SilverStone EP03 USB 3.0 Charging Hub with Display Review

Introduction


USB hubs are nothing new and an essential tool for port multiplying which allows you to connect more devices to your system than you have ports available. This is particularly useful for mobile systems that come with very few ports on their own, but a stationary system can benefit equally from a good USB hub. In today’s review, I am taking a closer look at SilverStone’s EP03 USB 3.0 hub with built-in supercharger function and an integrated display for monitoring voltage and current on all ports.

At heart, SilverStone’s EP03 is a 4-port USB 3.0 hub capable of 5 Gbps transfer speeds. It is naturally also compatible with both USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices on both the host port and the individual connectors. That in itself is nothing new, but everything else is. In fact, this is a pretty smart hub.

When you pick the EP03 hub up and hold it in your hands, you have no doubt that this is a quality built hub. It feels sturdy and it also looks pretty good with its simple plastic case and top plate made of brushed aluminium.

The top is also what instantly reveals one of the features that make this USB hub unique, the built-in display. You can watch the current and voltage in real-time on the display for each of the four ports. Port selection is handled by the small button next to the display which lets you cycle the four ports.

As the display already indicates, this isn’t just a USB hub for peripheral and drive connection, it is also an intelligent charging station that can satisfy users’ increasing demand for fast charging of power-hungry mobile devices. It can deliver 2A to each of the four ports simultaneously and is fully compliant with the USB power delivery specifications 1.2 (BC 1.2).

In addition, the built-in protection mechanism ensures the EP03 can deliver power evenly and safely according to the number or the state of battery charge of connected devices. All these features can also be used to check if a new/replacement charging cable is up to the task and comes with the proper specifications compared to your original cable.

The SilverStone EP03 comes with an AC adapter included which both ensures that you have enough current to all ports, but also allows you to use it as charging station with the use of a host system. It comes with built-in over current and over voltage protections too, so all your connected devices should be safe.

The hub is built around a Genesys Logic GL3522 chipset which actually is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller, but that just leaves internal headroom and ensures the best possible connection.

Feature Highlights

  • Integrated display for monitoring voltage and current
  • Supports current up to 2A for each USB port
  • Provides four 5Gbps Super Speed USB 3.0 USB ports
  • High quality brushed aluminum design
  • Supports over voltage and over current protection
  • Includes AC adapter for stable power delivery
  • Compliant with USB power delivery specification 1.2

Package and Accessories

SilverStone always has some great looking packages for their devices and it’s no different for this USB 3.0 hub with fast charging and power meter. It presents itself colourful to the user and begs to be taken home. I know I wouldn’t walk past it.

The rear of the box explains the features in multiple languages.

One of the sides has more details on the product itself in the form of images and text.

And the other side has all the detailed specifications. Overall, a box that tells us everything there is to know about the product inside.

Inside the box, we find a USB 3.0 cable, an AC/DC power adapter, a user guide, and the USB hub itself.

SilverStone Releases EP03 Hub with Fast Charging and Power Meter

USB hubs are by definition quite generic, but once in a while a hub comes along that is a little different from the last. We’ve seen USB hubs with LAN combined as well as those with built-in KVM support, but SilverStone’s newest USB hub stays simple in that regards. Instead, the new EP03 comes with high-power charging function on all four ports and a built-in monitoring display that can display the current voltage and the current for each port.

SilverStone’s EP03 smart hub can charge four devices at the same time and supply up to 2A on each port simultaneously thanks the additions of a power supply. The hub naturally also works as a normal four port 5Gbps USB 3.0 hub for splitting up one port for four devices.

The EP03 comes with a beautiful brushed aluminium top plate that gives the hub that extra nice finish. The rest of the hub is made of plastic. It supports over voltage and over current protection to make sure that none of the connected devices will be damaged in case of either.

The new SilverStone EP03 will be available on December the 18th for a recommended end-user price of $33 USD plus VAT.

