I always look at my Note 2 as a compact portable computer. It can do almost everything my laptop can, and it fits in my pocket. But on some occasions when I need to access my work email and do quite a bit of typing, virtual keyboard and touch screen navigation might not be convenient. I'm sure a lot of you might feel the same, especially when you try to convert your tablet into a "laptop". Though you have an option of bluetooth wireless keyboard, often those are too compact for comfortable typing. If your phone or tablet supports OTG, you can get OTG usb cable and attach the keyboard. What about mouse? And how about external usb flash drive for file storage? Or maybe a fast USB3.0 external hard drive for a faster file transfer? Different solutions are available, but not as compact as the one I just had a chance to review. Here is what I found.
Straight from Germany, finally I'm starting to see Inateck offering their products on Amazon US as well as other worldwide places. The product arrived in a compact package with a clear description of the features and specifications. Out of the box, its a very lightweight and compact hub, about 4.3" x 1.3" - easy to pack while you are traveling or just on the go. Yes, this little hub is perfect for "on the go" because in addition to USB cable, it comes with a detachable OTG usb to micro-usb adapter. If you want to connect it to your laptop, detach the adapter (it's actually attached to a cable with a cord so you don't loose it) and plug in the main USB cable connector. Otherwise, attach OTG adapter and connect it to your smartphone or tablet. The available 4 ports are partitioned with 3 at the top, spaced generously to accommodate different usb connectors, and one port on the side to attach any device without connector space limitation.
My Note 2 recognized the device right away, and as I was adding a mouse, a keyboard, and usb flash drive - I got correct notifications for each attached peripheral device. There just one drawback, the OTG adapter was too wide to be attached to my Note 2 with a case, so I had to take my case off. For someone with a tablet, that typically won't be a problem. Also, I noticed that adapter itself is made out of rubbery material which I'm sure can be trimmed to give you a few extra mils of clearance in order to use it with a case. I didn't do it with this adapter, but I have done similar trimming in the past with some of my external battery chargers that had attached micro-USB connector. Another thing to keep in mind, this USB hub will be powered by your host, so you can't exceed USB3.0 max 5V/900mA rating. I saw no issue connecting keyboard/mouse/flash drive, but if you are planning to attach external hard drive make sure it's powered up externally.
Overall, I was very impressed considering this is 4-port high speed USB3.0 hub, very compact, and with included OTG attachment. Though adapter didn't quite worked with my phone case, I will do a little DIY later to trim it. Currently being offered for $16.99, I also think it's a pretty good value for USB3.0 hub.
Here are the pictures.