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Best USB-C Docks with HDMI 2.1

USB-C Docks with HDMI 2.1 have emerged as an invaluable asset for high-definition display experiences. While a USB-C dock provides many of the benefits that a Thunderbolt dock offers, it does so at a much friendlier price point.

From increasing the port count of your laptop to setting up a multi-monitor display, a USB-C dock is the most convenient and budget-friendly tool to expand your Ultrabook’s desktop experience.

USB-C’s biggest disadvantage, compared to Thunderbolt, is also its biggest advantage. This is because USB-C has lesser minimum specifications than the Thunderbolt interface, enabling manufacturers to minimize costs by offering only essential specifications with their product.

For instance, where Thunderbolt 4 mandatorily offers 40 Gbps data transfer speed, manufacturers can offer USB-C with speeds ranging from 5 Gbps up to 40 Gbps. And because USB-C is an open interface, manufacturers pay no royalty fee, as they would using Thunderbolt, giving USB-C a unique advantage.

DisplayLink technology allows a docking station to support up to six monitors over a USB interface. It supports DisplayPort and HDMI video interfaces, allowing you to hook up any monitor using this versatile technology.

DisplayPort Alt Mode uses MST (or Multi-Stream Transport), allowing the GPU to send signals to two monitors. In comparison, DisplayLink uses a specialized chip to achieve the same on a USB 3.0 interface, irrespective of whether the dock uses a USB-C or USB-A connector.

The HDMI 2.1 video interface can support high-resolution visuals of 4K@120Hz up to 8K@60Hz. So whether you are a content creator or gamer, HDMI 2.1 provides an ideal interface for your high-performance monitor while supporting Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT) technologies.

  • VRR technologies are vital for high-performance gaming because they prevent image tears, giving gamers an immersive gaming experience.
  • QFT is a crucial technology that reduces display latency, the time between a frame ready in the GPU and for it to be displayed.

Moreover, HDMI 2.1 is equipped for the future because it uses a compressed mode to scale up support for video resolution up to 10K@100/120Hz. It’s great to have this support to start off the content creation industry (and display manufacturers) on the path of higher resolutions.

In this article, we’ll review the best USB-C Docks with HDMI 2.1 that combine these future-ready technologies, allowing you to arm your Ultrabook with the latest ports.

The 5 Best USB-C Docking Stations With HDMI 2.1

Our Recommendations: At a Glance

  1. Plugable USB-C Docking Station – It’s a USB4 dock with 40 Gbps data transfer speed and 100W Power Delivery
  2. BenQ beCreatus USB-C Hybrid Dock (DP1310) – A dual source dock ideal to use with your laptop and gaming console.
  3. QUUGE 40Gbps USB4 Laptop Dock – This dock has the greatest number of expansion ports with plenty of USB charging ports
  4. Baseus Laptop Docking Station – This compact and portable USB-C dock is also the most affordable USB-C dock to offer HDMI 2.1
  5. MOKiN USB-C Laptop Docking Station – It’s among very few docks that offer more than one USB-C port for expansion.

1. Plugable USB-C Docking Station – Best USB4 Docking Station

Last Amazon Price Update on 2024-05-13 at 16:59 UTC+3

Pros

  • Dual 4K at 120Hz: The dock enables up to two 4K@120Hz displays or one 8K@60Hz, providing an extremely smooth and responsive visual experience for graphics-intensive applications.
  • 2.5Gb Ethernet: Offers faster speeds than the standard 1Gbps and is future-proof for potential upcoming network advancements.
  • 2-year Warranty: Better than many 1-year warranties from some competitors, great for office use.
  • Plug-and-Play: No additional software needed, unlike some competitors.

Cons

  • No 40 Gbps USB-C port for expansion: The existing USB4 port for the host connection.
  • A bit expensive, compared to some competitors.

Power Delivery

  • 100W to host computer

Compatibility

  • Compatible with macOS and Windows 10 (and higher)

Ports

Ports/Specs
Details
1x USB4
For host connection, 40 Gbps and 100W Power Delivery
2x HDMI 2.1
Dual 4K@120Hz or one 8K@60Hz
1x USB-C
1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps and 20W Charging)
3x USB-A
2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps)
Ethernet
1x Gigabit Ethernet (2.5GbE)
Audio
1x Combo Audio Jack
Card Reader
1x SC UHS-II
1x microSD UHS-II

This docking station from Plugable is a well-rounded device that offers all essential docking features combined with a thoughtful port selection that’ll instantly transform your laptop into a workstation.