OnePlus 10000mAh Mobile USB Power Bank Review

Introduction


Mobile power is something that’s on most of our minds, no doubt several times a day. Watching your battery life drain towards the end of the day can be a painful process, especially if you know you’re a few hours away from being able to charge your device and you’ve already got that “less than 10%” warning message on your device. When you need to watch that YouTube video, check those important emails, or simply browse Facebook to stop you from becoming bored to death on the Train, you’ll want to know you’ve got the power available to get it done.

The latest mobile USB battery from OnePlus promises impressive performance, touting a 10000mAh battery, which is more than enough to charge most modern smartphones at least three times.

“Every inch of the OnePlus Power Bank was designed with you in mind. Sleek lines, gentle curves, and an emphasis on minimalism create the ideal companion for your OnePlus One. Available in Silk White and Sandstone Black, the soft glow of the Power Bank’s battery indicator LEDs is awoken with a gentle shake. Without any buttons or excess weight, it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. Perfectly simple.”

The OnePlus power bank is available in Sandstone Black or Silk White; we have the Sandstone Black at our disposal today. There are two 5v 2A USB ports on offer, although these convert to 1A when two devices are connected. What’s really interesting is that it weighs just 220g, significantly lighter than any other similar size power bank I’ve ever seen!

The packaging is pretty minimal, although confusingly the box for our black power bank has an image of the white one on the front; that could confuse a fair few people.

Around the back, you’ll find the power output ratings, all pretty standard stuff. You’ll also notice the “true” rating of the battery is 9760mAh, close enough to 10k that you likely wouldn’t notice the difference.

Open up the box and we find the power band, which is nicely secured with some padding around it and a protective plastic film.

Under the power bank, we found a flat-type Micro-USB to USB cable, which can be used to charge the battery and then reversed to charge your mobile device, as well as an easy to follow user manual.

First impressions of the OnePlus are very positive. As I said before, the unit is incredibly lightweight, which is a huge bonus given that this is something you’ll like want to carry in your pocket, hold in your hand or have in your bag when in use; no one likes carrying around anything heavy for too long!

There’s a pair of USB ports on the end, which are rated at 2A for one device, but change to 1A when two devices are being charged at the same time. I like this design, as some chargers has a dedicated 1A and a dedicated 2A port; you can plug into either and get 2A without having to check which is which. There’s also a 5V 2A Micro-USB in, perfect for quickly charging the battery back up between uses.

The design is pretty funky, with a rounded edge on the top and left, and a flat side with silver trim on the other two. This gives it a nice sleek and modern look, a lot nicer than the often plastic brick designs we see from most power banks.

The finish and quality are premium from head to toe and the sandstone finish provides the unit with excellent grip and great visual appeal.

It’s quite a large device, but no bigger than most high-end smartphones; it’s about the same size as my Xperia Z3.

Portable USB Wall Charger Roundup

Introduction


Quite often you’ll find yourself traveling to another city, state or country and be met with the all-too-common sinking feeling when presented with your hotel room power point options – only one or two annoyingly placed ports. If you’re like me, not only have you forgotten a power board, but you’ve got multiple devices to charge via USB ports. Furthermore, if you’re heading on a holiday or business trip – it’s likely that you’re carrying a myriad of battery-powered devices: a smartphone, tablet, smartwatch and GoPro being just the beginning of a very long list.

Being left with your standard issue 1-port USB smartphone charger won’t do you much justice, pulling out your bulky laptop isn’t always the best solution due to them being heavy and slow to charge – this is where USB power hubs come into their element. They’re also suitable for a home environment, offering between two and five handy USB ports to charge your devices overnight or while you’re sitting on the couch.

Thankfully for us, we’ve had a couple of wall USB chargers provided to us for testing. Read on for a quick round-up on these life-saving devices and what conditions we think they suit best.

The full list of products in this roundup and their pricing is as follows: