Expanded capabilities for your home and work office
Despite my adoration for my work Lenovo Thinkpad laptop, I miss my main dual monitor workstation’s productivity. Beyond the ability to display information on two full-size screens, I sometimes miss my desktop keyboard, mouse, and additional USB-A/USB-C ports for jump drives or portable hard drives. Furthermore, there are times when I need a wired internet connection or additional USB-A ports. If you want to upgrade your laptop to desktop-level productivity, consider the UGREEN 9-in-1 USB-C docking station.
The UGREEN 9-in-1 USB-C Docking Station arrived in a 7 7/8 inches wide by 4 1/2 inches tall by 1 7/8 inches thick retail package. The main cover panel listed the UGREEN company name along the top within an attractive hunter-green accent box and a hunter-green lower border. The cover’s left edge listed features of the device: 9-in-1, 2x USB-A, 1x USB-C, 2x HDMI, 2XDP, Gigabit Ethernet, PD100W, HDMI+DP, 100W Fast Charging, and 10Gbps Superspeed. The lower edge listed the generic “USB-C Docking Station: Support Triple Extended Display for MacOS/Windows” and a golden 4K/60Hz logo. The main focal point was the obliquely angled image of the grey/metallic docking station plus dual USB-A and single USB-C port. The top panel listed several product manufacturing labels, while the side/bottom panels were left au natural. The rear panel listed the company name, provided a helpful product specification table, address information, and a UPC label for the CM615 Docking Station. Overall, the hunter-green color added some much-needed color/life to the packaging. Even though I love when companies choose succinct designs to busy/repetitive panels, I felt that the packaging needed an image of the HDMI/DP layout and power cord orientation.
I removed the tape along the bottom panel and removed the 12.7-ounce, 6 1/2 inches long by 3 1/8 inches wide by 7/8 inches tall metallic docking station from the cardboard tray. Next, I removed the 40-inches long USB-C to USB-C cable, user instruction manual (FCC/IC statements/EU Declaration of conformity/Warranty information), and a multi-lingual user manual. I was pleased with the included 40-inch USB-C to USB-C cable. To test the cable, I gripped each of the 1/4 inches long metallic prongs and bent them forward/backward 25 times. I then gripped the 25/32 inches long by 1/2 inches wide by 1/4 inches neck segment (UGREEN Printed onto the surface) and pulled it against the cable. I bent each segment and attempted to remove the outer cover from the device. Finally, I bent the cable at the neck segment, which measured 1/4 inches long by 1/4 inches in diameter, and tapered to the rubberized cable. I was pleased with the robust design and the cable’s overall durability. The secure prong connections paired nicely with the neck/collar and rounded cable.
The first two panels of the user manual provided an ink-outline drawing of the UGREEN docking station. The front panel provided two USB-A ports for add-on peripherals, a USB-C port for data (flash drive/HDD/SSD), and a 5/8 inches wide by 1/4 inches-tall power button. The rear panel provided an RJ45 port, followed by HDMI/PD ports for Display 1 and 2, respectively, then dual USB-C ports. The first port showed a laptop icon designed to plug into your laptop, while the second port demonstrated a power icon for added power. Both side panels had triangular vents, without any additional ports. The lower panel had 2 7/8 inches long by 1/4 inches wide rubberized anti-slip feet along each edge and product specifications/manufacturing labels at the center. Panels 3-10 detailed the multilingual setup process (EN, DE, FR, ES, IT, JP, CN), while panels 11/12 demonstrated the need to utilize only one of the ports from each display bundle.
Plug the USB-C cable between a USB-C port on your laptop and the laptop labeled USB-C on the back panel. The manual requested the user to download the DisplayLink driver before using the dock (https://www.synaptic.com/products/displaylink-graphics/downloads), 90912 product number. Panel 13/14 showed how to adjust the resolution settings for Windows 10/macOS, while panels 16/17 demonstrated Display Settings for Windows 10, and panels 17/8 demonstrated display settings for macOS. Panel 19 listed the specification table on the packaging, while panels 20-33 provided FAQ regarding display and charging issues. The final panels listed information regarding notices, after-sales, and a list of package contents. I liked the layout/design of the instruction manual and the multilingual inclusivity.
I plugged my work laptop into the USB-C port and then HDMI cables from the dock into my dual monitor setup. I enjoyed the ability to gain extra monitors through the setup. I plugged my wireless mouse USB-A dongle into one USB-A port, my USB-A keyboard into the other USB-A port, and a RJ45 cable between my modem and the docking station. I tested the internet speed connection and found a download speed of 904.6 Mbps. I removed the mouse and inserted a USB-A portable hard drive and found the drive capped at 104.3 MB/s write, and 105 MB/s read speeds. I chose first to use the extend-mode (preferred), rather than the duplicate mode, as I rarely need to copy my monitor. I found that I did not need to adjust the resolution, as the monitors auto-adjusted when I plugged them into the laptop. Interestingly, when I connected/plugged in the docking station, I found an extra drive listed in my Windows Explorer for the hard drive with just under 200kb of data. The icon contained driver links/URLS to download the drivers. I downloaded the drivers and found the drive remained in the system link. When I unplugged the device, the drive went away (like a thumb drive).
I tried using the setup with my Pre M1 2018 MacBook Pro 15” and could not get the dock to display output. I was able to enjoy the USB-A ports and wired internet capabilities but was not able to access display outputs. The 9-in-1 device worked well for my work Windows-based laptop and paired nicely with my dual monitors. For now, I will continue to rely on my Apple USB-C to HDMI dongle and gain an extra monitor for my MacBook Pro. I suspect, with some internet search and some settings adjustment, that the dock/synaptic software may allow for display. Still, I suspect the average user will not want to go through those steps, especially when considering the price of the dock. I can plug monitors into my Thunderbolt ports to enjoy extra space and spend less on a smaller dock to gain more ports. I would have liked an extra USB-A port on the back and some cable management ties/connectors. Again, at or below the price point, you can enjoy various hubs/docks. The dock worked well for my Windows Laptop but did not work as well with my MacBook.
I was able to use the RJ45 direct connection to gain just under 1000 Mbps speeds and was able to utilize my USB-A hard drives for both my work Windows computer and home MacBook Pro. I used the Blackmagicdesign Disk Speed Test and found similar read/write speeds as those mentioned above. The power input was rather impressive, charging my MacBook Pro in just under 2 hours through the PD 100W port and my work laptop in just 1.5 hours. For those with Windows-based laptops, you may find some deals on this or other docks to enhance your productivity. The device has a lot to offer with extra ports, wired internet, included drivers, generous USB-C cable, and size/shape of the dock. Oddly, the dock did not provide a 3.5mm AUX port for speakers/headphones, which felt a bit like an oversight. In summary, the device is good but shy of excellent.
- Sleek Design
- Dual USB-A ports
- USB-C port
- Dual Display Port/HDMI ports
- RJ45 Port
- USB-C Cable Included
- Good Power input.
- No Power Adapter
- No Video Output on my 2018 MacBook Pro (Pre M1)
- Extra Hard Drive listed in Windows Explorer
- Software Download was clunky
- Limited Software Support Online
- No obvious way to upgrade firmware
- Would have liked 1-2 more USB-A.
- No headphone jack/speaker jack