Satechi is now shipping a new 7 Port USB 3.0 Premium Aluminum Hub ($69.99 MSRP, on sale for $54.99) that matches good looks with the speed of USB 3.0. The company came out with a 10 port USB hub earlier this year that comes in a black plastic case and sports special switches for turning various banks of ports on and off; the new hub matches the good looks of most Apple products while also doing away with the extraneous switches.
If the Satechi 10 port USB hub is an 18-wheel tractor trailer rig, the 7 port aluminum hub is a fast German sports car. It looks great -- there are actually two versions, both made of aluminum but one dolled up with white plastic highlights and the other with black. Both hubs come with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable to connect the hub to your Mac, allowing (according to the specs) data rates of up to 5 Gbps.
This is a powered hub, so an AC power "brick" that is almost larger than the hub itself is included. The power plug is on the right end of the hub, while the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable plugs into the other end. The 7 ports are on the angled top of the hub.
Unlike the 10-port hub on which each port lights up when something is plugged into it, there's only one LED on this hub that indicates that the hub is plugged in and ready to go. It's totally plug and play, with no drivers required.
The power adapter included with the 7 port hub is smaller than the huge one included with the 10 port model, but I'd still like to see something smaller and less obtrusive. Frankly, it's rare when an accessory manufacturer pays attention to details like a power adapter. More companies should take Apple's lead on this...
The blue LED on the front of the hub is rather bright -- I could actually see it glowing in my office when I was in my nearby bedroom last night. Light sleepers might want to put a piece of duct tape over the LED.
As with the bigger Satechi hub, there are no speed differences compared to being plugged straight into the computer. I like the angled front of the hub; it actually makes plugging USB 3.0 cables a bit easier than with the other hub.
I'm also happy that Satechi chose to make this hub out of aluminum. The 10 port model picked up fingerprints easily, while this one doesn't.
While the Satechi 7 port USB 3.0 premium aluminum hub is a bit pricey even at the current sale price, it's an attractive addition to any current Mac and does its job well.
7 ports are sufficient for most Mac users
Aluminum body is durable and doesn't pick up fingerprints
Very attractive design
Angled front makes it easy to connect and remove cables
Rather pricey, considering ugly off-brand USB 3.0 hubs with 7 ports can be had for as little as $32
Power LED is bright and may be distracting in a dark room
AC adapter is bulky
Who is it for?
The Mac owner who wants an attractive USB 3.0 hub and is willing to spend a little bit more for the luxury