Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station review: 13-port powerhouse

Plugable’s Dual 4K Display Docking Station delivers all the ports you need — and then some

Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

Plugable’s Dual 4K Display Docking Station gives laptops a vast selection of ports and the option of using HDMI or DisplayPort — with a competitive price to boot.

Pros

  • +

    Sleek, lightweight design

  • +

    Variety of ports

  • +

    Vertical/horizontal stand options

  • +

    100W Power Delivery

  • +

    Competitive price

Cons

  • -

    No USB-C/Thunderbolt 4

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Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station Specs

Price: $199
Ports: 5 x USB-A 3.0, 1 x USB-C 3.2 (host port), 2 x HDMI 1.4, 2 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader, microSD card reader, 3.5mm microphone jack, 3.5mm audio jack
Supports: Windows 10 or later, macOS 11 or later, ChromeOS 100 or later 

Plugable is a master of developing docking stations that suit your needs. Whether it's adding to the tally of USB-A ports on your Ultrabook or MacBook, or giving you access to Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, the company has a dock with your name on it — and a great example of this is its Dual 4K Display Docking Station with 100W Charging.

This sleek, unassuming docking station was built to suit the needs of many laptop users looking to expand their desk setup. There are more USB-A ports than one could ask for, constant 100W charging via the USB-C host port, and two HDMI and two DisplayPort outputs with 4K at 60Hz support. It even throws in an SD card reader and a microSD card reader, along with a Gigabit Ethernet port for good measure.

The highlight of it all is its competitive price, although it's clear this has affected the type of ports it boasts. There are no Thunderbolt 4, USB-C, nor USB-A 3.2 ports, but for your run-of-the-mill connectivity needs and dual 4K display support, Plugable shows its docking station mastery once again, making it one of the best docking stations around. 

Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station price

The Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station is officially priced at $249 on Plugable’s listing page, which is a considerably pricey investment to make. The good news is it's discounted to $199 over at Amazon (opens in new tab), and you can expect it to stay at that price (the company has a good habit of keeping discounts available).

Factoring in the price cut, the docking station gives you a lot of bang for your buck. You’ll find other docking stations to be far more expensive, such as the $299 Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station and $289 Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock. But this can be an unfair comparison as both include Thunderbolt 4 ports. 

(Image credit: Future)

The Plugable USB-C Triple 4K Display Docking Station is, as you might expect, a pricier option at $279 (officially $394). It offers another set of HDMI and DisplayPort options compared to the Dual 4K Docking Station, but it also doesn’t come with as many USB-A ports or a microSD card reader. The $179 Kensington SD4100v USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station is its true rival, boasting six USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports. However, it doesn’t come with the Dual 4K dock’s variety of ports, lacking any HDMI ports or SD card readers.

All in all, this dock offers a great number of ports at a fitting price, especially if you’re looking to make the most out of your USB-A-compatible PC peripherals. 

Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station design

Plugable’s Dual 4K Display Docking Station is a slight reimagining of its usual black monolith on a stand, and this change is for the better. Taking the shape of a stretched-out oval, with smooth rounded edges, the modernized design fits right in with any type of desk setup. And, with its slender form factor, it won’t take up much desk real estate either. 

(Image credit: Future)

Plugable may state that it’s a “horizontal docking station,” but the company added a small, rectangular base to the left side of the dock. This means users can lay it flat or stand it up to minimize how much space it takes up. It isn’t as sturdy when standing up though; a slight touch can make it sway a little and it lacks the rubberized feet found on the bottom of the dock.

Its plastic, matte black frame with a glossy strip lining the edge gives it a premium look, with grilles at the front bringing more character. It’s a subtle design that’s meant to blend into a tech-filled desk, and I’m a fan of it. The bigger focus here is port placement, and the dock has all the right ports in the right place.

(Image credit: Future)

More permanent connections, like the HDMI and DisplayPort slots, are conveniently placed at the back, while more temporary plug-ins, such as SD cards and wired headphones, are in the front. It’s always handy to have three USB-A ports at the front for USB sticks or keyboards, but there are also two extra USB-A ports at the back. It leaves the mess of cables behind it so you can keep your desk relatively wire-free.

Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station ports

With 13 ports to boast about (not including the two extra HDMI and DisplayPort slots), the Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station has enough ports to suit nearly all your connectivity needs. Sure, it would be nice to see a USB-C port, or even the might of Thunderbolt 4, but if you have a lot of PC peripherals that require a USB-A connection, this dock will satisfy. 

(Image credit: Future)

On the front, there are three USB-A 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm microphone jack, a 3.5mm audio jack, an SD card reader, along with a microSD card reader for content creators, photographers, or anyone else that works with loads of footage.

(Image credit: Future)

On the rear, there are two USB-A 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet slot, two HDMI 1.4 and two DisplayPort 1.2, and a USB-C host port. That last one supports 100W Power Delivery (PD), meaning you can connect multiple devices while having your laptop charge post haste.

With the 13 extra ports to add to your MacBook or Ultrabook’s measly couple of slots, you can expand your notebook into a full-blown powerhouse. 

Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station performance

With the amount of PC accessories we can use to transform laptops from sleek portable machines into true workstations, it can be irritating when there aren’t enough ports. That’s why it’s sometimes better to be overly prepared, and that’s what the Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station brings to the table.

While its five USB-A 3.0 ports are simple, they go a long way in connecting a heap of PC peripherals. From a mouse to keyboards, along with USB Sticks and cables to connect other devices like a smartphone, these will always come in handy. With five extra slots to build on your laptop’s connectivity, the Plugable dock is already doing a fine job. However, it’s the options for display connectivity that really shine. 

(Image credit: Future)

Through its HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 ports, you can have two 4K displays running at 60Hz. Interestingly, this extends the longevity of the docking station. If you’re deciding on getting a new external monitor (one of the best monitors may pique your interest), you won’t need to worry if it needs a DisplayPort or HDMI connection — the docking station has both.

I tested the display connections on my 32-inch BenQ Mobiuz 4k display and 27-inch Asus VG279 monitor via my Asus ROG Strix Scar 17; both connections worked without any noticeable lag or stutters. Take note, you need to download and install the DisplayLink software on Windows laptops or the DisplayLink Manager for macOS on MacBooks.

(Image credit: Future)

I also connected my Corsair K65 RGB Mini gaming keyboard, HyperX wireless headphones via a USB-A stick, and a Razer Naga Pro mouse. And because I had the space, I also plugged in my Pixel 7 Pro to see if I could get a charge. Unsurprisingly, the dock could seamlessly connect all the devices to the laptop, along with charging it and the smartphone simultaneously (although, the USB-C port’s 100W charging was far faster). Plus, it comes with a power adapter in the box, along with a handy USB-C cable.

While it would be great to see Thunderbolt 4 make an appearance, this would bump up the price of Plugable’s dock, and not everyone can make the most of its 40Gbps transfer speeds or USB-C monitor connections. Overall, you’re getting a quality dock with a variety of ports. 

Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station: Bottom line

The Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station is a fantastic docking station for its (discounted) price, especially for those who have a plethora of USB-A accessories and want to use them all at once on their laptops. Its dual monitor connectivity options are welcome, the two types of SD card readers won’t go unnoticed by content creators, and its 100W PD charging can speedily top up your laptop.

The dock doesn’t try to do anything groundbreaking, but it doesn’t need to if that’s not what many laptop users aren’t looking for. If you’re in need of reliable ports and want to upgrade your desk space with a bunch of PC peripherals and two external monitors, you can’t go wrong with the Plugable Dual 4K Display Docking Station. For more on the best docking stations around, we’ve got you covered.
 

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.