With laptops getting smaller and “ultra-portable,” one of the sacrifices is lack of ports. In fact, there are more than a few current laptops that come with a power jack, USB Type-C port and not much else. Fortunately, USB Type-C allows you to connect a number of different peripherals and our IOGEAR GUD3C03 review takes a look at a compact USB-C docking station with Power Delivery pass through.
The IOGEAR GUD3C03 USB-C Compact Docking Station with Power Delivery Pass-Thru has the following features and specifications:
- Full-sized productivity in a compact design
- Affordably connect up to 10 devices
- 4K Ultra HD (UHD) support
- SD and Micro SD card reader built-in
- Use your USB-C power supply to charge your laptop up to 60W
- Input: USB 3.1 Type-C
- Output: USB 3.1 Type-C
- Cable Type: USB-C
- Audio Input: 3.5 mm Line-In (Shared)
- Audio Output: 3.5 mm Line-In (Shared)
- Computer Side: USB 3.1 Type-C Port
- Power PD: Pass-Thru up to 60W
- USB: 3x USB 3.0
- Video Output: mDP(up to 3840×2160@30Hz), HDMI(up to 3840×2160 @30Hz) or VGA(up to 1920×1200 @60Hz)
- LAN: Gigabit Ethernet
- Flash Memory: SD/MicroSD
- Dimensions: 0.47 x 4.7 x 4.7″ (1.2 x 12 x 12cm)
What’s in the box
- IOGEAR GUD3C03 USB-C Compact Docking Station
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card (1-year limited warranty)
The IOGEAR GUD3C03 USB-C Compact Docking Station has a pretty simple and mostly sturdy design. Just under 4 3/4″ square, it sits at about 5/8″ in height with rounded corners and sloped edges. The housing is manufactured from aluminum and as a result, has not only a nice look to it but also has a nice weight. The IOGEAR logo is printed on the top of the docking station and there is a bit of flex if you press down on the top. This shouldn’t be a huge issue, but you’ll definitely want to avoid putting anything on top of it.
The docking station has ten ports in all. On the left side, you’ll find the Micro-SD card slot, SD/MMC card slot, and USB Type-C Power Delivery charging port. On the front is where the HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, and Mini DisplayPort ports are located. Finally, the right side of the docking station you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack (which doubles as input or output) and three USB-A 3.0 ports. The ports are all nicely spaced and easy to access.
The bottom of the docking station has four rubber feet, one in each corner. Underneath each corresponding port is an icon representing the type of port it is as well.
The USB Type-C cable is connected to the back of the docking station and, not including the connector itself, is about 5″ long. Personally, it would be nice to see this a bit longer as, depending on your setup, it’d be nice to be able to tuck this behind your laptop on your desk instead of beside it.
Ease of Use
As it requires no external power, the IOGEAR USB-C Compact Docking Station is super simple to use. Simply connect the USB Type-C cable into the USB Type-C port on your laptop and your good to go. There are a couple caveats regarding display and display output but we’ll cover that in the performance section.
Depending on what you’re plans are for a docking station are, your performance may vary. As far as the card slots, audio jack, USB 3.0, and LAN ports are concerned, there are absolutely no issues that we encountered when using the docking station on a Windows 10 laptop. We were able to test out Power Deliver pass-through on a Windows 10 laptop as well and charging was as expected. Depending on your laptop though, you’ll only get a maximum of 60W of charging power as 15W is used by the dock so if your laptop requires more than 60W then this dock won’t be as suitable for charging while using it.
The larger caveat is when it comes to displays. While there are three display ports — HDMI, mDP, and VGA — on the laptop, they can’t all be used at the same time. You can use either the HDMI or mDP output to a single display at up to 3840×2160 resolution with a maximum refresh rate of 30Hz. The VGA port will output to a maximum of 1920×1200 resolution at 60Hz. If you wish to connect dual monitors, thus making a three display system with your laptop, you can only use the HDMI and mDP ports at the same time. HDMI and VGA or mDP and VGA will not work. Additionally, dual video output only works on Windows machines (sorry Mac users), will output at a maximum 1920×1200 resolution at 60Hz, and requires you to use HDMI to HDMI and mDP to mDP or mDP to full DP cables. HDMI to mDP/DP or vice versa will not work.
That being said, during our use, and testing, connecting a single laptop via HDMI or mDP to work as a secondary display and worked just fine. We had no issues with the display ports at all when using the proper cables on a Windows 10 laptop.
The only other “issue” we noticed while using the compact docking station for extended periods was that it does get a bit warm. However, this shouldn’t be an issue for concern if you have it in an open area and not tucked away somewhere — which, given the size of the cable, shouldn’t be an issue anyway.
Priced at $99.95USD, there are definitely cheaper docks out there but there are also more expensive docks as well. With ten ports as well as it’s solid aluminum construction and decent performance, the IOGEAR USB-C Compact Docking Station is pretty reasonably priced.
The IOGEAR GUD3C03 USB-C Compact Docking Station works great if the added functionality you’re looking for is within the constraints of the dock. If you’re looking for dual 4K UHD output or dual display support on a Mac, then, unfortunately, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
*We were sent a sample of the IOGEAR GUD3C03 USB-C Compact Docking Station with Power Delivery Pass-Thru for the purposes of this review.
IOGEAR GUD3C03$99.95 USD
- Solid construction
- Easy to use
- Plenty of additional ports
- Supports PD Pass-Thru
- Affordably priced
- Compact design
- Can get a little warm
- Video output varies based on number of monitors
- Can't use HDMI/mDP and VGA at the same time
- USB-C cable could be a bit longer
- Only dual outputs 1080p on Windows machines
- Single video only on Macs