Looking like what early impressions of an alien space ship might be like; a circular disc with thin sides and thicker in the middle this hub from Cygnett does but a single thing it charges your USB devices using mains power and offering five outlets around the disc.
Five equally spaced ports around the side and the sixth space is taken where the two prong mains leads is inserted. The five USB ports take 180degrees of the circle with the mains lead entering mid-way through the other half of the product. It is white in colour with blue lettering on the top and a blue band around the middle highlighting where the five charge ports are, it is 9cm across.
The datAshur USB flash drive from iStorage, available in capacities from 4 to 32GB has been designed to provide military grade protection for ones data from both unauthorised access -- electronic and physical -- as well as loss due to the drive getting damaged.
The drive is 78 x 18 x 8 mm and has a large key ring attached. It is black in colour with a 1 to 0 keypad and LEDs on one side. Its overall weight, with the supplied extruded aluminium sleeve in place, is about 25g and is fractionally larger at 80 x 20 x 10.5mm.
A rather unusual piece of kit that can be used to solve problems that you thought were not resolvable. In effect this plugs into a USB3 port to give you HDMI, VGA and Ethernet connections and increase the range of your PC/Notebook.
It is 12.5x5.5x2cm and weights 78grams with the hard wired 10cm USB plug that flips out. Often when I get to review notebooks I mention that a docking station is available to add the bits that were not on the main device, this is normally a proprietary product and has a high price as it is manufactured for a single system so made in small numbers. Here a solution to solve most of the problems from a generic box that plugs into a USB3 port.
First a Smart Phone projector for £15.95, does that sound too good to be true then read on to find out the facts. Second something that requires no assembly a red Chilli Pepper that is a four port USB hub, simple but still useful.
This is a box, a clever box but a box. If you are good at puzzles or assembling flat pack furniture then this is right up your street. There are instructions and plenty of part numbers, but the easiest way is to watch the video guide.
Our data is often personal and we like to keep it with us when out and about. This next product offers to help in this respect.
While the title of this next product might make you think of a comic book Super Hero character, I was a fan of Captain Marvel in my youth, and some might feel its functionality is such that there is a definite link in there somewhere. And of course there is the design emblem that could re-enforce the Super Hero connection but more on that a little latter.
A lot of my time recently has involved showing screens of one device on another device (Mirroring) this is a young task and the solutions sometimes do and sometimes dont work. This tiny device from Kingston is rather better at transferring data between two incompatible devices.
A few Android devices had a simple cable that connected a micro USB port to one that allowed you to insert a standard memory stick into it as if it was a standard USB port; this was a great feature that for some reason did not work with all devices. If you can persuade your Android device to show USB storage then this will normally work. To do this I found that a free App from the Play Store ES File Explorer is the most likely to give you this functionality.
Small enough to fit into your pocket, a product from Sandberg proves that not all Android devices are created equal.
TLAs (that’s Three Letter Acronyms) are not restricted to the IT sector but they are certainly a favourite with many who occupy this particular environment. One of the more recent TLAs to come to my attention is OTG with the arrival of a product from our friends at Sandberg – more on this product a little later. OTG is not to be confused with the similar OTT.
Vendors Verbatim and Kingston Technology are both using the USB OTG (On-The-Go) technology to enable users to overcome the lack of a micro-SD slot in some Android tablets or smartphones which prevents additional memory being added. This technology provides the means of expanding the storage of compatible devises to as much as 64GB.
OTG is an enhancement to the USB specification. It allows a compatible tablet or smartphone to act as a host to which flash drives and other USB devices can be attached. This is a very useful facility as it can be used to provide a device with additional memory as well as enabling files to be backed up without the need of a PC connection. Then, in due course, as the flash memory stick has a standard USB connector, it is also a simple task to subsequently transfer files to/from a PC.
As winter draws on it is becoming more and more useful to have a torch with you. Not only does the ifrogz GoLite meet this need it also provides a pocket sized universal battery backup for virtually any smartphone.
The GoLite has a polished black plastic surface and is 105mm long. It has a roughly square cross section with its gently curved sides being patterned over two-thirds of their length. This makes it easier to find the “business end” in the dark when needing to use the torch. Conveniently positioned to be reached with one’s thumb is the three-position slide switch: torch on / off / charge external device.
Offering to increase the connectivity options of your laptop is a new product from Sandberg
Modern desktop systems usually offer a reasonable collection of USB ports often split between the front and rear of the box. Currently taking up space in my work area are a couple of tower systems that feature a pair of front mounted USB ports for those occasions when you need quick and easy temporally access. Several more USB ports are located at the rear of these boxes for more permanent connection such as peripherals (scanner, printer, etc.).
