Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition3.0 / 5
The Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition is a great way to connect multiple devices to your Mac, as long as you primarily use USB-A accessories.
Modern laptops, like the M2 MacBook Air, boast impressive power but have limited ports. While this might not pose a problem for the average user, it can significantly inconvenience photographers and content creators.
Dockcase seeks to solve this issue by creating a multi-functional docking station with a compact design that won't take up too much room.
The Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition is a worthy hub, providing the ports your MacBook may not have. However, its lack of USB-C ports makes it most likely incompatible with modern accessories.
Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition — A modern design
The Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition sports a sleek design that is light enough to take anywhere — within a bag or in your pocket.
Measuring 4.8 x 1.57 x .61 inches and weighing 91 grams, the Smart USB-C Hub is compact and won't take up much surface space. It's also protected from accidental damage by being built within an aluminum alloy shell.
Beneath the hub are four silicon stubs that keep the hub in place when in use. This also ensures it won't easily move when plugging or unplugging accessories.
On top of the hub is a tempered glass design, which allows the internals to be visible and gives the hub a retro feel. We have seen this design incorporated into multiple products within various categories, and it's nice to see it continuing to expand into other territories.
In the middle is a 1.33-inch 240x240 LCD display, which provides information on each port's current activity, the screen's resolution you have connected to the HDMI port, and the current wattage power supply for charging.
The hub offers multiple ports for you to utilize, such as:
- Three USB-A 3.0 ports
- One HDMI port
- One SD/TF Card slot
- One USB-C port
All three USB-A ports are capable of 5Gbps speeds. Two are on the left side, while one is on the right.
Above the USB-A port, on top of the right side, is an SD/TF Card slot capable of UHS-I (Ultra High Speeds) at up to 104m/s. An HDMI port on the left side can also be used with displays ranging up to 4K at 60Hz.
When it comes to the USB-C ports, their purposes may not be what you expect. The one on the left side is for charging — which can support up to 100W — and the one on top is for connecting the hub to your device. Neither are for data transferring.
Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition — Various ports, various usage
While testing the Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition, we connected it to an M2 MacBook Air. Since Dockcase advertises the hub being compatible with the M2 chip, we thought it would be best to test it with one.
When plugging in an external display, the connection through the HDMI port remained stable, with no random connection losses or glitches. Even when moving windows from one display to another, the performance remained smooth with no hiccups.
Because of the cooling chip built into the hub, we could utilize all ports simultaneously without experiencing overheating or lagging. We plugged in two 2.4 GHz receivers — one for a keyboard and the other for a mouse — and a portable hard drive — for backing up our system and transferring files — and they all worked as expected.
However, we experienced one downside: our devices didn't receive enough power to charge efficiently through the dedicated USB-C port. When plugging it in, our Mac started charging, but it wasn't as powerful as if we plugged the charger into the computer. This was the same result when testing out the port with a Chromebook.
Another area that didn't seem to live up to its description was transfer speeds through the USB-A ports. Dockcase advertises transfer speeds of 1GB in two seconds, but during our tests, it took over five minutes for a 1.28 GB file to transfer onto a flash drive. While this length was not agonizingly long, it wasn't close to what Dockcase advertised.
Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition — Modern design without the modern ports
By adding essential ports to your MacBook, the Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition becomes an excellent choice for people seeking to connect additional accessories to their laptops. This is, however, as long as those accessories are mainly USB-A compatible.
With its compact and durable design, the hub was proficient in portability when taking it to various locations. This was great for moments when we just threw it into a bag because we didn't have to worry about it fitting or being easily damaged.
While our time with the dock has been pleasant overall, we experienced three main drawbacks: slow charging and transfer speeds and the lack of USB-C ports.
Fortunately, MacBooks utilize MagSafe for charging, so you can connect the dedicated charger to your computer when the hub is also attached. For the transfer speed, from our tests, it wasn't too long, but it also wasn't near what Dockcase promised.
Additionally, since USB-C is becoming more mainstream, it was disappointing to see the dock only use that port for charging. While USB-A is still widely used, it wouldn't hurt to incorporate one or two data-transferring USB-C ports into the design.
If you use USB-A accessories and want a reliable hub that can handle multiple accessories simultaneously, then the Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition is a worthy option. However, we suggest looking at other hubs if you primarily use USB-C accessories.
Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition — Pros
- Compact design
- Durable built
- Informative display
Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition — Cons
- Only one HDMI port
- No data-transferring USB-C port
- High price tag
Rating: 3 out of 5
Where to purchase the Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition
You can support the Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 7-in-1 Explorer Edition on their Indiegogo page for $109, but it currently has a 36% discount, making it $69.
The hub is available in matte black and glossy silver.