Back in the old days, all ports on a computer were on the back panel (in the case of the BBC Micro, underneath too). This worked for mice, keyboards, printers, scanners, speakers etc. Then along came headsets and plug ‘n play USB devices.
So case manufacturers started to include front panel audio and USB ports. A good idea? Well, it made them more accessible, but the trouble is that they then become vulnerable to being accidentally knocked and a source of amusement small children.
Laptop USB port placement isn’t much better either. On my Toshiba L500, the USB ports are on the right side. When using a wired or wireless mouse, either the cable or the wireless dongle is going to get in the way of mouse movement. Also, the DVD drive is on the right side. What a mess!!
I bought a Sabrent 7 port hub as shown in the photo. There is a USB port on one end which is out of view in case you are wondering why I refer to it as 7 port. At the other end is the USB to PC connection and a port for the power adapter.
It can be used for either desktops, towers and laptops, but the supplied cables are a little on the short side for easy use on a tower system I have used a USB extension cable to enable the hub to sit on the desk, away from curious little hands.
- The webcam cable was vulnerable on the front panel and not not long enough to be plugged into the back panel ports and still allow me to be able to easily pull out the tower from the desk in the event that I needed to access the inside.
- The headset suffered the same as the webcam.
- The USB HDD enclosure I use on two systems, and I can now switch the cable to the other system when the need arises.
- The Laser 6000 dongle was not making best contact with the keyboard and mouse when it was plugged in at the back, and the LED was a source of amusement for my three year old grand-daughter. It is now out of reach and working way better.
- The top ports are free for use with my flash drives and IDE/SATA HDD bridge.
I should have bought one of these years ago.
Re laptops.. in order to keep the USB to PC cable away from the side, use one of the adapters shown in the lower photo.
In Canada, the purchase of the two items will set you back nearly $40. I can assure you that it is $40 very well spent.