Gadget Review: HUB IT Sync & Charge Station

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It hasn’t quite felt like it outside yet, but according to the calendar spring has arrived. And you know what that means. Yup, after a long, cold, depressing winter it’s about that time to do a little spring cleaning. For gamers and tech enthusiasts, that typically means finding better ways to tighten up our electronics setups and organize the tangled masses of cords coming out of our PCs, consoles, and mobile devices.

Functioning as a USB hub and mobile docking station, Eggtronic’s HUB IT is just the tech gadget you need to make recharging all of your handheld devices neat and tidy.

What immediately stands out about the HUB IT compared to the countless other charging docks is its modular design that opens up incredible customization potential to fit every user’s personal needs. The system is built around the concept of small, square cartridges which contain different connectors attached to retractable cords. Out of the box, the default configuration includes universal connectors for micro USB, mini USB, Apple 30 pin, and Apple Lightning, but additional connector options for more specific hardware such as Samsung Galaxy tablets, Nokia devices, and individual gaming platforms are sold separately for around $8 each. I’m way behind the times as far as not owning a smartphone or tablet (a basic cellphone’s all I need), so for my testing I primarily turned the HUB IT into the ultimate portable gaming station capable of recharging my 3DS, DS Lite, PSP, and Vita, all at the same time. (FYI: There is no dedicated 3DS connector, but the DSi cartridge is compatible with 3DS, 3DS XL, and Wii U Gamepad.)

HUB IT is great for handheld gamers. Here's mine hooked up to a 3DS, DS Lite, PSP, and PS Vita.

HUB IT is great for handheld gamers. Here’s mine hooked up to a 3DS, DS Lite, PSP, and PS Vita.

This modular design, combined with upgradeable firmware, is great because, as long as Eggtronic stays in business and continues to support the product, whenever a new device comes along you will be able to upgrade the HUB IT with a compatible cartridge rather than having to buy a whole new docking station that supports your hardware arsenal.

To swap out cartridges, the top shell of the unit lifts off to reveal a 3×3 grid for plugging in additional connectors. Only four cord cartridges can be inserted at a given time so that one connector sticks out from each side of the docking platform, but the extra five power slots leave room for exciting upgrade options. For example, a Qi wireless charger is already available (although at $30 it is way more expensive than the other cartridges) to fit in one of the unused slots and allow for recharging supported devices simply by laying them on top of the hub, no strings attached. Down the line it appears that Eggtronic will even make a modular battery pack cartridge to power the hub without needing to plug in the included AC adapter. That would be pretty sweet, especially since the hub has excellent transportability for travel.

Take a look under the hood.

Take a look under the hood.

In addition to having four cables active at any given time, the HUB IT is equipped with three USB 3.0 slots to charge or connect devices you already have USB cables for. Yes, that means you can literally connect up to seven different devices from one station, LEDs lighting up on each side to display the charging status for each connected piece of hardware. Using the included Micro USB to USB 3.0 SuperSpeed cable, the dock can be hooked up to a PC to charge and sync devices simultaneously as well as open up extra USB slots for general usage. For example, while I had my Vita, cellphone, and MP3 player charging, I had a DualShock 4 controller plugged in to one of the open USB slots to use for PC gaming.

Square from the top and trapezoidal from the side, the HUB IT has a sleek, compact form factor that takes up very little desk/table real estate and should match aesthetically with any electronics configuration. Of course, the top shell’s ultra-shiny surface is a magnet for oily fingerprints, so you’ll probably need to make a habit of wiping it down with a cleaning cloth to keep it looking sharp. While there are no built in cradles for attached devices to securely dock into, the cables only extend out to a maximum of about nine inches, and the ratcheting retractor mechanism allows cord to be withdrawn in incremental lengths so you can use as much or as little as each device needs without having a bunch of excess wiring mucking things up.

My cat gives HUB IT two paws up!

My cat gives HUB IT two paws up!

My only slight disappointment is with the somewhat cheapy heft of the plastic used in the dock platform’s construction, mainly the top shell piece. The build quality isn’t poor by any means, but for a product that sells for $79.99 at full price, I expected it to feel a bit sturdier. Just pushing down on it from the top feels like it might crack if I put too much pressure on it, so I fear it might not hold up too well if, say, it happened to accidentally be sat upon or knocked off the table. It’s also skimpy of Eggtronic to not include a travel pouch yet sell one standalone for only $5. Something as basic and low cost as that should be provided right out of the box if you ask me.

Those complaints aside, the HUB IT is a wonderfully versatile and seemingly future proof docking station that looks nice, is lightweight and easy to transport, delivers reliable charge and sync performance, allows for a lot of user customization and expandability, and significantly reduces cable clutter. When not in use, all of the wires retract and all of the connector cartridges remain safely locked away under the hood so you never have to worry about losing them. Overall, it’s an ingenious little product that has certainly boosted my recharge game. The HUB IT is a no-brainer for any gadgeteer with a lot of mobile devices that need recharging on a daily basis.

Disclosure: A HUB IT sample unit was provided to VGBlogger.com for review by Eggtronic.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!