ROCCAT Apuri Hybrid USB Hub & Mouse Bungie Review

Author: Aaron Chen
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/roccat_apuri/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

It can seem uncommon to find products that stray too far from the mould in a market saturated with mice and keyboards of all shapes and sizes. Enter the ROCCAT Apuri: part hybrid active/passive USB hub, part mouse bungee, and part "scorpion" (at least in its design).

If you've been following our recent reviews, you would know ROCCAT as a German company that specializes in producing peripherals for gamers and enthusiasts. Just like how Razer brands itself with a green and black color scheme, ROCCAT products follows a slick blue and black visual theme that should easily complement many rigs.

At first, I didn't know what to think of the ROCCAT Apuri – I've used USB hubs before, but never in this shape or form. Despite the deviation from a traditional rectangular design, the addition of a mouse bungee here does seem like a logical step forward. The accessory will be sitting atop your desk after all. It will be interesting to see how everything meshes together as we take a closer look at the ROCCAT Apuri.

Specifications:

Product Codes
ROC-15-310
Hub Size
13cm x 6.5cm
USB Ports
4 USB 2.0 Ports
Output Power (Active/Passive)
2A/500mA
Length of USB Cable
1.5m
Length of Power Cable
1.5m
System Requirements
Windows XP/Vista, Mac OS X;
USB 2.0 Port

All information courtesy of ROCCAT @ http://www.roccat.org/Products/Gaming-Accessories/ROCCAT-Apuri/

In keeping with ROCCAT's color scheme, the ROCCAT Apuri comes in a vibrant blue and black box. Like the recently-reviewed ROCCAT Sense Mouse Pad, ROCCAT provides a large window on the front of the packaging, stretching across most of the top. Bordering the window are several tabs that highlight major features such as four USB ports, the zero-drag cable mount, and the Apuri's device/cable management capabilities. Further down, we find large ROCCAT Apuri branding alongside two thumbnail icons detailing the four fully-powered USB ports and blue illumination. The top of the box features the same branding and icons, plus a small ROCCAT Smart Desktop Management System (SDMS) graphic. The Apuri is one of four ROCCAT products designed to optimize usage ergonomics by maximizing desk space, simplifying wire management, and promoting a healthy computing posture.

On the side panel, we find four large detailed photos highlighting the Apuri's major features: four 480Mbps USB 2.0 ports, a flexible cable mount, a three-legged stand and atmospheric under-lighting. 'MMORPG-Enthusiast' Robert Schulz also provides a fairly lengthy recommendation of the Apuri here.

ROCCAT visualizes and explains the Apuri's contribution to ROCCAT's overall "Smart Desktop Management System" on the opposite panel. While the information here doesn't detail much about SDMS specifically, it highlights the Apuri's purpose as a centralized hub for all USB devices and minimize overall cable clutter. Further below, package contents, system requirements, and technical specs are listed.

On the back we find a large glossy photo of the ROCCAT Apuri itself and its slick LED lighting. Some of the main physical features are labelled here, including the four USB ports, blue LED illumination on top and underneath the unit, and the flexible cable mount. Just below that is an additional list of features including passive/active hub capabilities, zero-drag stand, and the Apuri's role as a desk assistant for cable management. This list is then translated into 9 other languages.

The bottom of the box is what surprised me – instead of a plain black panel, ROCCAT has placed a large photo of the bottom of the Apuri here. As a result, we catch a glimpse of the three large rubber feet and the slick ROCCAT logo which will light up blue for some ambient under-glow. It even has room for a recommendation in the corner by 'ROCCAT Scientist', Dr. Erik Dale.

Out of the box, the Apuri is held firmly in place by a foldable plastic clamshell. It comes bundled with an installation guide, an AC adapter for Active-mode usage, and a USB cable. Unfortunately, neither the AC adapter cable nor the USB cable is braided.

For such a simple accessory, the ROCCAT Apuri boasts quite a few features. Let's see how it all functions.

A quick glance at the Apuri is all it takes to see its scorpion-like inspiration; a smooth three-legged design accentuated by a towering "stinger" arm that leaves the entire unit standing at 4.5" tall. A nice soft touch finish drapes across the entire top surface and around the feet. While high quality to the touch, I find it absorbs the oils on my fingers quite easily. Contrary to my initial assumption, the three feet are not adjustable, though they do flex slightly to ensure an even grip on your table.

Three blue translucent pieces of plastic surround the aggressive ROCCAT logo in the middle of the Apuri, and will light up when the unit is powered on. From the front and right, we spot four USB 2.0 ports which will allow you to use the Apuri as a USB hub. The side view yields a better view of the "stinger" – essentially a rubber arm around which cables can wrap or through which one cable (most likely from your mouse) can be routed. We will take a closer look at this later.

