Using a USB 3.0 Switch Box for the ultimate convenience
Due to the COVID-19 situation, I’ve been of working from home (WFH) for almost two months now. The work space at home has always been for my personal devices only. However, I now find myself constantly replugging my mouse and keyboard between my work and personal MacBooks when I work on my standing desk. It came to a point that it is getting quite cumbersome.
I’ve always known there were KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) switches that would solve this problem. However, most KVM switches includes switching HDMI video connections as well. This is something that I did not need. I connect my personal MacBook to my LG 27″ 4K display via Thunderbolt 3 and then DisplayPort via the Razer Core X eGPU enclosure while my work MacBook uses a direct USB-C connection to the display directly.
So, all I needed was a USB switch which I haven’t thought of until I stumbled upon the UGREEN USB Switch Box. Naturally, I put in an order for it immediately.
A USB 3.0 Switch Box for the ultimate convenience
The UGREEN USB Switch Box is actually a very simple device. Think of it as a 4-port USB 3.0 hub with two output ports which you can switch between.
Yes. that’s essentially it!
The contents of the package is also rather simple. It comes in a simple box that holds the USB 3.0 switch box, two USB cables and a rather small product manual.
Using the UGREEN USB 3.0 Switch
Using the UGREEN USB Switch Box is as simple as plugging in the two provided USB A cables to the switch box and then to the two notebooks or desktops you are using.
As you can see in the photo below, I have to use a USB-C to USB-A adapter as both are my notebooks are MacBook Pros.
On the switch itself, all you have to do is just use it as how you would with a regular USB 3.0 hub. The UGREEN USB Switch Box also supports plugging in an external 5V power via a micro USB connector. This is handy when using a power hunger device like external HDDs.
Switching between your notebooks or desktop is as simple as pressing a button. Literally.
Testing the speed of the UGREEN USB Switch Box
What review is complete without a benchmark or speed test. 😂
But on a serious not, I rarely trust any manufacturers outright claim for USB 3.0 speed. As such, a disk benchmark test here is useful to see if the UGREEN USB Switch Box significantly affect transfer speeds.
For this test, I used my Samsung T5 1TB external SSD drive as the test device. Samsung claims that the T5 have a Read Write speeds of up to 540 MB/s. For the benchmarking app, I used the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test app
The following screenshots shows the results.
I’ve summarised the results in the table below. As you can see, there is a significant slowdown in the transfer speed, as much as 28% in the read speeds.
|Direct via USB-C||Direct (via adapter) USB-C to USB A||Via the UGREEN Switch Box||Transfer Speed Difference|
|Read (MB/s)||528||528||381||-28 %|
|Write (MB/s)||485||486||376||-23 %|
USB 3.0’s theoretical transfer speed is at 5gb/s (gigabits per second) which translates to 640MB/s (megabytes per second). So the UGREEN USB Switch Box is roughly about 50% off from its advertised speed.
But having said that, 380MB/s is still very usable. You will need an external SSD disk to reach that level of transfer speeds. As such, I would still not consider this a deal breaker. Just don’t expect it to reach 500MB/s.
There’s little reason not to get this nifty gadget if you are always switching between devices. There are of course multi-device mouse and keyboards like the the Logitech K780 wireless keyboard. But that would limit your choice of devices you can use. Plus, if you are already using a nice gaming keyboard and mouse combo, why would you want to change that!