Belkin is a computer accessories company, making
everything from Ethernet cables, USB hubs, uninterruptable power supplies,
network punch terminals, keyboard stands, to iPod docks. Over the 10 years or so
PCSTATS has been dealing with Belkin, the companies products have ranged from
great to absolutely horrendous - I'm looking at you Belkin 1100VA UPS, winner of the worst
product ever award! This company has always invested in good design, so
every once in a while when a new Belkin product crosses the PCSTATS bench we're apt
to test it with an open mind.
In this quick review PCSTATS is looking at a really
simple 7-port powered USB 2.0 hub from Belkin called the F5U307-BRN,
it comes in white or brown and runs about $35 USD. The Belkin F5U307
ships with a data cable to connect it to the host computer and a
5V DC power adaptor. The 7-port hub operates at 480Mbps USB 2.0 speeds but is
backwards compatible with USB 1.1 and USB 3.0 devices (at USB 2.0 or 1.1
speeds). While it can support a few USB drives without the power adaptor
connected, the Belkin 7-port F5U307-BRN is technically considered a
powered USB 2.0 Hub.
The hub itself measures 150x85x17mm in size and is made
from a combination of hard and rubberized
plastic. The unit is weighted so it will stay put when USB thumb
drives or cables are plugged in, which is a nice touch. If you've ever
used one of those ubiquitous 'cheap USB hub' you know they're light as a
feather and require two hands to connect anything, so the weight and four rubber feet of
the F5U307 go a long way to improving the usability of
this device. There Belkin F5U307 has five ports at rear for wires and such.
Two USB ports located on the top of the hub, these are convenient
for dropping in a thumb drive.
Belkin 7-Port USB 2.0 Desk
INCLUDES: Installation Guide, USB 2.0 cable, AC power
horizontal, (2) vertical
Along right edge of the Belkin hub is a rubberized cable
management loop, intended to keep stray cables from falling down behind
the desk where they're near impossible to get at. I suppose it's a
useful feature if you have more than 7 USB cables to plug in and find yourself swapping
wires frequently? There's also a square hole right in the middle of the hub
measuring 24x19mm - no idea what this is for.
While using the Belkin F5U307 hub we
noticed that Belkin is a little tight on the spacing of the USB ports. The top
two USB ports are spaced 6mm apart while the rear USB ports are positioned 5mm apart. These port
spacings are within the standard USB spec, but with a desktop hub it's always
nice to have a little extra room to maneuver bulky USB thumb drives about. Clearance
from the edge of the rear USB ports to the table surface is a scant ~4mm.
Hidden behind the dark brown front plastic bezel of the hub
is a strip of green status LEDs which indicate which USB ports are populated.
We like that Belkin tucked these lights away, status LEDs are useful
when you're troubleshooting a wonky USB device but no one needs to look at a
row of LEDs all day long, do they?
Coming up in the last half of
the review, the last half of the review.
Belkin F5U307 7-port USB hub from all
There are five USB 2.0 ports at the rear of the Belkin F5U307 hub. The two small connectors
at left are the 5V DC power connection and mini-USB data link for the hub-to-host-computer connection. The USB 2.0 ports are spaced
together 5mm apart... a little close for our liking but sufficient for wires.
Front view showing the rubberized cable management loop
status lights illuminate when the corresponding USB 2.0
port is connected to a device.
The Belkin F5U307 hub has a nice appearance that doesn't
look excessively 'techie' on an office desk. Cable management is good,
wires out the back and space for two USB thumb
drives to be plugged in the top of the unit.
Rubberized feet keep the hub from sliding around on the
desktop as wires or devices are connected to it.
The power brick is built thin so it only takes up
one plug slot on a power bar, nice touch.
The cable management loop is good for two or three wires,
The top USB ports are positioned 6mm apart, which is
kind of tight when two USB drives are plugged in. The Patriot 64GB USB 3.0 thumb drive fit okay, but older and
bulkier pen drives like the Kingston DataTraveler
were kind of tight.
Bottom line, with a retail price of $35USD, the Belkin F5U307 7-port USB 2.0 powered desktop hub is
an aesthetically good looking device for desktop use in formal office
environments. If you just need a hub for the home or
IT lab, you can find similarly equipped USB hubs for a lot less money though. On the whole, the
Belkin F5U307 is a solidly constructed device that does job.
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