Ive faced the scenario quite often in my office in which laptop users need to connect devices to their computer, but have run out of interfaces. While manufacturers are trading features such as floppy drives and printer ports for reduced size and weight, my users still need to copy, scan, print, back up, network and interface with the outside world.
As a result of this trade-off, mobile users need to carry along additional cables and components to compensate for everything thats missing. Recently, however, I came across one little USB hub that might help.
Tripplites Ultra-Mini USB hub (model #U202-004-R) is the perfect add-on for computers on the go. This tiny 4-port hub is about 3/8 of an inch thick, and slightly smaller than a credit card. It plugs into the computer via the 3-inch attached male connector, which tucks away in its own compartment when not in use. The power adapter is the only extra cable you need to be concerned with. Depending on USB devices, the hub can be self-powered or bus-powered.
Tripplite has also reduced the size of the power adapter and turned the plugs 90 degrees to take up less space on a power strip.
This device needs no real setup or drivers; just plug it in to any available USB port, and away you go. I had it loaded up with a digital camera, scanner, printer and mouse, and even swapped USB devices in and out, all without any problems. The street price runs around $25 to $32. Given its size and affordability, this hub is a must for anyone who travels.