Sabrent USB 3.0 Hub review – Plug more devices into your Xbox console, tablet, or computer for cheap Surface Pro

Now that several wired controllers are available for Xbox One (Power A's Mini Series controller and Spectra controllers, plus some on the way from PDP), a gamer could easily run short of USB ports on his or her shiny new console. Plug a hard drive and keyboard into your rear ports and you're left with only one to spare. You can hardly plug in multiple wired controllers or flash drives with media files under those situations.

Thus a USB 3.0 hub is in order. Of course there are no Xbox One-specific USB hubs, but pretty much any USB 3.0 hub will do the trick. With that in mind, I grabbed the Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub (HB-SGAR) for a mere ten bucks on Amazon. This little hub is perfect for Xbox One and 360 use (it supports USB 2.0 as well), and also goes great with Windows 8 and RT devices like the Surface.

A shapely hub

The Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub has a black square shape with rounded edges. It measures just 2 x 2 x .5 inches (52 x 52 x 13 mm or so). The front face of the hub hosts a Sabrent logo and a single blue LED. The rear is featureless except for a sticker with model and serial number.

Each side of the Sabrent hub's square holds a single blue-colored USB 3.0 port. With all of them being spaced out, you won't have to worry about a larger device getting in the way of the others.

The Sabrent hub plugs into your console, computer, or tablet via a 9-inch USB cable. That's a fair length, providing a decent amount of flexibility with where you can position the hub.

Sabrent USB 3.0 Hub review – Plug more devices into your Xbox console, tablet, or computer for cheap

Power to the people

Before you purchase any USB hub, you want to make sure it can meet your power and data transfer needs. The Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub can handle the data transfer stuff as well as anything, since it meets the USB 3.0 transfer spec of 5GB per second. Of course it's USB 2.0 compatible as well, making it appropriate for use with USB 2.0 systems like the Xbox 360 or Surface RT.

Power is another story. This hub supports the use of an AC adapter, but it doesn't include one. The store description doesn't tell you the type of adapter you'd need, but Sabrent filled me in during our email communications. They offer an AC Adapter that works with this and other USB hubs for $12.99.

All on its own, the Sabrent hub supports a total current of 5 volts 900 mAh. I'm not sure how much power that really is, but the manufacturer recommends against trying to power a USB 3.0 hard drive with it. Still, the hub can handle common USB 3.0 or 2.0 devices easily enough, such as game controllers, keyboards, memory sticks, headsets, printers, etc.

External hard drives and 2.4 GHz wireless devices are pretty much the only things you wouldn't use with it. USB 3.0 hubs reportedly interfere with 2.4 GHz wireless devices, you see.

Sabrent USB 3.0 Hub review – Plug more devices into your Xbox console, tablet, or computer for cheap Xbox One

As an example, I connected the Sabrent hub to my Xbox One's front side USB port and then loaded it up with two Power A Xbox One controllers, a keyboard, and a flash drive. Everything worked great. The hub is much easier to reach than the Xbox One's front side port to begin with, and I love being able to plug in multiple devices at once.

I also spot tested the Sabrent hub with my Surface Pro and Xbox 360. In both cases, it passed with flying colors.

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of USB 3.0 hubs out there to choose from. If you're buying specifically for a Surface tablet, you might consider the Juiced Systems Surface Adapters. But for general or console use, the Sabrent 4-port USB 3.0 Hub really impresses. It's only ten bucks on Amazon and eligible for free Prime shipping, making it a great buy for Prime shoppers.

  • Sabrent HB-SGAR 4-port USB 3.0 Hub – $9.99 – Amazon Link
  • Sabrent power adapter for USB hubs – $12.99 – Amazon Link