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Belkin USB Hub and Mini Surge Protector

USB is not just about data connections any more -- it's also becoming the standard way to power up your portable devices as well. When you plug in to your computer to sync with a MP3 player or PDA, you're also feeding power over the same cable to recharge your device. Some portable devices now even don't bother to include a wall charger in the box -- instead they include a USB cable and a USB wall adapter.

This trend makes it a lot easier to travel with multiple devices, since you don't need to bring a separate custom wall charger for each device. Instead, just pack up the USB data cables for your products that use custom interfaces (like the Apple iPod), and add a standard mini-USB cable for devices that just use the USB interface (or even micro USB for small devices like Bluetooth headsets).

Yet while you then can charge these devices from your laptop when you are on the road, this still can get clumsy when you are dealing with multiple devices -- for example, when you need to charge a mobile phone and Bluetooth headset while you are using a USB mouse and storage drive.

Again, Belkin comes to the rescue with two clever ideas to manage and power multiple USB devices (see previous post).

The Belkin Swivel USB Hub splits one USB connection into 4 ports (all high-speed USB 2.0) -- so you can access and power multiple devices at the same ($29 list, around $19 retail). It also includes a power adapter if needed for power-hungry devices.


Yes, you can find smaller hubs (but with an additional connecting cable), and larger hubs with more connectors -- but this Swivel Hub is travel sized, and has a handy two-way adjustable swivel connector. Rotate it sideways so you can still access additional USB connectors on your system, angle it up along the side of your system for easier access when you're inserting and removing devices, or fold it down to lie flat for storage.

And for powering multiple devices, the Belkin Mini Surge Protector / USB Charger provides three AC outlets, plus two powered USB outlets, all with surge protection ($25 list, around $19 retail).


The USB outlets are for power only -- they do not serve as a hub for transferring data. The product includes a mini-USB cable to charge many compatible devices, or else you can use the custom connector cable that came with other devices. The hub also has a rotating plug which locks at each 90 degree position.

See my Portable Power Accessories Gallery for other power systems, battery packs, and universal chargers that offer adapter tips for a wide variety of portable devices -- including cell phones, music players, cameras, and game machines -- so you can charge them all from USB power.

Also see my Portable Peripherals and Accessories Gallery for more fun devices, organized by company.

    Find the Belkin Swivel USB Hub and Mini Surge Protector on Amazon.com

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This entry posted on May 11, 2008.

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