Over to the left side we find two more ports: a mini-USB and an AC power port. Due to the Apuri's hybrid passive/active hub design, plugging in the included AC adaptor is completely optional. All LEDs and USB ports function normally when plugging in the included mini-USB-to-USB cable. Plugging in the AC adapter simply increases the total output power of the USB ports from 500mA to 2A, which can become necessary when using several high-powered USB devices at once, otherwise the hub would be pulling too much juice from the single USB power connection. Although I appreciate the easily accessible ports, I would have preferred if they were placed them in more discreet locations such as underneath the unit. Having two large ports jutting out of the streamlined design breaks the physical design a bit.

Arching over the main base is the "stinger" of the Apuri, a rubber arm with a groove down the center to run your mouse cable, plus a large gap to gather all your other cables. Due to its all-rubber construction, the arm should provide enough friction to grip your mouse cable while remaining flexible for unrestricted mouse movement. We will put this to the test in a bit.

If the arm is intrusive for whatever reason, there is an option to remove it. Simply pushing the entire arm towards the center ROCCAT logo releases it off its rails.

Looking at the Apuri from the bottom, we find the three large rubber feet and the hard plastic frame that gives the unit its shape. Down here we also spot the serial number and a QR code that will take you to an online search of the Apuri. Most obvious of all is a large protruding circular ROCCAT logo which lights up blue when the Apuri is powered.

When the Apuri is properly placed on your desk (not exactly rocket science, we know), the three LEDs on top and the ROCCAT logo together shine a subtle blue. Personally, I really like the under-glow effect. There are also slight gaps along the edges of the USB ports, allowing some of the LED lighting to shine through for a nice effect.

Overall the Apuri definitely has a nice aesthetic design. Let's see if it performs up to snuff as we go into testing.

In testing the ROCCAT Apuri, I have been using it alongside my daily tasks such as web browsing, typing up papers, and gaming. To categorize my results, I will be organizing them into two defining characteristics: Performance and Usage Experience.

Although I am testing it with a variety of mice and USB devices, I cannot say that the results found here can be indicative of every device. The cable on your mouse might be thicker/thinner, and your usual USB devices may require more power than those we tested. Be sure to keep this in mind as you read through the next page.

Testing Setup:

Tested Mice:

 

Hub Performance:

To put the Apuri's USB hub to the test, I plugged in several devices into the USB ports: two USB sticks (one USB 2.0, one USB 3.0), a DualShock 3 game controller, and a drawing tablet. Copying a 4GB file to and from the USB 3.0 sticks with (and without) the power adaptor did not yield much difference in transfer speed. I did not notice a significant performance effect in the other devices as well. The way I see it, you would probably run into oversaturating the single USB port with data before running out of usable power anyway. Unless the hub is used for high-power-low-data devices that require a fully-powered port such as LED strips or phones/tablets (for charging), I'd say it wouldn't be a bad idea to leave the Apuri as a passive USB hub, if not to simply reduce cable clutter. It is certainly nice that ROCCAT allowed the option between active and passive mode though.

Usage Experience:

When it came to using the Apuri as a mouse bungee, I had mixed feelings. At the very least, the "stinger" arm raised my mouse cable to the point where I did not have it rubbing against my mouse pad or the edge of my desk. Being able to wrap cables around the arm was also nice. Given its all-rubber construction, the extra friction firmly helped keep the mouse cables on the tested Logitech G5 and ROCCAT Kone XTD in the groove.

However, actually using the mouse bungee was like tying the cable onto your monitor stand – very restricting. I felt confined to what little distance I could stretch the cable. Moving too far left or right made the stinger arm pull back in resistance. Moving forward or backward with the mouse was also awkward as it was met with a pushing or pulling resistance, respectively, from either my mouse cable or the stinger. Basically I was confined to using a fraction of my large mouse pad.

It didn't help that running cables through the hole in the stinger just got in the way of the mouse cable through the groove. Every time I ran a cable through the hole, I needed to remove the mouse cable from the bungee.

One thing I must commend ROCCAT for is the rubber feet. Even with a mouse attached and in use, the three circular feet prevented the Apuri from moving around at all.

When looking at supplementary peripherals such as the ROCCAT Apuri, it's important to draw a fine line between the features they bring and the price that you need to pay to use them. The USB ports on the Apuri work well enough, even without the additional power adapter. The build quality, overall design, and lighting also do a great job at making the unit stand out (in a good way) alongside your other gaming peripherals.

But while the bungee did reduce the drag from my mouse cable, it was hampered by what little space I could actually move my mouse without being met with resistance. Although being able to wrap cables around the stinger arm was nice, we are essentially left with nothing more than a stylish-looking USB 2.0 hub. Currently selling for $39.99, the price is steep for such a product. Even if the Apuri had come with USB 3.0 ports (a glaring omission here, I must say), it would still remain at the higher end of the price spectrum for similar products.

Don't get me wrong, the Apuri's aesthetics are exceptionally nice and I can see some purchase it just for that reason. Yet it's hard to recommend such a product when many alternatives can be had for less. I like the Apuri's intent toward cleaner desk space, but it wasn't implemented as well as I'd like here. I simply can't see the ROCCAT Apuri as much more than a niche product for those who are willing to pay a premium for aesthetics.

»Neoseeker.com

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