There are a lot of USB-C docks and accessories on the market today. While the port can be found on Windows and Linux machines, you can thank Apple for the overall popularity. When the company went all-in with USB-C ports on the MacBook Pro, accessory makers really took interest.
Today, Belkin releases a new dock that uses the newest USB connector. Called "USB-C 3.1 Express Dock HD," it features 8 ports. Best of all, it can charge your laptop while it is connected. While it does offer 4K video, it is unfortunately capped at 30Hz, making it a non-starter for many.
When I bought my MacBook Pro last year, I knew I would end up buying some dongles. Since the laptop only has USB-C ports, I would need adapters to complete some tasks. If I want to use a traditional USB-A flash drive, for instance, I need a dongle. What if I need to plug into Ethernet? Yep, another dongle.
Truth be told, I very rarely connect to Ethernet or access flash drives these days, so those dongles are almost never needed. With that said, there is one big limitation of my MacBook Pro that impacts me regularly -- lack of video out. For this, I need to use a USB-C adapter (or a docking station). I've learned that not all of these dongles are created equally, however. While many can do 4K, they often max out at 30Hz. Thankfully, I found a really great USB-C to HDMI 2.0 adapter from a company called ACCELL that can do 4K @ 60Hz.
I recently reviewed the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Apple MacBook Pro and came away very impressed. This device essentially converts your Apple laptop into a desktop with great results. The problem? It needs to be plugged into a wall for power, and it is not intended to be taken on the go.
Today, OWC announces a product that is meant to be taken with you in your laptop bag. Called "USB-C Travel Dock," it features many of the ports you may need, such as HDMI, USB Type-A, and an SD card reader. It even has a USB-C port for power pass-through, so if you only have one such port, you can charge your laptop while using it too. Best of all, it is quite affordable.
USB-C devices are coming thick and fast lately -- it feels like it is raining dongles and docks! While Apple's MacBook computers aren't the only devices with such ports, they certainly accelerated the popularity. Of course, there are both Windows and Linux machines with USB-C too.
StarTech manufactures many USB-C devices, and now it is releasing three new docking stations. Why three? Well, they offer different features and come in at different price points. Heck, one model even has an integrated 2.5-inch drive bay for an HDD or SSD! All three docking stations can charge/power a laptop too, with a max output of 60W.
There are two very important technologies changing the computer landscape nowadays -- solid state drives and USB-C. SSDs are flash-based storage devices, meaning they are faster than traditional hard disk drives, while having no moving parts either. USB-C is just a connection type, but its reversible nature makes it an absolute dream for users -- Type-A connectors were a hassle as you had a 50-percent chance of inserting it incorrectly.
When these two things come together, you get a fast portable drive that can easily connect to the newest computers, such as the Apple MacBook Pro. I have been testing a very intriguing such external SSD lately from renowned company ADATA. This manufacturer is known for its high-quality memory products, such as RAM, flash drives, and solid state drives. The 512GB SSD I am testing, called "SE730H," is extremely small, very fast, and quite durable. It uses the USB 3.1 generation 2 interface.
There is no shortage of diminutive bus-powered portable USB storage drives on the market nowadays -- both SSD and 2.5-inch HDD variants. Unfortunately, these drives typically offer relatively small capacities. Some professionals (and home users) need an external drive with much higher storage possibilities and being portable doesn't always matter. In these cases, a 3.5-inch-based USB drive is preferable, as plugging into a wall outlet for power is not an issue, and more importantly, it is available in higher capacities.
Today, Western Digital unveils a new external desktop drive line that should meet the needs of many. Called "My Book Duo," it actually leverages two 3.5-inch mechanical hard drives in RAID-0 to offer capacities up to 20TB. For example, the top capacity offering is comprised of dual 10TB drives. It connects with the latest-and greatest USB-C connector. Making it even more useful, it even includes an integrated two-port USB-A hub. This makes the My Book Duo storage system particularly ideal for machines without USB-A, such as the newest MacBook Pro. It will not charge a connected laptop, sadly. The external drive also features 256-bit AES hardware encryption and comes with a respectable 3-year warranty.
The MacBook Pro is a wonderful laptop. It offers excellent performance, a sleek design, and one of the best keyboards on the market. There really isn't much to complain about, other than a lack of ports. You see, Apple went all-in with USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports on its new laptop, meaning some users would need to rely on dongles for connecting legacy devices.
There are countless dongles, adapters, and docking stations on the market nowadays, all looking to provide a fix for this port pain-point. Today, a new such product from a company named "Seesaw" becomes available for pre-order on Kickstarter. The "DockCase," as it is called, intrigued me because of its unique design. You see, it is a protective leather sleeve for the MacBook Pro with a USB-C docking station built in. It sounds weird, I know, but it actually makes a lot of sense.