For starters, it has USB-A and an additional USB-C port, which allow you to connect the latest as well as legacy devices such as printers, scanners, flash drives, and whatnot. While the USB-C port offers 10 Gbps data transfer speeds, the USB-A ports offer 5 Gbps and 10 Gbps speeds. And the other USB-C port uses the USB4 standard but is only meant for interfacing with the host computer.

You get two HDMI 2.1 that provides plenty of flexibility to choose a monitor configuration suitable to your need. While mainstream acceptance of 8K content may take some time, you can use the dock’s two HDMI ports for a dual 4K@120Hz monitor setup and enjoy glitch-free high-performance gaming.

While Plugable ensures that the dock offers tremendous utility, the location of the host connector on the rear panel is a bit of a letdown. A front-facing host connection would be better as it makes it super convenient to connect the dock for people using multiple hosts.

The dock is perfect for small home offices constrained for space. The dock minimizes cable clutter and offers versatile utility, minimizing (and often negating) the need for additional devices such as hubs and splitters.

And with 100W Power Delivery to the host computer, you can use the dock to charge your laptop and stow your laptop’s power brick to create more room at your workstation.

2. BenQ beCreatus USB-C Hybrid Dock (DP1310) – Dual Source USB-C Dock

Last Amazon Price Update on 2024-05-13 at 16:59 UTC+3

Pros

  • Dual source dock: It allows you to connect your gaming console and laptop.
  • Triple monitor setup: Connect three monitors using one DisplayPort and two HDMI ports for gaming and multitasking.
  • Plenty of charging ports. All USB (USB-A and USB-C) ports offer charging.

Cons

  • Pricey. It’s one of the most expensive USB-C docking stations.
  • No plug-and-play. You’ll have to download and install DisplayLink drivers.

Power Delivery

  • 100W to host computer
  • 36W charging on USB-C and 7.5W charge on all USB-A ports

Compatibility

  • Compatible with all leading operating systems, including M1 and M2 Macs.

Ports

Ports/Specs
Details
2x USB-C
One for host connection and one 10 Gbps with 36W charging
2x HDMI 2.1
1x HDMI 2.1 OUT one 4K@120Hz or one 8K@60Hz
1x HDMI 2.1 IN (to connect a gaming console)
1x HDMI 2.0
One HDMI 2.0 OUT 4K@60Hz
1x DisplayPort
DisplayPort 1.2 4K@60Hz
5x USB-A
3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps and 7.5W charge)
2x USB 2.0 480 Mbps
Ethernet
1x Gigabit Ethernet (1 GbE)
Audio
1x Combo Audio Jack

The BenQ beCreatus DP1310 is perfect for users who constantly multitask and need multiple screens to do their work but also like gaming when they are on a break.

The DP1310 allows you to hook up your laptop and gaming station with up to three monitors. But, make no mistake, the DP1310 is not a KVM switch.

The dock has a couple of conventional USB 2.0 ports, enabling you to attach a keyboard and mouse. However, the keyboard and mouse work only with the host computer and not with any additional source you connect using the HDMI IN port on the device.

The dock has one HDMI 2.1 output port, which supports video up to 8K@60Hz, allowing you to connect leading gaming consoles like the PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and more. Furthermore, you can connect to three monitors running 4K@60Hz using the DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 ports.

The dock has a good selection of ports that include plenty of 10 Gbps USB-A and a USB-C port. But if you are an avid photographer with several SD cards, you’ll quickly realize the surprising absence of media card readers.

Nevertheless, the DP1310’s design enables you to orient it vertically or horizontally, depending on the available desk space. The dock has an aluminum shell and a grill design, giving it double the surface area and allowing it to dissipate heat efficiently.

3. QUUGE 40Gbps USB4 Laptop Dock – HDMI 2.1 USB-C Dock With Most Ports

Last Amazon Price Update on 2024-05-13 at 16:59 UTC+3

Pros

  • USB4 Port: The fully functional 40 Gbps port supports high-resolution displays and several high-speed ports.
  • 14-in-1 design. With 14 ports at your disposal, the dock offers plenty of connectivity options.
  • 2-year Warranty. It keeps you protected from defects.
  • Plenty of charging ports. All USB (USB-A and USB-C) ports offer charging.

Cons

  • Power brick is not included. You’ll have to purchase a 100W USB-C charger and cable separately.
  • 80W Power Delivery. Where several competing devices offer 100W, the QUUGE dock offers 80W, which may be inadequate for heavy-duty laptops.
  • No 40 Gbps USB-C port for expansion: The existing USB4 port for the host connection.

Power Delivery

  • 80W to host computer
  • 7.5W charge on USB 3.0 and USB-C ports on the front panel.

