Ultra 7-Port USB 2.0 Buddy Hub Review

gotdamojo06 - 2007-11-24 10:22:28 in Input Devices, Gadgets
Category: Input Devices, Gadgets
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: December 5, 2007
Price: $39.99

 

Introduction: 

Do you have two computers that you use constantly? I know how big of a pain it can be if you have only one USB keyboard or a limited amount of space on your desk or computer work space. Ultra has a solution for you - they have released the Ultra 7-Port USB 2.0 Buddy Hub, which is a two-in-one device. Not only does it turn one USB port on your computer into seven, it also has a KVM switch functionality, which allows you to attach one USB device to two computers and allow you to switch back and forth between computers. We will see if the Ultra Buddy Hub will be able to save workspace as well as having to take the time to reach behind both computers and switch the USB cord to your keyboard.

 

Closer Look: 

The Ultra 7-Port USB 2.0 Buddy Hub comes packaged in a plastic casing, much like most after-market computer accessories that you can pick up at the store. The front of the packaging proudly displays the Ultra brand name as well as letting you know the name of the product in both English as well as Spanish and gives you a brief explanation of what the product will do. The front of the packaging also lets you know that the product comes with a three year limited warranty from Ultra. Moving on to the back of the package, you can see what the product looks like from the front as well as rear aspects. There is a little paragraph written in both English and Spanish on the back, informing you of what the product does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inside of the package you will have the Ultra 7-port USB 2.0 Buddy Hub, two USB-a to USB-b connectors, a power adapter, as well as a one-page Installation Manual.

 

 

 

The front of the Ultra Buddy Hub has the seven USB 2.0 ports that you can plug many different devices into.The top of the device is where you are able to press the button to switch between "Computer A" and "Computer B" and there are LED lights that will let you know which computer the device is connected to. The rear of the device is where you plug the USB-a to USB-b connectors in, as well as the mains adapter.

 

 

 

Installation: 

 

The first step in installing the Ultra Buddy Hub, would be to make all of the connections to the Buddy Hub. There are three to the back and up to seven to the front. On the back you need to plug in the USB-a to USB-b cables into the Buddy Hub, as well as the power adapter. These ports on the back side of the Buddy Hub are labelled, which make it an easy task to complete. Once you have all of this completed, you need to connect the USB cables for "Computer A" and "Computer B" into an open USB port on the computer. Again, this is another easy and self explanatory task. 

 

 

 

 

 

Once all of the connections are made to the back of the Buddy Hub, you are now ready to begin to connect all of your USB devices. Before you are begin to do this, however, you will need to power down both computers and then power them up. I attempted to plug in the Buddy Hub "hot", however it would not work this way. After both of your computers are powered up, you may begin to use the Buddy Hub to connect your USB devices. They will all default to "Computer B" which has a green LED. If you wish to switch to "Computer A" you will need to press the button down and the LED will switch to a red color.

 

 

Specifications: 

 

Testing: 

To test the Ultra Buddy Hub, I will be connecting a few different USB devices to two different computers (Computers A and B) and seeing if the Ultra Buddy Hub will allow the device to be connected to that specific computer. Also I will be connecting a Super Talent DH Flash Drive to each of the computers regular USB ports as well as through the Ultra Buddy Hub to see if there is any difference in performance speeds.

 

Testing Setup: 

Computer A:

Computer B:

 

Switching between the two computers using a Microsoft USB Network Adapter, a Microsoft USB Optical Mouse, and a Saitek USB Gaming Keyboard, was all very simple and leaves nothing to test other than the fact that the computer did recognize the device and begin to use it right away. It was just as if you had connected it to the computer, using the regular USB ports. I will be giving the Microsoft USB Network Adapter a little more testing, as I will be downloading the Catalyst Software Suite from ATI's website, which happens to be 45MB. I will be timing the download to see how long it takes through both computers A and B, with and without the Ultra Buddy Hub being used. Testing a flash drive, however, is going to be a little different. There are actual numbers that will be able to show a difference in performance, if there is one.

 

 

To test for a difference in performance between using the flash drive with the Buddy Hub, I will be running Flash Memory Toolkit 1.20's low-level benchmark and file benchmarks.

Read Speed - Low-level Benchmark: 

 

 

Read and Write - File Benchmark 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From a performance standpoint, there is not really a great difference between the USB port on the computer and the ports that the Buddy Hub provides. The scores were close on the read side, while the write benchmark showed a performance deficiency. While I had the network adapter connected to both computers, I printed a test file to the network connected printer and all four times I ran it, the file printed correctly each time.

Conclusion: 

The Ultra 7-Port USB 2.0 Buddy Hub has been tested to see if it can perform all of the tasks that Ultra said that it could do, such as saving deskspace, cost and time, as well as acting as a 7-Port USB KVM switch. Connecting devices such as a keyboard, mouse and wireless network adapter, I was able to easily switch from computer to computer with the push of a button, instead of getting up out of the chair and walking to the two computers and finding the USB cables and swapping them. When I connected a flash drive to the buddy hub, I tested to see if there was any difference in read and write speeds. There was a difference, however it was very small, which is to be expected. There was also only a slight performance drop in the file download times whether the network adapter was connected through the Buddy Hub or not. I will point out the fact that I personally did not like that the seven USB ports were on the front of the device, as this does add some clutter to the desktop by having excess cable laying around. However it can easily be hidden behind the monitor. I found this product very useful and easy to use, as well as easy to install.

 

Pros: 

 

Cons: