It's rare to come up with a Friday Favorite for something as seemingly ho-hum as a USB hub, but this particular model caught my eye a while ago when a colleague brought it with him on a project. "What is that?" I asked, wonderingly. The blue glow of the ports was so hypnotic that I nearly missed his explanation, "It's my favorite USB hub; I bring it with me everywhere."
The Satechi 12-port hub wouldn't look out of place on the control deck of the Death Star. It comes in one color -- black -- and features two banks of ports that glow enticingly when switched on for power via the twin rocker switches at the back end of the unit. One bank includes six ports atop the hub; the second bank has five on top and one front-facing port.
You can use the hub with or without the power adapter, but with it connected you can support self-powered devices; you can charge an iPhone (or multiple iPhones) with ease. iPads will trickle-charge ("No Charging" indicator on screen) but, like most hubs, the Satechi unit doesn't support the double-wattage port spec that the iPads need for rapid charge.
You may not think you need twelve USB ports, but if you're dealing with flash drives or other peripherals, or if you have a MacBook Air and want to maximize your expansion options, the Satechi hub is a perfect fit. The hub currently retails for US$27.99 and comes with a power adapter and a one-meter extension cable.
You can check out our other Friday Favorites, hardware and software alike, here.