Laptops are more powerful than ever and can easily replace a desktop computer for many creatives. However, when it comes to the needs of creatives, the ports on most laptops just 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 whether it can cover all the needs of a demanding professional.
If you’re a creative, you probably have a lot of accessories that require ports on your computer: hard drives, card readers, printers, monitors, keyboards, mice, etc. Even a well-equipped desktop PC can struggle to keep up, and if you’re working on a laptop, you’ll definitely need more ports to handle all those accessories. With a ton of options, the Ugreen USB-C Triple Display 13-in-1 Docking Station looks like a powerful option.
- 13 ports in total
- HDMI port one: 4K@60Hz
- HDMI port two: 8K@30Hz on Windows, 4K@60Hz on macOS
- Two USB 3.0 ports: 5 Gbps
- USB-C power port: 100 watts
- DisplayPort: 4K@60Hz
- Ethernet: 1 Gbps
- USB-C port: 10 Gbps
- USB 3.1: 10 Gbps
- SD Slot: 104MB/s
- microSD slot: 104 MB/s
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- USB-C connection
Support for three simultaneous external displays
DisplayLink technology to use multiple extended displays, even on computers that do not support them natively
Compatible with Windows and macOS systems including Apple Silicon
In total, just about every port you could possibly need is included, and it’s always nice to have built-in card readers as well.
The docking station is quite small and easily fits in the palm of your hand. It’s heavy and won’t move around your desk even with lots of cables attached (a huge pet peeve for me), but it will still move around easily. It has a dark aluminum construction reminiscent of MacBooks that suits almost any desk. It just has a small status light on top which is good enough to see but unobtrusive. I appreciate this, because I’m usually annoyed when peripherals are unnecessarily bright and distracting.
Each port is clearly labeled with its maximum resolution and/or throughput so you know exactly which one to use if there are multiple options for the same connection. Ugreen has cleverly placed the most commonly needed ports on the front, with the two card readers, the headphone jack, a USB 3 port, and a USB-C port. Overall, it’s a very well thought out and attractive device. I wish one of the sides had thin rubber feet so it could sit horizontally on a desk if desired. That being said, you can buy sticky rubber feet for a few bucks, so it’s not hard to fix them if you want.
The 100 watt PD port delivers plenty of juice. For example, my MacBook Air can charge quickly at 67 watts, which means the Ugreen has no problem keeping up. For those using the largest MacBook model, the 16-inch MacBook Pro, you won’t get the fast charge rate (140 watts), but you’ll have no problem getting the normal rate (96 watts). That’s great because it means you can just plug in and turn any laptop into a desktop computer without having to worry about possible battery drain. That being said, the dock comes with a single USB-C cable. This means you will need to have or purchase a second cable and power adapter to activate the power supply. If you’re traveling and don’t want to carry a power adapter, the docking station works great when connected to just a laptop.
Multiple displays and monitors
As mentioned, the docking station can drive three displays: 4K at 60Hz on the first HDMI port and DisplayPort and up to 8K at 30Hz on Windows, 4K at 60Hz on macOS on the second HDMI port. All three ports worked as expected, giving you a ton of versatility in setting up your workspace. I’m a big fan of multi-monitor setups, and even if you’re not a power user, you might find the convenience addicting.
The only downside to my new MacBook Air is that it doesn’t support multiple external monitors (you can use the native display and an external monitor simultaneously). However, the docking station supports DisplayLink, which lets you connect multiple external displays even to a computer that doesn’t support them. DisplayLink can be a little temperamental at times, although that’s not Ugreen’s fault. In general, it worked perfectly 98% of the time, and it’s nice to be able to work with my two large screens again.
The world is slowly moving from USB-A ports to USB-C ports, and if you’re anything like me, you probably have a pretty even mix of the two types right now. And while you can usually buy new cables with a USB-C connection for your peripherals, just having both options available is both more convenient and more economical, which is why it’s nice to have a mix of both here.
And in practice, the ports have done quite well. All ports were able to keep pace with my fast external SSDs. To really torture this device, I created audio projects in Digital Performer that called upon several multi-gigabyte sample libraries. Usually when I do this I temporarily load the samples onto my internal drive so I don’t have to wait forever for them to be removed from the slow spinning drive that hosts them (I use a slower hard drive because there are many terabytes and it would be prohibitively expensive to use SSDs). Instead, this time I put them on an SSD and plugged it into the dock, and the performance was on par with the internal drive. Things were just as fast moving files between drives and such. In short, you should be perfectly happy with the practice.
Ethernet is great to have. If I’m right next to my router, I can pretty much max out my 1Gbps symmetric fiber connection, but that performance drops quickly no matter what device I’m using. I’ll always get 150-300 Mbps around the house, which is good enough for just about anything, but occasionally I’ll want maximum bandwidth if I’m transferring a ton of data. This may be the case if I’m doing a backup of several hundred gigabytes or something similar. So even though we’re in an age of fast Wi-Fi and the ability to roam freely, having that 1Gbps Ethernet port is really useful and something I occasionally take advantage of for higher performance.
And, of course, what creative hub would be complete without card readers? They are very welcome here. Most people will use the SD slot more, although those of us who shoot things like drones or have phones with removable storage will appreciate the microSD slot. With read speeds of 104Mbps, it won’t outpace some of the more advanced modern cards, but it’s plenty fast at taking files.
Overall, the Ugreen USB-C Triple Display 13-in-1 Docking Station is an impressive, all-around option for a wide variety of creatives who need plenty of fast connections, multiple displays, and the ability to take files from multiple cards. types. Plus, it’s housed in an attractive, compact design that’s easy to move around, offers additional features like DisplayLink technology, and 100 watts of power output. Finally, with a USB-C host port, it has enough bandwidth to handle not just a single data stream, but multiple concurrent threads, such as a map import, file transfer to an external drive, and multiple monitors.
What I liked
- Huge range of ports
- 100 watt power port
- DisplayLink Technology
- Fast speeds
- Sleek and attractive design
- Compact footprint
What I did not like
- Feet missing for horizontal orientation
- Comes with a 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.