gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

Streamplify HUB CTRL 7 Reviewed

Streamplify’s HUB CTRL 7 is a seven port USB hub with independent power controls.

It’s been an essential mainstay of my desk ever since they sent it to me. I really do seem to need a lot of USB ports. Most of the time it has a keyboard, mouse, USB webcam, headset dock, microphone and ring light plugged into it with one port spare that was being used for another headset dock. It handled all of these brilliantly, providing enough power for the ring light when I needed it- albeit a downstream switch made the switch on the USB Hub a tiny bit redundant- and giving me an easy way to hard cut power to my camera or microphone if I needed to (usually only to fix some driver quirk without having to hot plug.)

A rounded USB hub lit up with rainbow colours. It’s on a desk with a monitor arm above it and a mug in the background with what looks suspiciously like my face on it.

Here’s a side view because why not. It’s been a really pleasing addition to my desk and absolutely essential for making up for the lack of ports on my dock and laptop. Apparently I need a lot of flippin’ ports 🤣


The ring light ended up plugged into the solitary, red, 2A capable “fast charge” port at the end of the hub. The ring light will flicker a fair bit if I wiggle the cable in the port. To be fair it does the same- albeit not as dramatically – if I wiggle it in my fancy OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock so I’m chalking this up as a big-old-USB-A-being-a-bit-rubbish failure and not a hub failure. On the topic of failure, recently I’ve been having trouble with data on one of the ports – previously used by my MicroPhone – so I’ve had to swap it with something that needed power only. It seems to make a connection if I wiggle it, but otherwise refuses to work. This is odd because the hub has been planted on my desk, pretty much untouched for months now (gosh my review lead time is terrible sometimes, I’m sorry, winter was rough, my health went to heck in a handbasket and I wasn’t in a good place). I can’t really draw any conclusions about the quality of Streamplify’s hub from this one failure, but it shouldn’t go unmentioned.

Closeup of me holding a little acrylic etched camera icon tab, removed from the top of the USB hub.

The little legend tabs pull round out and can be swapped around at will. No keyboard and mouse icons though!!?


Plain ol’ USB shenanigans aside, what’s special about this hub isn’t the on/off switches, you can find those everywhere. First and foremost it has a pleasing, rounded shape that eschews the boxy, rectangular norm for USB hubs. The rounded shape plays host to its gimmick- an RGB illuminated set of edge lit, etched acrylic icon tabs that you can slot in to label each port according to what device is plugged in. The rounded shape also escapes all of the cables handily out of the back, but doesn’t totally hide them. If you do need to swap cables around, it’s just a little bit easier to see what’s what and plug it in. Some desktop hubs opt for upwards-facing ports which are certainly easier to access, but prone to looking untidy. The hub comes with a little cable tidy that’s supposed to clip over all of your USB cables and help route them neatly backwards- I have lost it in a drawer somewhere.

Usually I loathe something that’s too flashy or obnoxious, but as long as the HUB CTRL 7 is not stood directly opposite my face the indicator lights are tolerable and there are a small selection of illumination patterns – including off – for the indicator tabs.

A round USB hub with seven buttons along the front. Five are illuminated to indicate they’re turned on. Little plastic tabs stick out of the top and are edge lit in rainbow colours. They have icons indicating what device is plugged in, approximately anyway.
The same hub, except the rainbow lights have changed to a cool blue. There’s a button on the side that cycles a few prefixed lighting patterns or static colours.

I’ve been using this hub fully loaded since I got it, and just today noticed the port for my microphone was flaky 😭

It has these awesome little icon tabs which light up so you know which device is which and can cut power to things like cameras and microphones if you need absolute privacy.


However these indicator button LEDs – which indicate power on/off for a port – are definitely too bright when viewed straight on. This is not a hub you’ll want in the middle of your desk and if you dislike clusters of bright lights on your desk, you’re not going to like this at all.

Overall it’s a great hub with a genuinely handy gimmick that sets itself apart from the crowd with its round shape and illuminated legend tabs. Assuming the little quirk with mine isn’t an indication that they’re prone to failure- anecdotes don’t make anecdata- and assuming you don’t mind a flashy LED (or fourteen) then I’d recommend it.

Monday, July 3rd, 2023, Computer Gaming, PC, Personal Computing.