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One of the downsides of a PS3 is a lack of USB ports. Unless you have a charging dock for your controllers, each one requires a seperate port to charge on. On top of that you have to take into account any peripherals – the PlayStation Eye for instance. In my case I have the Eye, a controller dock (which requires just the one connector) and a Wheel. Ideally, I therefore need 3 USB ports.

One option is to add on a standard PC style USB hub. Another is to find one of a number of PS3 specific hubs which connect to the front of your PS3. I decided to choose the later and, after some investigation, settled on the Crown USB hub.

Like others, this clips on the front of a slim PS3. Unlike others it adds 4 more ports – this is a bigger count that other hubs. However, what they all have in common is the lack of power – they rely on the power provided by the existing 2 ports – so 4 extra ports is not necessarily a good thing! What was good, though, is that this one provides little windows for you to be able to still view the LEDs on the front of the PS3 – other USB devices cover these up. The Crown also has a plug for a power supply, if required.

The USB hub comes in a minimisitic box with only a small instruction leaflet included. This leaflet is next to useless however. It provides no details, for instance, on how the USB power has been distributed. For example, does each of the PS3’s ports provide 3 of the ports or does one provide all 4? And which one powers which? In the case of using up all the available power it would be useful to know how to distribute your connections.

The instructions also make mention of the power supply port – stating it is 5V and that you must use a specific one for it to work. Sadly they make no mention of where to get one of these or the full specifications (e.g. the wattage).

Unfortunately, the biggest problem was the product itself. It clips in nicely and blends in well. Sadly, I couldn’t get it to work. Whenever I switched on the PS3 the LEDs on my peripherals, rather than lighting up fully, would blink dimly. Not surprisingly, they weren’t being detected. Even with just one item plugged in it was the same.

Unplugging the Crown hub and plugging it back in again causes the USB devices to regain full power and to be operational again. However, switching off the PS3 seemed to reset it back to a non-functioning state again as the same problem would arise as soon as it was switched on again.

The instructions include no support details – so no website to contact, etc, for advise. Instead, I’ve had to send it back to Amazon for a refund.

If you do wish to try it out (it may work for you!) then it currently costs £7.50 from Amazon.

[review]Looks good and is well designed. But the instructions are lacking and, for me, I simply couldn’t get it to work – perhaps I just had a dodgy version, but I can’t recommend it[/review]