There is no shortage of ultra high definition (UHD) monitors nowadays. Prices for 4K displays have dropped dramatically over the last few years, making them affordable for many home consumers. Heck, there are even some monitors with even higher resolutions now.
While many manufacturers are producing lower-priced 4K displays, ViewSonic is apparently going in the opposite direction. Today, the company introduces a beautiful new 27-inch 4K display with professional features, such as 99 percent Adobe RGB and HDR10. It even has USB-C video connectivity, which is perfect for Apple's MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the price is sky-high, putting it out of reach for most.
Portable solid state drives are better than mechanical hard drives for a few reasons. Obviously they are faster, but more importantly, they are more durable, as there are no moving parts. For those that travel a lot, for instance, a portable SSD is a safer product for throwing in a bag. Another big benefit is size -- modern portable SSDs are getting quite small, meaning they take up less room on a desk or in a backpack.
Today, Samsung launches its newest such drive, called the "Portable SSD T5." This beautiful drive features a USB-C connector and comes in two color options -- Deep Black and Alluring Blue. Since this is a Samsung product, it should last. If there are any issues, however, the company is including a three year warranty.
USB-C is everywhere nowadays. You can find it on smartphones, desktops, and laptops. Heck, I recently reviewed an amazing router that leverages the connector for power! Even lower-end laptops are getting in on it, such as the Acer Chromebook 11 C771.
The beauty of this connector, besides it being reversible, is that it can support many dongles, adding support for devices you need now, plus future products too. Today, Satechi launches two new such dongles, both of which are made with aluminum. One is a VGA adapter, while the other offers Gigabit Ethernet.
USB-C is the future, and if your computer doesn't have the connector, I feel sorry for you. While it isn't a necessity at the moment, it will be eventually. Luckily, you can sometimes leverage adapters and cables to connect a Type-C device to a machine that is Type-A only.
Speaking of USB-C devices, ADATA has a new 3D NAND External SSD that uses that connector. Called "SE730H," it is the successor to the company's diminutive "SE730." Not only does the new model offer higher capacities, but the 3D TLC NAND should lend to improved longevity. While it uses 3.1 gen 2, the drive tops out at 500MB/s for both read and write. The "H" variant retains the same good looks and MIL-STD-810G/IP68 water and dust proofing as the prior model too.
When you buy a laptop nowadays, it is becoming much more common for it to only have USB-C ports. While you can thank Apple for leading the way with its MacBook line of laptops, plenty of Windows PC manufacturers are following suit. This is wise, as it future-proofs your computer while giving the ability to connect to legacy devices (if needed) with low-cost dongles. Microsoft has infamously omitted USB Type-C from its Surface devices, which may cause pain to consumers in the future.
If you have already invested in one of these USB-C-only machines, there are two dongles that are definitely worth buying to keep in your bag -- USB-C to HDMI and USB-C to USB-A. Some users may need an Ethernet adapter too. Satechi has two new USB-C to HDMI options -- an adapter (dongle) and a cable. Both appear very well made and are quite affordable. Best of all, not only do the products offer 4K output, but at the much desired 60Hz. Despite being sold in color options that match Apple's laptops, the adapters will work fine with both Windows and Linux too.
USB Type-C dongles are a dime a dozen nowadays. Thanks to Apple MacBook laptops that only leverage USB-C, many manufacturers quickly jumped on the bandwagon, producing many adapters, dongles, and other accessories.
As the owner of a 2016 MacBook Pro, I am very familiar with dongles -- I own several. While you might think they are all the same, you'd be mistaken. Not only are they of varying quality, but the features are not the same either. Case in point, the Startech USB-C to HDMI and VGA presentation adapters. They may look like your typical HDMI and VGA dongles, but they have a special feature.
While USB-C is certainly the future, there is one big issue with the connection type -- we live in the present. In other words, yeah, having Type-C connections on a computer is great for future-proofing, but most consumer devices still use the Type-A connector. If you buy a computer that only has USB-C, such as the newest MacBook Pro, you are going to need dongles for your existing peripherals and accessories.
Luckily, there is no shortage of dongles and adapters on the market nowadays. If you spend some money, you can get something that will meet your needs. Today, StarTech releases four new USB-C hubs, all with unique functionality. What they all share, however, is the ability to do power delivery. This means you can connect your USB-C charger to the hub, which then connects to the computer, so that a single port can both charge and handle data.
The newest MacBook Pro only has USB-C ports. For some, this can be a pain point. For others, it is refreshing to only have the most modern connectors. As time marches on, other manufacturers will likely follow Apple by forgoing USB Type-A entirely too.
Today, G-Technology unveils a beautiful new external storage drive. Called "G-DRIVE USB-C," it is designed for the MacBook and MacBook Pro, but it will work with Windows and Linux too (a Type-A cable is included in the box). The 3.5-inch 5400 RPM drive features speeds up to 195MB/s, is available in capacities up to 10TB, and offers power-delivery so it can charge your Mac too -- how cool is that?