A compact docking station that connects your laptop to the outer world.

A few years ago when I decided to upgrade my laptop to a 2016 MacBook Pro, I really struggled with the decision to do so because of its lack of ports. That was the model year when Apple switched to only providing USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on the laptops. Eventually, I decided that there were enough dongles and hubs available that I could make it work. I would soon discover that the docking stations that were available were bulky and didn’t travel well. So when Plugable released the USB-C Cube Docking Station, I was thrilled.

PLUGABLE USB-C CUBE DOCKING STATION REVIEW

DETAILS

The USB-C Cube Docking Station is the smallest dock made by Plugable to date. The device allows you to extend the connectivity and usability of your USB-C system with a dock that fits in the palm of your hand. One of the features that are included with the Cube is support for “Alternate Mode.” Alternate Modes, according to Plugable, “allow certain non-USB data and protocols to be sent over a USB-C cable.” Another great feature of this dock is that it’s bus-powered by the host computer. It comes with a power adapter, but if you are connected to a host computer via USB-C, the dock is then powered by the computer.

SPECS

  • Supports a single HDMI display for mirroring or extending your desktop with resolutions up to 4K@30Hz, 2560×1440@60Hz & 1920×1080/1080P@60Hz
  • Compact size with detachable USB-C cable making it ideal for clutterless workstations while portable for travel
  • Three total USB Type-A ports; One USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports on the rear
  • Wired gigabit network connectivity via one RJ45 Ethernet port
  • Plug and Play with no driver installation needed

In the Box

  • UD-CUBE Mini Dock
  • 1 x USB-C to USB-C cable
  • 1 x Power Adapter (20W 5V/4A)
  • 1 x Quick Start Guide
PLUGABLE USB-C CUBE DOCKING STATION REVIEW

USER IMPRESSIONS

The USB-C Cube Docking Station has a nice retail package. The box is durable and it clearly shows what product is nestled inside. There is some basic information on the back of the box and it’s easy to open. When you open it up for the first time you will find the dock resting on one side of the box with the phrase “thank you” printed in several different languages. Beneath that message is where the power adapter/cable and USB-C cable are stored. The power adapter is quite large — especially in relation to the size of the dock. As is mentioned above, this dock doesn’t require the power adapter to operate as it works off of bus power, too. I definitely appreciate that as I see this dock as the perfect traveling companion — except for its power adapter. It is important to know that the dock won’t charge the connected laptop. Plugable is very clear about this and even has the following information included on the product page of their website.

PLUGABLE USB-C CUBE DOCKING STATION REVIEW

The UD-CUBE docking station will not charge your connected host laptop. You will need to keep the original power adapter connected to the system in order to charge it. It may appear that the UD-CUBE is charging your computer, as you may see some charging indicator upon connecting your computer to the Cube. While the Cube does provide 15W of power back to the host system, this is not enough to keep the laptop charged under normal use. Please make sure to keep the original laptop power adapter connected for charging.

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While I was disappointed that the power adapter was so large, I was grateful to find out that the dock was bus-powered, too. This means I can toss the dock into my laptop bag when I go places and not worry about having to take one more cable with me.

This is a remarkable little dock. I really enjoyed using it to set up a mobile workstation the last time I went out of town. While it doesn’t have all the features one might want from a docking station, it has a lot going for it. Since it has three USB-A ports, I can hook up most peripherals I might need while on the road. I really love that it has an Ethernet port because if you are traveling and need to connect easily to a wired Ethernet connection, this dock gives you that option. Aside from the fact that this dock and its power adapter won’t charge your laptop, it works very well. I do wish that it had an SD card reader incorporated.

PLUGABLE USB-C CUBE DOCKING STATION REVIEW

CONCLUSION

This tiny docking station is a great option for people who travel a lot or for people who have limited desk space and need to expand their system. It’s worked great for me and I’m looking forward to using it any time I travel.

For more information, visit plugable.com, Facebook, and Twitter.