A good all-around docking station.

When planning out workspaces, it’s important to pick just the right pieces of equipment to make your system work the best it can. For me, one of the essential parts is a docking station. I have a MacBook Pro as my main computer and it’s only ports are USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 compatible. So, finding a high-quality docking station that is compatible with my computer has always been a priority to me. StarTech is a company that specializes in making it easy to acquire hard-to-find devices. I’ve used several of their products in the past few years and so I didn’t have any problem turning to them when I decided to look for another dock. I picked up the StarTech USB-C Docking Station (DK30C2DPPD) that features USB-A laptop compatibility and 60W power delivery. 

SPECS

  • 4K Support: Yes
  • Power Delivery: 60W
  • Bus Type: USB-C, USB 3.0
  • Displays Supported: 2
  • Fast-Charge Ports: Yes
  • K-Lock Slot: Kensington Standard Slot (K-Slot)
  • Network: 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • Full Duplex Support: Yes
  • Maximum Data Transfer Rate: 5 Gbps (USB 3.0), 2 Gbps (Ethernet; Full-Duplex)
  • OS Compatibility: Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10; macOS 10.11 – 10.12, 10.14 – 10.15; Chrome OS v55+
  • Dimensions: 1.2” x 8.7” x 3.1” 
  • Weight: 9.9 oz
  • Material: Plastic

Maximum Digital Resolutions: 

  • 2x HDMI – 4096 x 2160p @60Hz
  • 2x DisplayPort – 4096 x 2160p @60Hz
  • 1x HDMI + 1x DisplayPort – 4096 x 2160p @60Hz
  • 1x 5K DisplayPort using 2 DP video ports – 5120 x 2880 @60Hz
  • Lower resolutions are also supported. For example, if the max is 4096 x 2160p (4K), it also supports 3840 x 2160p (4K), 2560 x 1600p and 2560 x 1440p.

Connector Types: 

  • 2 – DisplayPort (20 pin) Female
  • 2 – HDMI (19 pin) Female
  • 1 – USB Type-C (Fast Charge, 24 pin) USB 3.0 Female
  • 1 – USB 3.0 A (Fast-Charge, 9 pin) Female
  • 2 – USB Type-A (9 Pin) USB 3.0 Female 
  • 1 – Ethernet Gigabit Female
  • 1 – 3.5 mm Mini-Jack (4 Position) Female
StarTech USB-C Docking Station with USB-A Laptop Compatibility REVIEW

USER EXPERIENCE

I’ve used many docking stations that are designed like the StarTech USB-C Docking Station. It is rectangular, slim, and has ports on both sides of it. While there is a professional look to it, there are 9 ports on the back and at any given time, there could be up to 7 cables coming out of it. That means that while it limits the number of cables going directly to your computer if it sits on your desktop, the dock can still create cable clutter, which is something I desperately try to avoid. As I’ve used docks like this in the past, my suggestion is to mount it below your desktop or end behind it if your desk faces a wall. 

As far as set-up goes, the dock is nearly plug-n-play. I say nearly because I had to download drivers for my MacBook Pro in order for the display to work with it. I first plugged in an HDMI cable for my monitor, then I plugged in a USB-A plug that goes to my keyboard, and then I plugged in one more USB-A cable that leads to a monitor light I have on my monitor. Finally, I plugged the USB-C cable into the input port on the rear of the dock and then plugged the other end into the computer. Lastly, I plugged power into the dock. My keyboard and monitor light was functioning and connecting to my computer, but my monitor registered no signal for the HDMI input. 

StarTech USB-C Docking Station with USB-A Laptop Compatibility REVIEW

After reviewing the quick start guide that accompanied the dock in its package, I found that there was a note that drivers ‘may’ need to be downloaded. So, I went to the StarTech website, downloaded the driver, and after a restart of my computer, everything worked the way that it should. 

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StarTech describes this dock as ‘universal’ for USB-C and USB-A laptops. The main reason for that is because the USB-C cable that comes with the dock has a USB-A adapter attached to the end of it. So you have the option of plugging that one cable into either a USB-C port or into a USB-A port by virtue of the adapter. I actually think that this feature should be marketed differently because all it would really take for any dock to be compatible with USB-A is to have the right adapter. 

StarTech USB-C Docking Station with USB-A Laptop Compatibility REVIEW

My set-up is a single monitor set-up, but this dock does work with dual monitor set-ups, too. There is support available for both Ultra HD DisplayPort and/or HDMI monitors. Some of the configurations that can be made include:

  • Dual 4K DisplayPort | Up to 4096 x 2160p @ 60Hz 
  • Dual 4K HDMI | Up to 4096 x 2160p @ 60Hz 
  • Single 4K DisplayPort + Single 4K HDMI | Up to 4096 x 2160p @ 60Hz 
  • Single 5K DisplayPort* | Up to 5120 × 2880

CONCLUSIONS

The StarTech USB-C Docking Station is a nice professional option for connecting all your devices to your computer station. It does retail for around $300. It works very well and I’ve not experienced any connection issues with it — aside from the initial set-up problem that was solved with a driver. If you are looking for a dock that can handle a dual-monitor set-up and can supply up to 60W of power for your laptop, this docking station might be a good option for you. 

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