Laptops are more powerful than ever, easily capable of replacing a desktop for many creatives. However, when it comes to the needs of creatives, the ports on most laptops simply aren't enough to cover everything. Enter the docking station. In this review, we take a look at the Ugreen USB-C Triple Display 13-in-1 Docking Station and if it can cover all the needs of a demanding professional.
If you are a creative, you probably have numerous accessories demanding ports on your computer: hard drives, card readers, printers, monitors, keyboards, mice, and more. Even a well-appointed desktop might struggle to keep up, and if you work on a laptop, you are definitely going to need more ports to wrangle all those accessories. With a ton of options, the Ugreen USB-C Triple Display 13-in-1 Docking Station looks like a powerhouse option.
- 13 total ports
- HDMI port one: 4K at 60 Hz
- HDMI port two: 8K at 30 Hz in Windows, 4K at 60 Hz in macOS
- Two USB 3.0 ports: 5 Gbps
- USB-C power delivery port: 100 watts
- DisplayPort: 4K at 60 Hz
- Ethernet: 1 Gbps
- USB-C port: 10 Gbps
- USB 3.1: 10 Gbps
- SD slot: 104 MBps
- microSD slot: 104 MBps
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- USB-C connection
Support for three simultaneous external displays
DisplayLink technology for using multiple extended displays, even on computers that do not support them natively
Compatible with both Windows and macOS systems, including Apple silicon
Altogether, just about any port you could need is included, and it is always nice to have card readers built in as well.
The docking station is quite small, easily fitting in the palm of your hand. It's hefty and won't scoot around your desk, even with a lot of cables connected (a huge pet peeve for me), but it'll still travel easily. It has a dark aluminum construction reminiscent of MacBooks that looks good on pretty much any desk. It has just one small status light on the top that is enough to see but unobtrusive. I appreciate this, as I generally get annoyed when peripherals are unnecessarily bright and distracting.
Every port is clearly labeled with its maximum resolution and/or throughput so you know exactly which to use if there are multiple options for the same connection. Ugreen smartly placed the most commonly needed ports up front, with both card readers, the headphone jack, a USB 3, and a USB-C port. All in all, it is a very well-thought-out and attractive device. I do wish that one of the sides had thin rubber feet on it so it could sit horizontally on a desk if desired. That being said, you can buy sticky rubber feet for a few dollars, so it is not hard to fix if you so desire.
The 100-watt PD port provides plenty of juice. For example, my MacBook Air can fast charge at 67 watts, meaning the Ugreen has no problem keeping up. For those using the largest MacBook model, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, you will not get the fast charge rate (140 watts), but you will have no problem getting the regular rate (96 watts). This is great, as it means you can simply plug in and turn any laptop into a desktop without having to worry about the battery eventually draining. That being said, the dock comes with just a single USB-C cable. This means you'll need to either have or purchase a second cable and power adapter to enable the pass-through power delivery. If you're traveling and don't want to carry a power adapter, the dock works just fine connected solely to a laptop, however.
Displays and Multiple Monitors
As mentioned, the dock can drive three displays: 4K at 60 Hz over the first HDMI port and the DisplayPort and up to 8K at 30 Hz in Windows, 4K at 60 Hz in macOS over the second HDMI port. All three ports performed as expected, giving you a ton of versatility in how you want to set up your workspace. I am a huge fan of multi-monitor setups, and even if you are not a power user, you might find the convenience addicting.
The one drawback to my new MacBook Air is that it does not support multiple external monitors (you can use the native display and one external monitor simultaneously). However, the docking station supports DisplayLink, which allows you to connect multiple external displays even to a computer that does not support them. DisplayLink can occasionally be a bit finicky, though that's no fault of Ugreen. In general, it worked perfectly well 98% of the time, and it's nice to be able to work with my two large monitors again.
The world is slowly transitioning from USB-A to USB-C ports, and if you are anything like me, you probably have a pretty even mixture of the two types at the moment. And while you can generally purchase new cables with a USB-C connection for your peripherals, just having both options available is both more convenient and more cost-effective, which is why it is nice to have a mix of both here.
And in practice, the ports performed quite well. All ports were able to keep up with my speedy external SSDs just fine. To really torture that device, I created some audio projects in Digital Performer that called on several multi-gigabyte sample libraries. Usually, when I do this, I'll load the samples on my internal drive temporarily so I don't have to wait forever for them to get pulled off the slow spinning drive that houses them (I use a slower HDD because there are many terabytes and it would be cost-prohibitive to use SSDs). Instead, this time, I put them on an SSD and plugged it into the docking station, and the performance was comparable to the internal drive. Things were equally speedy moving files between drives and the like. In short, you should be perfectly pleased in practice.
The Ethernet is great to have. If I'm right next to my router, I can just about max out my 1 Gbps symmetrical fiber connection, but that performance quickly decreases no matter which device I'm using. I'll still get 150-300 Mbps around the house, which is plenty for just about everything, but occasionally, I'll want maximum bandwidth if I'm transferring a ton of data. This might be the case if I'm performing a backup of several hundred gigabytes or something similar. So, even though we're in the age of speedy Wi-Fi and the ability to mostly roam freely, having that 1 Gbps Ethernet port is really useful and something I take advantage of occasionally for the superior performance.
And, of course, what hub for creatives would be complete without card readers? They're quite welcome here. Most people will make more use of the SD slot, though those of us who shoot with things like drones or have phones with removable storage will appreciate the microSD slot. With 104 MBps read speeds, it won't max out some of the most advanced modern cards, but it's plenty speedy for file intake.
Altogether, the Ugreen USB-C Triple Display 13-in-1 Docking Station is an impressively complete and capable option for a wide variety of creatives who need a lot of fast connections, multiple displays, and the ability to take in files from multiple card types. In addition, it's housed in an attractive and compact design that travels easily, offers extra features like DisplayLink technology, and 100 watts of power output. Finally, with a USB-C host port, it has plenty of bandwidth to handle not just a single stream of data, but multiple simultaneous threads, such as a card import, file transfer to an external drive, and multiple monitors.
What I Liked
- Huge array of ports
- 100-watt power port
- Displaylink technology
- Fast speeds
- Sleek, attractive design
- Compact footprint
What I Didn't Like
- Missing feet for horizontal orientation
- Comes with one USB-C cable, but you need two and a power adapter for a pass-through setup
Conclusion and Purchase
The Ugreen USB-C Triple Display 13-in-1 Docking Station is an easy recommendation for creatives who need maximum connectivity in a compact and reliable package.