Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, hands-on: A slimline laptop dock with host charging option Review

Maria J. Danford

Laptop computer docks that get the job done with USB-C are fairly commonplace these times, thanks to the development for performing from home, but docks that assistance the greater performance and versatility of Thunderbolt 3 are rarer, even although many Home windows laptops now assistance Thunderbolt, as very well as Apple’s MacBooks. 

Plugable makes a wide array of hubs and docks, from superior-stop docks that assistance triple screen established-ups for qualified users, by to ‘legacy’ docks made for PCs working Home windows XP and DVI screens. Even so, the most effective all-rounder for homeowners of Thunderbolt-equipped laptops is likely its Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station.  

There are truly two variations of this dock accessible. The far more very affordable alternative, with product number TBT3-UD1-83, is made for use with a single exterior screen and fees £194.ninety five (inc. VAT) or $169. Housed in a strong metallic casing, the dock has a lower-profile design and style that stands just 28mm superior, 225mm wide and 80mm deep, so it will in good shape very easily on your desk or under your check with no getting up way too substantially space. It does involve a mains ability offer, so it is really not particularly portable, and it is really a disgrace that Plugable does not incorporate a stand — as it does with some of its other docks — that allows you to orient the dock in an upright placement. 

plugable-thunderbolt-3-dock-front.jpg

The front panel has just one USB-A and just one USB-C port.


Picture: Plugable

The front panel is quite basic, with just single USB-A and USB-C ports for immediately connecting units. The again panel has a far more in depth established of connectivity attributes, with Gigabit Ethernet for your office community, a second USB-A port, and two 3.5mm jacks for audio enter and output. There is just one DisplayPort adapter for connecting an exterior screen, supporting up to 4K resolution with a 60Hz refresh fee. Plugable also includes a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter in the box, even though this only provides 30Hz refresh for 4K shows. 

And, as you may possibly count on, the dock also provides two Thunderbolt 3 ports — even though this is in which factors get a minimal difficult. Just one of these ports is made use of to hook up your Mac or Computer, leaving the second Thunderbolt port accessible for more Thunderbolt units. Even so, the Thunderbolt ports on the significantly less expensive TBT3-UD1-83 product only assistance info transfer, so you are unable to cost a notebook or hook up an exterior screen by using Thunderbolt.  

plugable-thunderbolt-3-dock-ports-on-2-models.jpg

The $169 product (TBT3-UD1-83, top) has two Thunderbolt 3 ports but does not cost the host notebook on the $229 product (TBT3-UD1-85W, previously mentioned), just one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports supports 85W host charging.


Illustrations or photos: Plugable

Plugable also sells a marginally far more expensive variation of the dock, with product number TBT3-UD1-85W. This product appears to be like identical, and has the similar established of connectors on its front and again panels, but just one of its Thunderbolt ports provides 85W ability output for charging a notebook, while the second Thunderbolt port can assistance video output for a second screen. This product is marginally far more expensive, costing $229 in the US, even though it does not seem to be to have arrived in the Uk nevertheless. 

Leading ZDNET Testimonials

Of course, many notebook homeowners will locate that a significantly less expensive USB-C dock is flawlessly adequate for their requires, but if you do have a notebook that supports Thunderbolt 3, then the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is a compact and multipurpose resolution for office- and home-based personnel.

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