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Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: Harooneneutics
Date: June 07, 2020 09:30PM
Review: OWC USB-C Dock

I recently purchased an OWC USB-C Dock and thought I’d share my initial experience with it since I was on the fence about investing in a powered dock. The new, open-box product I purchased was $78.75 plus tax, about $40 less than the new, unopened version.

The OWC USB-C Dock has greatly simplified my setup and, after a few days of use, has been a consistently solid performer. I haven’t experienced any issues with connectivity during use or when reconnecting the dock.

Background
My primary work computer is a MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports). I had been using a (work-provided) unpowered Apple USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter (with HDMI, USB-C, and standard USB ports) in conjunction with a powered USB 2.0 hub and a separate Belkin USB-C Ethernet adapter. In other words, it was clunky and required a fair amount of unplugging and replugging to make things work. Most annoying was a wired Apple keyboard that occasionally would stop working. Some combination of unplugging the USB-C adapter, the USB hub, and the keyboard usually would bring the keyboard back to life after a few attempts.

Setup
The dock, as far as I could tell, was identical to a non-open box product. The box had been resealed, and the dock had protective film on top of it. The cables were neatly tied, and the dock comes with an external power supply.

The included USB-C cable is short (18 inches), so some setups may require a longer cable. Connecting everything was straightforward, and USB devices, Ethernet, and headphones were all recognized.

The monitor I had connected using the included MiniDisplayPort to HDMI 4K adapter and an HDMI cable was not recognized initially. The provided MiniDisplayPort adapter, at least in my setup, would not stay seated properly. I replaced it with an Amazon MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adapter that I had on hand, and the monitor was instantly recognized (and continues to be). The Amazon adapter had a bit more cable that allowed the HDMI cable to have a bit more space from the dock.

Use
There’s not a lot to say here because the dock just works. I have had zero issues so far with USB devices not functioning or disconnecting randomly. OWC also offers a “Dock Ejector” app that ejects all drives connected to the dock with one click. It seems to work as promised in Catalina (10.15.5) and is accessible from the menu bar.

When connected, the MacBook seems to charge at about the same rate as the Apple AC adapter I have been using. Network speeds seem to be comparable to the Belkin USB-C Ethernet adapter I had been using. Headphones work as expected on the front 3.5mm Stereo Audio Input/Output Combo Port. I tried out a pair of old powered speakers and did notice that there’s a hum from them when the computer is disconnected and the speakers are still connected to the dock. The particular model of speakers doesn’t have a power button, so it would be a non-issue if the speakers could be powered off.

I have not yet tested two functions: audio input via the 3.5mm and the SD card reader. Neither are functions I foresee using even occasionally.

Wrap-up
In short, the OWC USB-C Dock has been a good investment for my purposes. I was in particular pleased to purchase it at a reduced cost that still included a two-year OWC warranty. Outside of the minor issue with the MiniDisplayPort adapter, everything has worked as expected.
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Re: Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: jdc
Date: June 07, 2020 09:36PM
thanks for the write up.

Wish OWCs product photos were larger. so dang small =(

Looks cool, but huge compared to some others?



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Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: Harooneneutics
Date: June 07, 2020 09:49PM
Quote
jdc
thanks for the write up.

Wish OWCs product photos were larger. so dang small =(

Looks cool, but huge compared to some others?

It's definitely intended for use desktop use, although OWC does offer a travel version with far fewer ports. Dimensions are:
Height: 2.8 cm (1.1 in)
Length: 9.0 cm (3.5 in)
Width: 20.0 cm (7.9 in)]

Maybe bigger photos on this (other?) OWC website.
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Re: Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: June 08, 2020 09:00AM
Love the OWC Docks and will always take a look at their offerings first when I'm in the market for something, but be sure to note Mac compatibilities for this model. I had bought one during a Garage Sale and was surprised that it would not work with my iMac (21.5" 2017). Sure enough, it's not compatible with any desktop Macs (sales page; scroll down and click on compatibility). That was on me, as I didn't check that b'f making the purchase.



(BTW, it's spelled < y'all >.)
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Re: Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: Lew Zealand
Date: June 08, 2020 11:17AM
???

I wonder what makes it not compatible with a desktop Mac?
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Re: Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: OWC Larry
Date: June 08, 2020 04:52PM
Apple did some things with Power Delivery and video unique to desktops vs. laptops. We are actually testing an update that will enable the USB C 10-port to work with desktops in addition to laptops (our Thunderbolt 3 docks have no system type limitations due to standards that are universal with Thunderbolt 3). I believe the only hang up is still going to be with Mac mini - but pretty minor one where we will exclude display port compatibility for Mac mini 2018 and later.... it works, but the way built in HDMI is prioritized on the Mac mini we're finding issue conflicting related to video wake from sleep for that video port - so will be there and can be used, but going to call it not supported most likely.

Shorter answer is that soon we will release an update that will take care of what makes it no so right now. smiling smiley

Thanks all!

Quote
Lew Zealand
???

I wonder what makes it not compatible with a desktop Mac?



OWC Larry
Other World Computing
[www.macsales.com]
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Re: Review: OWC USB-C Dock
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: June 09, 2020 10:50AM
Quote
OWC Larry
Shorter answer is that soon we will release an update that will take care of what makes it no so right now. smiling smiley

Thanks all!

Excellent to hear -- it's a great Dock; well made and good port layout. Was sad to see that I couldn't use it back when.



(BTW, it's spelled < y'all >.)
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