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Hands-On

First look: IOGear USB-C Compact Docking Station returns legacy ports to MacBook, MacBook Pro in a portable package

The IOGear USB-C Compact Docking Station with Power Delivery Pass-Thru is a port-replacement peripheral for USB 3.1 type C gear —but isn't perfect for 4K.




We've looked at a lot of Thunderbolt 3 docks in the last year —but this is not that. The IOGear USB-C Compact Docking Station with Power Delivery Pass-Thru is intended for USB 3.1 generation 1Type-C gear, adding the 2015 and 2016 MacBook to the list of compatible peripherals.




The latest incarnation, the GUD3C03 has a plethora of ports. Three USB 3.0 type A ports and a 2.5mm headphone and microphone jack are on one facet. The next side of the box has a HDMI port, a VGA port, Gigabit Ethernet, and a Mini DisplayPort. One more rotation brings a microSD card slot, a SD card reader, and the USB-C power pass-through port capable of providing 60W when connected to an external power supply.




There are some limitations of the USB 3.1 type C connectivity, given the limited bandwidth. The HDMI and Mini DisplayPort leverage USB-C Alternate Modes, and can push 4K resolution, but only at 30Hz, which may be a deal-breaker for some.




From a construction standpoint, the GUD3C03 is solid, and well built. We're not big fans of the integrated USB-C cable, as we've already found it to be uncomfortably short, and are concerned about what happens with use and abuse, given its portable nature. Without a USB-C socket to connect a removable cable to the computer, a kink in that cable can be fatal to the whole assembly.

Overall, our first impressions of the device are positive. The device isn't really intended to be a desktop docking station with the massive bandwidth that Thunderbolt 3 provides, nor is it priced in that range. We'll test it more, including connecting multiple mass-storage devices through it, and get back to you with longer-term use.

The IOGear USB-C Compact Docking Station with Power Delivery Pass-Thru, model GUD3C03 retails for $99.95. It can generally be purchased slightly cheaper directly from Amazon.