GB SSD 
  • USB 3.0 2 TB HDD 
  • USB 3.0 2 TB HDD 
  • Charging phone (capable of 2A) at 76%
  • USB 2.0 pen drive 
  • USB 2.0 pen drive 
  • Scanner 

As can be seen from the table above, the performance of this powered hub is pretty much identical to that of one that isn't externally powered. The only benefit is that the dedicated charging port is capable of supplying up to 1.5A while also transferring data, provided the device meets the Battery Charging 1.2 standard. Curiously, for the same charging percentage, the charge current was higher when the hub was completely loaded with devices as compared to having no other devices connected.

To conclude. is it worth paying a premium over a hub that isn't powered? I sure think not because I returned this product, preferring to stay with my current Anker 4-port hub for data transfer, even if it means having to juggle between devices. As for my multi-USB charging needs, I opted for Anker's PowerPort 4.

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