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October 18th, 1999


MacAlly iHub
Contact and Other Information
Manufacturer: MacAlly
Product Info: iHub
Description: USB Hub
Address: 5101 Commerce Dr. Baldwin Park
CA 91706
Price: US$48.95 at Outpost.com

US$48.95 at Smalldog Electronics


Telephone: 818.338.8787
Fax: 818.338.3585
Requirements USB Equipped Mac (Including iMac)
One available USB port

System Used For Testing Power Mac G3 All-in-one 233MHz
ADS Technologies USB card
Review

MacAlly's iHub, A Great Choice For USB Hubs
by Michael Munger

If you equip your USB Mac with several devices, you inevitably run into trouble. Scanner, removable drive, printer... you see how it adds up. A good solution in many cases is a USB hub. The iHub from MacAlly lets you turn one of your ports into four ports.

Installation

This is too easy. You just plug the USB cable from the hub to your Mac and you are ready to go after a quick restart. The hub comes with an annoyingly huge AC adapter, but there is no need to use it. The iHub can take its power directly from the USB port. In fact, the documentation -- which will be discussed later -- does not even mention the adapter in the instructions. On the other hand, you can use the AC adapter to get your power elsewhere than your USB port, but its size will convince you that one less wire might be just fine.

At startup, a red light will light up to inform you that the hub is functional, and after a few seconds, four green port lights indicate that the ports are ready to use. Be careful: these are not link lights. They do not indicate that a link is established between your Mac and that port on the device.

Documentation

You will not spend a long time reading the iHub documentation. It is small, but when you consider that plugging it in is not that complicated, you will, I think, agree there is no need for a book. But the MacAlly folks are considerate toward their users and in their small document, they offer useful ergonomic tips for computer users.

Appearance

Mac industrial design was revolutionized last year with the iMac, and the iHub follows in those footsteps. Its looks are surprising, though. Look at the picture. It is literally transparent. No colors. This is smarter than most devices out there because it can match any Mac. From the original Bondi Blue iMac to the graphite G4, the iHub will be a fashionable companion.

Conclusion

This is a great product. At 45$ or 49$, it is an excellent tool for those iMac or PowerMac G3/G4 owners with several USB devices! It is useful, and does not require installing anything on your hard drive, though this is not unique when it comes to hubs. The review mentioned about shows that the PowerUSB hub does not require software installation either. If your computing environment requires many peripherals, then you should consider solutions such as the iHub.


Final Score (Maximum score is 5 Gadgies)
4 Gadgies
Pros Simple installation process
Lower price than other hubs
Looks good with any flavored Mac
Cons Useless AC adapter
No link lights



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