Compatibility

  • Compatible with Windows and Linux
  • Mac users only get screen mirroring.

Ports

Ports/Specs
Details
2x USB-C
1x for host connection (rear panel)
1x data only 10 Gbps with 7.5W charging (front panel)
1x HDMI 2.1
1x 4K@120Hz or one 8K@60Hz
1x DisplayPort 1.4
1x 4K@120Hz or one 8K@60Hz
6x USB-A
3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps and 7.5W charge)
3x USB 2.0 480 Mbps
Ethernet
1x Gigabit Ethernet (1 GbE)
Audio
1x Combo Audio Jack
Media Card Reader
1x TF Card Reader 3.0
1x SD Card Reader 3.0

The QUUGE USB4 docking station is perfect if you want a reasonably priced dock with versatile (and maximum) connectivity options. From several USB options to a dual-display setup, the dock offers plenty of bang for your back but also has a significant caveat (discussed later).

It is a versatile device because it offers USB 2.0 ports to connect legacy devices and 10 Gbps USB-A and USB-C ports for newer devices. While the USB-C port does not support Alt Mode, it has 7.5W charging, as do the three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, giving you plenty of charging options. Moreover, all charging ports are located on the front panel, making it convenient to juggle your portable devices when they need charging.

The dock supports one 4K@120Hz monitor via the DisplayPort 1.4 or HDMI 2.1 port. But if you want a dual-monitor setup, the best the dock can offer is 4K@60Hz (on each). Nevertheless, the device is suitable for gaming and multitasking workflows, making it ideal for users seeking broader functionality at an affordable price.

The QUUGE USB4 dock offers excellent value for money. Surprisingly, the dock doesn’t come with a power brick, leaving you to buy one separately, which adds to the overall cost of the device. Of course, if you use a laptop with a USB-C charging brick, you can hook it up to the dock for a Pass-Through charging setup.

4. Baseus Laptop Docking Station – Portable USB-C Dock

Last Amazon Price Update on 2024-05-13 at 16:59 UTC+3

Pros

  • Price. It is the cheapest USB-C dock that features an HDMI 2.1 port.
  • Compact and Portable. The small and lightweight design makes it travel-friendly.
  • Dual 4K@60Hz using HDMI over USB-C.
  • Gigabit Ethernet connectivity provides access to high-speed network

Cons

  • Power brick is not included. You’ll have to purchase a 100W USB-C charger and cable separately.
  • 85W Power Delivery may be inadequate for heavy-duty laptops.
  • No USB-A 10 Gbps ports
  • No USB-A charging

Power Delivery

  • 85W to host computer

Compatibility

  • Compatible with Windows and macOS.

Ports

Ports/Specs
Details
1x USB-C
Only for power input
The host connection is via a built-in USB-C bus
2x HDMI
1x HDMI 2.1 for 4K@120Hz
1x HDMI for 4K@60Hz
3x USB-A
2x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)
1x USB 2.0 480 Mbps
Ethernet
1x Gigabit Ethernet (1 GbE)
Media Card Reader
1x TF Card Reader (104MB/s)
1x SD Card Reader (104MB/s)

The Baseus 9-in-1 docking station is a handy device for working professionals on the move. It has a modest form factor that makes it convenient to carry, and it doesn’t require an additional power brick; you can use your laptop’s USB-C power brick to power the device and your laptop.

The dock is also one of the cheapest USB-C docking stations to feature an HDMI 2.1 port. However, this also means you’ll have to compromise on a few features ordinarily found on competing devices.

For instance, the dock lacks support for 8K video, and the best you’ll get is a single 4K@120Hz display. However, given the nature of video specifications of mainstream gaming and content, one can overlook the lack of support for 8K displays. And since the dock is best suited for working professionals, it makes sense that the device supports dual 4K @ 60Hz.

Despite this, the dock has tremendous utility. It offers connectivity for legacy devices over the USB 2.0 port and has USB-A 5 Gbps ports for newer peripherals. You also get an RJ-45 port for a 1-Gigabit Ethernet connection to a wired network for high-speed connectivity. And with a TF and SD card reader, media editing professionals and photography enthusiasts can quickly transfer their day’s efforts by using the reader’s 104MB/s transfer speed.

5. MOKiN USB-C Laptop Docking Station – Docking Station with USB-C Downstream Ports

Last Amazon Price Update on 2024-05-13 at 16:59 UTC+3

Pros

  • Two USB-C 10 Gbps ports provide connectivity for new peripherals.
  • Affordable
  • Supports 8K@30 or 4K@120Hz video, or triple monitor display at 4K@60Hz.
  • Gigabit Ethernet connectivity provides access to high-speed network

Cons

  • Power brick not included. You’ll have to purchase a 100W USB-C charger and cable separately.
  • 18-month warranty. A 2-year warranty of par for the course.

