I am currently running two Pi 3Bs from the charging ports of an Anker 3+7 port hub. Both of them have an external hard disk on their own ports. The big hub's data ports are in use by the desktop computer, so the two Pis use it only for power.
The question I am pondering here is that if one could have a smaller hub, say 3+1 ports, and a 12 V input, then he could use the charging port of the hub to power the Pi, and the three ports as powered, external data ports for the Pi, say for 2.5" external disks.
My starting point is Transcend TS-HUB3K. The 12 V input is because if the hub has input from a 5 V microUSB port, then the hub most probably does not regulate the voltage in any way. But if the hub creates the 5 V for the ports wholesale from the 12 V input, then there's much bigger chance of stability under greater loads.
One could, of course, buy an Anker with 7, 9+1 or 7+3 ports, but that's quite overkill for a single Pi. Using only the official power supply often does cut it. But when it doesn't, a small powered hub is the next step. The idea here is to supply the Pi itself also from the hub.
So, please, experiences, experiments, recommendations? Small powered hubs, maybe 3+1 ports with a 2.4 A charger port?