Review: OWC USB Type-C Travel Dock Integrates Ports with Connector for Ideal Travel Companion
OWC USB Type-C Travel Dock
Those traveling with a USB-C-based computer with few, if any, additional ports should seriously consider the OWC USB Type-C Travel Dock as one of their travel companions.
Those traveling with a USB Type-C-based computer with few, if any, additional ports should seriously consider the OWC USB Type-C Travel Dock as one of their travel companions.
What we like
This 17 mm (0.7 in) H x 80 mm (3.2 in) W x 80 mm (3.2 in) L USB-C dock, that weight only 91 g (3.2 oz) performs well at home or away. When connected to a computer via a USB-C cable, the dock adds 2 USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an SD card reader (UHS-II transfer speeds of up to 312 MB/s), and an HDMI 2,0 port. The HDMI outputs video up to 4096 x 2160 at 30Hz. I have used it with straight HDMI and HDMI to DVI with no issues at all.
The dock obtains bus power from attached devices. Hungry devices will likely require an external power adapter. The dock draws a maximum of 60W from an adapter, with any remaining power shuttled to the attached device for battery recharging. The dock will channel up to 100W total.
A USB-C cable coils around the underbelly of the OWC dock, keeping the profile compact and self-contained. There is nothing to lose or forget.
The accompanying OWC Dock Ejector software offers one click disconnect to drives and other peripherals connected to the dock. This eliminates any risk associated with disengaging a Mac hard drive prior to a manual dismount.
OWC’s dock, supports USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. It works as well with Android, Chromebooks, Linux devices, and PCs as it does Macs and iPads.
What can be improved
I like devices that arrive self-contained. But unfortunately, non-interchangeable parts places limits. In the case of the OWC dock, the coiled USB-C cable places a limit on the distance from the dock to the device. A competitive product we reviewed, the Twelve South Travel Dock offers a slot to hold its included short USB-C cable—and the Twelve South product also comes with a much longer cable intended for more effusive desktop environments. Flexibility balances again integrated design.
Given the support for iOS it would also be nice to include an audio port. Although the world of music increasingly arrives via Bluetooth earbuds, some may still like a wired connection for audio. With the USB-C-based iPad Pros ideal adapters include video, storage/peripheral, and audio capabilities.
OWC USB Type-C Travel Dock: The Bottom Line
The OWC USB Type-C Travel Dock meets its design challenges well. External power distributes well across its ports, shuttling excess power to batters—but the dock will work, with some limitations, without external power. The light compact design doesn’t overwhelm the diminutive storage pockets found in shoulder bags or backpacks. For iOS support, an audio port would be nice.
OWC provided the USB Type-C Travel Dock for review purposes. Images courtesy of OWC.
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Daniel W. Rasmus
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.