This is not my first time to buy USB hub, but at that time, I met a bad experience about USB hub; it worked only use for mouse, keyboard, that's all. It didn't work at all when I used bluetooth or flash drive. Anyway, now I have to try again in order to respond to my mom asking. I grab two of three available choices in WalMart to do a comparison test. First, it's plain USB hub without power adapter which its price is $9.73 and second one is USB hub with a power adapter, $19.73. They are all 4-port USB hub and another one that I didn't choose is 7 or 8-port USB hub, it's pretty expensive, $3x.xx.

   First one, while I was tearing the package, I found its line, it's pretty big one, it seems good due to R=p*l/a --> the bigger line should be better to conduct a current! Good design for practical use, this line is permanent attach to the hub. Another point that I have to look is alignment of all 4 ports, they are too tight to use 4 peripheral or not; however, it looks so tight but it still does a good job about this, it can plug easily and not conflict each other. In contrast, it hard to pull out due to small space between 2 ports.
   Let's try to use! Immedialty I plug this hub into my laptop, it is found and installed driver by Windows XP. I have a 3 categories of USB peripheral to test, that is,

    >> low power consumed and discrete signal device, such as mouse, keyboard. Anyway, all I have is mouse.
    >> low power consumed and continuous signal device, such as Palm Pilot, bluetooth USB, flash drive. This category is the most peripheral we used.
    >> high power consumed and continuous signal, such as hard disk drive. One group I'm not sure of is printer, scanner or kind of these because even if they transfer data continuously but they required only signal to communicate with computer in order that they have own power source. then I don't think this group has a problem if second group works properly.

   Go back to test the first hub, while I attached mouse to the hub, windows also respond like plugging into original USB port and it works properly. So I move on to test with my palm and flash drive, both of them work properly at the same time but I found that this hub is only USB 1.1 supported.

   Oh! There still has non-USB 2.0 supported selling today -_-! I should look more careful than this. Anyway, it works good whether it's darned slow USB 1.1. Next I plug my notebook hard drive plus USB converter to the hub, surprisely windows can detect that correctly. Though it alerts "Your device can perform faster that this!". But when I try to access my data, it alerts "Write delay failed" and sound from my hard drive is not good at all, it likes I'm gonna die 55 I have not enough energy to work at all. My windows is darn slow either, I have trid to safely remove this hard drive to avoid data corrupt but it seems it doesn't work, after that all I can do is restart to prevent any consequence effect of my data. So, this hub is not gonna work with high powered device at all.
Result
>> 1st category - passed!
>> 2nd category - passed but slow.
>> 3rd category - failed!


   after finished testing the first one, it's not impressed me as much as my expectation. Though it looks better than my old one. Go on to second one, by the way, they claimed that it supports high speed USB, USB 2.0. Firstly take a look outside, packaging is the same kind as previous one, sealed plastic.

   Power adapter is pretty good one if it's right as name plate, that is, power output is 5V 2.6A, I'm wondering what regulator they used that has current output as much like this. Unfortunately, input voltage range seems smaller that I should be, this is another one that I wanna know, if they use switching power supply to gain more current, why input voltage range's not greater than this. This adapter also has a LED to show when it activated. About hub, its body looks pretty cool, it has 5 LED to show hub and 4-port status.

   That's good to have something to show; however, its brightness of blue LED that show hub status is annoying my sight, I have to overturn to avoid that. Another concern is USB cable, actually mini USB, if comparing with first one, this cable is worse in both quality and design, it separates between hub and cable unlike the first one that its cable permanently attached with a hub, I don't think this is an advantage because it's easy to forget and lose this cable. Anyway, it still works properly. When I start testing, Windows detects as soon as I plug this hub into USB port as same as the first one.

   I will test this hub without using external power supply and using it consecutively. I use all mouse, palm, flash drive without any problem, and it's pretty fast, not has even slightly pause while accessing the data whether I use all device that the same time but if I plug hard disk drive into hub, all of device that attach this hub will not work at all, it looks like it can not determine how much current it should share for each port. At this time, Windows can detect hard disk as an unrecognized USB device. Then, I plug power supply to the hub, it, fortunately, comes alive immediately. All device is found by windows without any problem at all. I can use mouse, palm, flash drive and hard drive as well. It's really impressed me now. So, I run my hard disk to recover lost files, its process takes a long time, it, nevertheless, doesn't have any problem.
Add: 2006-06-07
One last thing that this hub completely beat the first hub is versatility, that is, not only work as USB hub but also work as USB charger!, for instance, if you have many device such as iPod, Palm Pilot that allow you to charge via USB cable. It's exactly solution for you. It doesn't have to plug into computer, just use its own power adapter and this adapter is quite good output, 2.6A!.
Result w/o external power.
>> 1st category - passed!
>> 2nd category - passed!
>> 3rd category - failed!
Result w/external power.
>> 1st category - passed!
>> 2nd category - passed!
>> 3rd category - passed!
Conclusion
   Finally, we now have many many USB devices but our laptop still has 2 or 3 available USB ports. I think this is the best way to increase few USB ports that originally come with most of laptops. If you didn't use external hard disk, that means you don't have to carry power adapter, I can tell this is a good solution indeed due to its size and versatility. :-)