Backward compatible with previous versions of the technology, the latest incarnation of USB offers various enhancements that might appeal.
Originally developed back in 1996, the Universal Serial Bus (commonly referred to as USB) was meant to be the panacea for the connection issues between computers and attached peripherals that were causing users headaches. As often happens, especially in the field of computing, the first incarnation of the technology promised more than it could deliver as it struggled to cope with compatibility and the ever-increasing demands for more speed. USB 2.
Neither of these items will break the bank and both are useful and likely to be used so are an ideal present. First a charger for use in most of the world, second something even smaller a cable with a rotating end to charge micro USB and Apple.
In essence a Mains powered USB charger however it not only comes with 13amp plug but also those used in Europe and Australia. It is 7x4x2.5cm before you attach whatever plug end suits your area. With the UK plug fitted it becomes 8x8x3cm. So at this point you think why - when there are lots of 13amp ways to charge your USB device - is this iLuv offering any different.
No matter how many USB ports you have, there could come a time when none are available for a new device especially when support for USB 3.0 is required.
If the various computer systems I have looked at recently are anything to go by then USB 3.0 is gradually overtaking USB 2.0 with regards to the available USB ports built into the box. While there has not been an avalanche of new peripherals supporting this new faster technology (presumably due to cost considerations and the fact that not all types of peripherals would benefit from the faster data rate available with USB 3.0), you could find yourself struggling to find an available USB 3.
Kingston produce a slightly oversize memory stick and this can easily be 32GB, they also produce one that the cap is bigger than the memory module think tiny USB receivers for keyboards and mice and these can be 8 or 16GB.
With cap in place it is 7.5x2.2x1.5cm and weights 20grams. Doing a range of tests data was transferred to it nearly six times faster than with the USB2 below. Same machine and same data and even using the same USB port. The only difference was that this was a 16GB unit and the USB2 one is 8GB, the data was a range of MP3 and video files totalling just over 5GB.
Here I am looking at two rather different USB hubs. The first is branded with the Highstar name and not only is a hub but also a memo pad and has a clock and temperature sensor. The second is far more normal both come from Brando in Hong Kong.
Not only is this a hub but also a clock a temperature gauge an alarm clock and an erasable illuminated memo pad. It is 14x7x12cm overall size. Where the hub is at the back of the unit it is 9x2cm, at the front where the clock is 10.5x5cm. The illuminated Perspex is 14x10cm set 1.5cm behind the clock, a pen to write on the Perspex is included. This is a USB2 hub and unless you set the clock at 90degrees to yourself then the ports will always have the Perspex between you and the ports.
As files become larger they tend to take longer when transferring them between devices. One way to speed up this process is through the use of the latest technology.
By far the most common method of attaching peripherals to a Windows computer is through the use of USB connectivity. This technology, which initially promised the ability to daisy-chain units but failed to deliver this feature, in its various guises has appeared in approximately 6 billion devices sold to date since it was first introduced in January 1996 with a transfer rate of 1.5 Mbits/s. Moving forward to September 1998 saw the arrival of version 1.
Yes the Hong Kong USB kings have produced a small real fish aquarium but of course it does much more. Second a small phone and other portable devices charger that uses solar power to provide the power to charge.
This unit is a small real tank but it is likely that most will use it for effect and the other features of clock and thermometer. It is 24x10x21cm, all the non fish activity is on the right side with the clock display, light and the water pump. The mini USB to USB lead is 80cm long. The aquarium part comes with pebbles and even some plastic greenery. There is a six LED light on toughened wire that allows it to be suspended either above the aquarium of to shine elsewhere even towards the clock.
An interesting mix an executive toy and something that never existed in my childhood pens designed especially for use for left or right handed children, they even do different models according to the age of the child.
Brando from Hong Kong has cornered the market in quirky devices that are in some way powered by USB. Here a USB hub with a touch responsive Plasma Ball, the second DJ Mix Turntable, both these items are fun things.
It is 14cm to the top of the ball which starts 6.5cm from the base. The hub is the base and is 9cm across but there are the four ports - two on each side with the spaces in between filled by the USB to mini USB lead and a simple on/off switch that controls only the Plasma ball the USB ports are live all the time the cable is connected. Of course from the point of view of a man this is not perfect, the glass sphere is of course clear but the Plasma when idle is P I N K.
Back to Hong Kong for two further USB items, the first a Skype (or other VOIP handset) that is shaped just like an old BT handset. The second a USB stick that is made from a set of three dice, either would make ideal presents.