In an effort to get the PlayStation 3 to compete with the Xbox 360 in terms of price, Sony has released the "core" version of the console: an 80GB model that removes PS2 backward compatibility, halves the USB ports to just two, and eliminates all flash card connectivity options.
This stripped down model can now be had for $400, a far cry from the original $600 console that launched in November 2006 (that has since been discontinued). Unfortunately, anyone wanting some of the features of that original PlayStation 3 is out of luck.
Nyko aims to help you recoup some of those loses with the MediaHub for the PlayStation 3. The device is a small cube-shaped accessory that attaches to the left-most USB port on any PlayStation 3. Nyko also includes a console-specific plastic adapter to fit the various console models. The USB adapter itself matches the style of the PS3 and fits very snuggly as its teeth latch onto the grille above the USB ports.
The MediaHub offers three USB ports for use with any storage device or thumb drive. Other USB devices, such as keyboards, mice, and even the PSP, can be connected with the extension. Also, the Hub allows for the reading of Sony Memory Sticks in addition to the SD card format--however there is only one slot for both types of cards.
In our testing we found that the MediaHub worked exactly as advertised. Our PlayStation 3 read and played media off numerous USB thumb drives without skipping a beat. We didn't notice any discernable lag time comparing reading media from the onboard USB to the MediaHub's USB. Also, we were able to charge our PS3 controller via the extra ports with no issues.
Just out of curiosity, we decided to put the MediaHub up against an average four-port USB hub we had lying around. The generic USB hub gave us the same experience in terms of functionality, of course without the SD and Memory Stick connectivity and the fact that the generic hub does not attach to the PS3.
Priced at $20, the Nyko MediaHub is certainly a must-have accessory for the PS3 owner who was not able to grab a console with flash card capabilities. That said, if all you're concerned about is expanding your USB options, a generic hub will do just the same. It may be a bit messier than the MediaHub solution, but it will most likely be cheaper.