Deal | Buying an Ultrabook for the holidays? This 16-in-1 USB-C Baseus docking station might come in handy
As Ultrabooks become thinner and thinner, port options have been steadily decreasing and converging into all-in-one solutions. USB-C in particular can now be found on almost any new laptop and it is oftentimes the only port available on ultra-thin models. Consequently, accessories like adapters and docking stations are more important than ever if users want to fully exploit their new laptops.
The Baseus USB-C docking station is currently available on Amazon for $90 to $110 depending on the model chosen. Unlike most other docking stations, it's a massive 16-in-1 solution with multiple ports including USB-C, USB-A, 3x HDMI, headphones, RJ-45, SD card readers, and even USB-C PD charging passthrough. The less expensive model integrates VGA in lieu of two HDMI ports.
The manufacturer sent us a test unit for our impressions and, after testing each port, we can confirm that the dock works as advertised. Transfer rates from the SD card readers top out at about 80 MB/s each and connecting two external 1080p monitors via HDMI would work without any issues in both Mirror and Extend modes. When connecting our HP P700 SSD into one of the USB-A 3.0 ports, we were able to record transfer rates of about 400 MB/s. We used the Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 as our primary host system since it integrates multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports, but the dock would work just as well on our Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15 which only integrates USB-C Gen. 2. Note that the integrated HDMI ports are not 2.0 meaning 4k UHD external monitors are supported up to 30 Hz only.
Nonetheless, some odd design choices and behavior prevent the dock from being perfect. The base, for example, cannot be removed meaning the dock must always be standing vertically. It's not even very sturdy as our dock would still wiggle side-to-side for poor first impressions in terms of build quality. Secondly, many of the ports are upside-down including the USB-A ports, HDMI ports, and SD card readers. It is not immediately obvious which way the SD cards should be facing when inserting them which may lead to damage.
Furthermore, the USB-C ports on the dock do not support video-out. Connecting our USB-C external monitor would not work as the ports appear to be for data and charging only.
Another hiccup we experienced relates to the USB-C passthrough charging. In order for it to work, you would have to connect the Baseus proprietary AC adapter to the docking station first, then connect your USB-C AC adapter to the rear of the dock that you would have otherwise connected directly to the laptop, and then finally connect the dock to your laptop via the included USB-C to USB-C cable. If you go out of order, then the passthrough charging may not work. Keep in mind that Windows may not immediately recognize the dock and that no specailized software is available.