Power Delivery

  • 87W to host computer

Compatibility

  • Compatible with Windows and macOS.

Ports

Ports/Specs
Details
4x USB-C
One for host connect (exclusive)
One for power input (exclusive)
2x USB-C 10 Gbps
1x HDMI 2.1
8K@30Hz or 4K@120Hz
2x DisplayPort
8K@30Hz or 4K@120Hz
4x USB-A
1x USB 3.1 (10 Gbps)
2x USB 3.0 (5 Gbps)
1x USB 2.0 480 Mbps
Ethernet
1x Gigabit Ethernet (1 GbE)
Media Card Reader
1x TF Card Reader (104MB/s)
1x SD Card Reader (104MB/s)
Audio
1x Combo Audio Jack

Most docks only use a USB-C upstream interface or offer just one USB-C downstream port; the MOKiN USB-C Laptop Docking Station has two USB-C 10 Gbps ports apart from one upstream and one for powering the dock.

More importantly, the dock features two DisplayPort and one HDMI port, making it convenient for Windows users to extend a triple-monitor setup. Mac users are limited to mirroring or extending one additional screen at best.

The dock is affordable and packs plenty of connectivity ports to cater to varied needs. It has USB 2.0, USB-A 5 Gbps, and a USB-A 10 Gbps port that covers a considerable range of USB connectivity standards. For network connectivity, you also get a 1GbE RJ-45 port, rounding off all essential ports and making the dock a productivity workhorse for most professionals.

But that’s not all; media and content creators will also appreciate that MOKiN includes dedicated TF and SD card readers with 104MB/s data transfer speeds. And with a combo audio jack on the front panel, you can easily connect your wired headset when it’s time to take a video call.

Like the docks from Baseus and QUUG, the MOKiN dock also foregoes a power brick, so remember to factor in the cost if you are considering buying this dock. The dock offers 87W power delivery to the host computer if you attach a 100W power source.

Essential Ports To Have On a USB-C Dock

Docking stations are often said to be the technological equivalent of the Swiss Army Knife because of the number (and type) of ports each device offers. Many ports offer similar functionality, and often, it becomes pretty confusing when you have to choose between one or the other, especially in the context of USB.

The USB and USB-C Conundrum

Technically, USB-C is just a type of reversible connector. Manufacturers use USB-C connectors to implement a USB standard such as USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB 3.2 Gen 1, and whatnot. Interestingly, Thunderbolt 3 and 4 use this USB-C connector. Still, you can identify and differentiate Thunderbolt-rated devices by the lightning icon (and number which signifies the Thunderbolt version) you’ll find on ports and cables.

Unfortunately, understanding USB versions and identifying the ports is challenging. Here is a comparison table of all relevant USB versions that also use a USB-C connector.

Version
Name/Marketing Name
Data Transfer Speed
USB 2.0
USB 2.0 High-Speed
480 Mbps
USB 3.0
USB 3.0 SuperSpeed
5 Gbps
USB 3.1 Gen 1
USB 3.1 Gen 1 SuperSpeed
5 Gbps
USB 3.1 Gen 2
USB 3.1 Gen 2 SuperSpeed
10 Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 1
USB 3.2 Gen 1 SuperSpeed
5 Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 2
USB 3.2 Gen 2 SuperSpeed
10 Gbps
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 SuperSpeed
20 Gbps
USB4
USB4 SuperSpeed
20 – 40 Gbps

To make matters worse, later versions of USB introduced support for data, video, and power delivery (battery charging) using a single port or able. To differentiate and identify port capabilities, the USB-IF started using various symbols for the purpose. Refer to the table below.

Image Credit: Visiontek.com

Video Ports

USB-C docking stations mostly use the DisplayPort or HDMI interfaces to support high-resolution, high-refresh-rate monitors. You may find a USB-C docking station that natively uses DisplayPort Alt Mode over a USB-C port, but generally, you’ll find that docks offer DisplayPort more commonly.

The most used versions are DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0, which offer a maximum of 4K@60Hz of uncompressed video. However, manufacturers have started adopting newer versions of these ports, and you can easily find devices that offer 8K@60Hz or 4K@120Hz.

Ethernet

Network connectivity is essential universally among all use cases, and most docking station manufacturers include a Gigabit Ethernet port. While it is challenging to find a 10 GbE port, several USB-C docking stations offer at least 1 GbE port, with the more state-of-the-art ones offering 2.5 GbE ports.

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