Ever since computer manufacturers have started to move towards using USB-C ports in their computers, with some even choosing to ditch USB-A ports completely (we’re looking at you, Apple), it has created a new market space where we’re starting to see USB-C hubs rise in their popularity and prominence.
This is because these hubs bring back legacy USB ports that some accessories still use, and in some cases, offer additional ports for some laptops that might only feature one or two USB-C ports. Some also introduce features like LAN ports for users who prefer using a wired connection.
With there so many options in the market today, you might be overwhelmed when it comes to choosing one for yourself, but if you’re looking for the end-all of all USB-C hubs, then perhaps the Dockcase Explorer Edition could be it.
6-in-1 USB hub
As we said, some laptop models might only offer a couple of USB-C ports, like Apple’s MacBook Air. One port will be used for charging, which then only leaves you with one USB-C port for connecting accessories to, like keyboards, mice, external drives, and so on.
With the Dockcase Explorer Edition, you will get as many as six different ports so you can connect a variety of devices and accessories to. There will be two options to choose from, the regular Dockcase and the Pro version.
The main difference between the regular version and the Pro version is that the Pro version actually comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port. This means that if you prefer using a wired connection to your modem/router because you need faster speeds, that will be an option given to you.
That being said, it does come at a sacrifice of one USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, so if you value being able to connect more USB-A devices, then perhaps the non-Pro Dockcase might be a better option. Other than that, both the Pro and regular Dockcase will come with an HDMI port, USB-A ports (2x for the Pro, 3x for the regular), and two USB-C ports.
Now, most USB-C hubs we’ve seen are pretty basic-looking. It’s not a bad thing if you don’t need anything fancy other than a hub to connect your devices to, but for those who like having more control and having more information displayed about their connected devices, this is where the built-in display comes in handy.
The display will show users the various devices connected to the hub. You will also be able to see a ton of information like the transfer speeds, and how much power the connected devices are drawing, and if you’re using the HDMI port to connect an external monitor, the display will also be able to show you information like the resolution, refresh rate, and even the make and model of your monitor.
It will also display information like the temperature of the hub so you will know that something might be amiss if it gets too hot.
Charge anything and everything
As you might know, not all USB ports are necessarily made the same. This is why sometimes when you try to charge something through a USB hub, depending on the model or the device you’re charging, you might get some error message or the charging speeds might be too slow or it might not charge at all.
According to Dockcase’s creators, the Dockcase can do things like adjust the power supply so that if you’re trying to charge devices that might require a bit more juice, you won’t run into issues like PMIC failure. Users can also adjust the power so that if they want to use the device while it charges, like a Steam Deck, for example, you can lower the power output which means it takes longer to charge, but at the same time you will avoid issues like the PMIC from burning out.
Speaking of burning out, the Dockcase comes with built-in features like an active cooling system, thanks to the use of aluminum alloy cooling fins that can double the heat dissipation so that the hub doesn’t get too hot and damage your connected devices.
Pricing and availability
If the Dockcase sounds like the ultimate USB-C hub, it is currently on Kickstarter where the creators are trying to raise funds for its production. For those who don’t mind backing it while it is still in its crowdfunding phase, you can get a Dockcase for as low as $69 as part of the early bird pricing, where it would otherwise sell for $99. The Dockcase Pro will retail for $79 for early bird or $109 if you miss out on it.