OWC USB-C Travel Dock REVIEW
A couple of years ago, I upgraded my laptop to a 2016 MacBook Pro. This was the first model of MBP that featured the USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports as the only input/output ports on the laptop. This was a huge adjustment for me as I didn’t have anything at the time that was compatible. Most of my peripherals were USB 3.0 at the time so I had to acquire a variety of adapters and docks that would make all of my devices compatible with my new laptop. Today, I have upgraded my laptop once again (2018 MacBook Pro) and am still in need of high-quality accessories to ensure that my computer can have the best connection possible to peripherals. There are a lot of third party companies out there that can overheat easily and it can be hard sometimes to find a reliable dock. When I found that OWC had a USB-C Travel Dock, I was excited to try it out because I’ve had really good success with their products in the past.
The OWC USB-C Travel Dock is compatible with Mac and Windows machines — any computers that have a USB-C connection. It provides users with connections to two USB Type-A (3.1) ports, one USB-C port, one SD card reader, and an HDMI 2.0 port. The dock supports 4K display resolution (up to 4096 x 2160 at 30 Hz). The dock is also fully compatible with Thunderbolt 3 equipped Macs and PCs. It’s available in four colors — space gray, gold, silver, and rose gold.
- Width: 3.2 inches
- Height: 0.7 inches
- Depth: 3.2 inches
- Cable Length: 9.8 inches
- Weight: 3.2 ounces
The USB-C Travel Dock arrived in a simple, standard box. Because it’s a ‘plug-n-play’ type device, the dock does not come with any type of user guide or quick start guide. It is protected in the retail package by an interior cardboard insert that keeps the dock from sliding around. The front of the box shows a nice photo of the product and some basic details of the device (USB 3.1 Gen 1, SD Card, HDMI, Mac/PC).
When you plug the dock into your computer (bus-powered), a small blue LED will illuminate on the top of the dock indicating that it’s powered. To test out the data transfer connection, I plugged in an external hard drive (WD My Passport Ultra) and ran a couple of speed tests on the drive. I had previously tested this same hard drive with a different USB-C dock and that’s why I decided to re-test it using the OWC dock. After finishing the testing I found that the speed from the OWC dock was comparable to the other dock I had used before. Both test results were within the parameters of what USB-C speeds should be.
Aside from the speed test, I also used the OWC USB-C Travel Dock to connect to an external monitor using the HDMI port. It worked very well for that use, too. I didn’t have any issues with connections using the travel dock and love how portable it is. It truly is ‘pocket-sized’ and most of the time, I would have an issue with the built-in cable. Most built-in cables on docks are not reinforced and they get easily bent or worn. Fortunately, OWC saw this as a problem and added a hard silicone coil around the base of the cable and this makes it much easier to pack the hub around — even in my pocket.
The only issue I really have with this dock is the absence of an ethernet port. Some of the other docks I’ve used include an ethernet port and it comes in quite handy when I’ve stayed in hotels that don’t have reliable WiFi. I would love to see the dock updated to include an ethernet port for that reason. There seems to be enough room on the dock itself to include an additional port so it would be great to have it added in. The bottom of the dock does have four silicone feet on it to prevent it from sliding around on a flat surface. The dock is very lightweight, but because of its size and shape, its weight is evenly distributed and it doesn’t pop up when it’s plugged into a laptop. That is a curse of some of the smaller docks — they don’t lay flat. The OWC dock does.
I’m a big fan of the OWC USB-C Travel Dock. I think it’s a great addition to my travel kit. It’s extremely portable, lightweight, and it works really well. At $35, it’s an affordable solution for connectivity. I can recommend this dock for any USB-C computer user.
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Originally published at macsources.com on December 10, 2018.