HUB-IT Sync & Charge Station Hardware Review

HUB-IT Sync & Charge Station Hardware Review

Jan 20, 2015

Okay. So the HUB-IT Sync & Charge Station looks to charge several mobile units at once. And?

Not so fast. Seriously.

The review unit sent to us packs the main unit, four cartridges (more on this later), power cable and a lot of paperwork. We also got a curious extra qi-enabled cartridge which was an enigma at first. It has an interestingly classic look: ebony, glossy black, and it looks like the base of a four-sided pyramid (with most of the top cleanly shorn off).

Out of each side, there is a charging cable which, in the stock state, barely extends past beyond the main unit. The review unit sent to us showcased a typical set up of the system: micro-USB piece, macro-USB, Apple-centric lightning cable and legacy charging cable too. The cables are retractable; one can pull at a cable to make use of the cable, and then pull it again to make it retract. Beneath three of the cables, there is one USB port each; the fourth has a port for power input, and one for micro-USB 3.0. It sports 7 LED lights as well. Size-wise it’s 6.69 x 6.69 x 1.34 inches and weighs just under 9 oz.

hub3

On its own, based on this feature set, the Hub-it works well. It intuitively can be plugged into a wall socket and provide up to 4A of current to several mobile devices.

It’s the component system that really makes this unit stand apart.

The included documentation encourages one to pop the removable top of the unit. Doing so reveals the interior and the creative aspect of the dock. Each charging cable is an independent piece evaded in a plastic, spring-loaded “cartridge; each one can be be moved around, swapped out and replaced with another if need be. Thus, one only can install only required cartridges he/she wants. As such, the dock is quite customizable. The true utility is in these cartridges; one can even add cartridges for handheld gaming units. There are “power” slots too, which allow one to add qi-wireless functionality, or even a power pack to create a power bank.

hub4

In practice, the components we used worked fabulously, and I came away pleasantly surprised.

This unit is one of those that sells itself to you very quickly. It isn’t the cheapest solution (at $72.89 on Amazon), but the whole thing is not too hard to justify, and the extra cartridges are fairly affordable at under $8.00. I do harbor preemptive concerns with regards to the long term efficacy of the cable retraction, and the top feels a bit delicate.

The true testament is that in a short time, the Hub-It has elbowed it way into my workflow. For me, that is truth enough.

DoubleTwist AirSync Review

DoubleTwist AirSync Review

Nov 1, 2011

This review is one part of my two part look at Mac compatible/WinAmp alternatives for wirelessly syncing music to your phone. Because doubleTwist is one of the more highly used programs, I figured that a full Rundown would be appropriate.

DoubleTwist comes in with a lot of hype. There are three parts to the full package: one iTunes-like desktop app, a free media player app, and a $4.99 AirSync app that’s basically an add-on to the media player. The aim for doubleTwist is to be the Android version of Apple’s iTunes and iCloud service. It comes close, but there’s no way for Android to replicate the success and simplicity of their Macintosh counterpart.

Starting with the desktop application, I’ll say this first: I am an iTunes slave. I’ve tried multiple other media players but I always end up reverting back to iTunes eventually. I admit that iTunes is bloated and needs a rewrite, and I thought that any new media player would have to be faster and smaller. Shockingly, I was proven wrong with the doubleTwist media player. I’ve uninstalled/reinstalled this program a few times on my MacBook Pro but it doesn’t seem to alleviate the sluggishness through the menus, and the program will frequently lock up for 30 seconds before working again. The program also takes longer to load than iTunes, which I wasn’t even aware was possible. Without the Android AirSync app, however, doubleTwist does do a good job of wired syncing; it organizes your files accurately within the Music folder on your phones SD card. But a means to easily put music on your phone is the only thing this application should be used for. This is not an iTunes replacement, even though it tries to be. It also hijacks the play and next/previous buttons when closed but not fully quit which can be very frustrating.

Fortunately, the mobile app fares better. The mobile media player is very capable, and has a very elegant lock screen widget. There isn’t much to set this app apart from other mobile media players like WinAmp, but like I said in my review for UberMusic, if you want a basic media player to replace an iPod, this will do the job handedly. There are many complaints of sluggishness and “glitchiness” on the Android market, but in my experiences with it I have not found any problems on my HTC EVO 4G. There is an add-on to the media player that adds Gracenote album art automatically and allows for an advanced equalizer. But for $5.99 it kind of seems like a raw deal.

Finally, the last part of this package is the separate $4.99 AirSync application. This application basically allows you to wirelessly sync music, photos, and videos to your Android phone over a home network. Setting up AirSync with doubleTwist is easy enough, but I would like to see it simplified down a little bit more. I can easily see less experienced users having a hard time getting doubleTwist to recognize their phone. I was impressed with the speed that my files were synced over to my phone. It took less then a minute to sync a 19 song album to my phone, which is faster then it takes to do the same thing wired. I had no problem is having other media players recognize the files, which means that even if you do not like the mobile player or the desktop app, you only have to use them to transfer your files.

The final aspect of this app is its integration with the Xbox 360, PS3, and Apple TV. Surely, the Apple TV feature can’t be true. Streaming music from your Android phone onto an Apple TV? No way. Well yeah, it’s true. DoubleTwist easily streams your videos, photos, and music to Apple TV. It’s not perfect; when a song is playing, no info appears, displaying just a black screen, but come on. Close enough. Even better is the streaming to the Xbox 360. Your phone appears under the list of drives when you open the music tab and the songs start playing instantly after selecting them. This actually surprised me. One problem is that the AirPlay feature will stay on even when DoubleTwist is closed which will drain your battery, so just make sure to turn it off when done.

Overall, DoubleTwist is a good Winamp alternative if you can deal with some fairly noticeable problems, even though I’d recommend TuneSync if simply wirelessly syncing music is what you’re after.