Laptop Mag Verdict
The Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) is a fantastic docking station for the price, showcasing top-tier performance across numerous desktop disciplines. However, you’ll be dogged by its limited port selection. Smaller setups will gain the most from it, and trust me when I tell you there’s still plenty it has to offer.
4K @ 120Hz dual monitor support
100W of Power Delivery
USB4 (40Gbps) speeds
Premium, high-quality build
Slim on ports
Gets pretty warm over time
Grand but bland
Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) isn’t like the others. It might look that way, even sound that way judging by name alone. But it isn’t. Sure, the UD-4VPD might have a name like the tail end of a Steam redemption code, but I find that rather fitting — as it would make an excellent addition to a gaming setup.
Not just gaming either, the UD-4VPD has what it takes to be the heart of a tidy little content creation hub, controlling high-resolution displays with several speedy data ports to transfer media with ease. All while this little dock nails the basics of power delivery and effective cable management.
Is it one of the best laptop docking stations we’ve come across so far? It’s certainly in the running. Let’s dive a little deeper into Plugable’s dock and see what makes it stand out from the competition.
Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) price and availability
Docking stations are generally expensive, especially when they’re as well-built and versatile as the UD-4VPD. That being said, Plugable’s Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) is available for just $199.95 at Amazon.
That’s a fair price for what you’re getting. Compare the UD-4VPD’s price to the very similarly specced $299.99 Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station and you realize just how reasonably priced it is. The difference in $100 does mean you give up a spare port or two, but you are also gaining faster ports overall — including a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port.
The only real difference between the two is that the UD-4VPD is USB4-backed (40Gbps), as opposed to following Intel’s Thunderbolt 4 (40Gbps) standard. Which, in a general setup at least, won’t make too much of a difference at all.
Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) design
Plugable has kept it simple on this one to great effect. Sporting an anodized aluminum silver chassis with black aluminum face and back plates, the UD-4VPD looks decidedly sleek. Its rounded corners tone down an otherwise boxy appearance and helps to cut a fairly modern silhouette on your desk.
The familiar Plugable logo takes its place atop the dock but beyond that, design-wise at least, it’s somewhat of a humdrum affair. The aluminum chassis takes much of the spotlight, and in terms of premium build — it absolutely nails it.
From the second you pick up the dock, you can practically measure its quality in newtons alone. Its 3.15-pound heft makes it nigh unmovable even while swapping cables in and out — further aided by four grippy, rubberized feet on the UD-4VPD’s base.
The dock measures 9.17 x 5.71 x 3.31 inches in total, giving it a more than manageable footprint that could easily find a home in even the smallest setups. The elongated frame ensures that there’s generous spacing between ports and plenty of wiggle room for cable management once they're filled.
Another boon for cable management is the inclusion of the rear-facing host port, which is ideal if (like me) you can’t stand any stray cables coiling their way around your workspace. The dock’s overall design keeps the majority of ports to the rear of the device, allowing them to disappear over the edge of your desk and out of sight while keeping the more frequently accessed ports for data or charging at the front.
While Plugable’s device is no eye-sore, that doesn’t mean it’s dazzling either. It’s great if you’re keeping things strictly business, with its relatively bland design posing no risk of becoming a desktop distraction.
But if you’ve got more in mind when it comes to Plugable’s dock than it being a workstation cable assistant, it can come across slightly stiff looking when surrounded by devices more casual in their design — but we’ll get to that later.
Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) ports and connectivity
The Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station can connect to any USB-C laptop, though if you want to take full advantage of the UD-4VPD’s impressive 40Gbps transfer speeds you’re going to need a USB4 or Thunderbolt 4 compatible machine.
Outside of the dock’s power input, fueled by a mighty 170W power supply included in the box, there are 11 ports on offer — 10 once the USB4 host connection is made. It's a somewhat generous collection of ports to choose from, and it’ll have all of your bases covered, but if you’re a heavy peripheral user then don’t expect to get more than three or four devices connected before you have to start juggling things in and out.
Taking a look at the front of the UD-4VPD we have a power switch, a single USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 2 port (10Gbps), a USB Type-C 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) port with 20W Power Delivery, a set of Micro SD and SD card readers, and a 3.5mm mic/audio combo jack.
Spinning the dock around you’ll be greeted by a USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 1 port (5Gbps), another USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 2 port (10Gbps), a supercharged 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, two HDMI 2.1 display outputs (allowing two 4K external displays @ 120Hz, or one 8K @ 60Hz), the USB4 (40Gbps) host port with up to 100W of Power Delivery, and finally the power in port.
As port selections go, the UD-4VPD’s offering isn’t bad at all, especially when considering its ~$200 price tag. It’s a reasonable selection of ports, all of which offer impressive data speeds — a few of which include solid charge speeds as well.
Plugable Dual HDMI Docking Station (UD-4VPD) performance
For general use, the UD-4VPD is a solidly performing device with just enough ports to manage a good few devices at any one time while offering a beyond excellent set of external display options that deliver impeccable results across the board.
However, if you’re a bit of a power user or simply have a need for additional accessories beyond your standard keyboard and mouse (such as external storage, or even a desk fan or lamp) then you’re likely to come up short.
But by the gods don’t touch it after a long day's work unless you’re about to join a secret government agency and want to show your initiative by melting off your own fingerprints in advance.
That would be the general gist of this review. However, Plugable founder and CTO Bernie Thompson was kind enough to answer when I asked him how he sees this docking station being used to full effect.
Thompson was quick to point out the UD-4VPD’s display capabilities as a primary. He showed great courtesy by explaining the technical way in which these outputs work — much of which, I’ll be honest, was so clever it made me feel insecure about the fact me no brain good.
However, Thompson kindly wrapped up his answer with the following: “Creative and gaming audiences tend to look for these high resolutions and refresh rates.” And so, I wanted to see if I’d overlooked or undersold anything that Plugable’s dock had to offer.
I tweaked my setup to accommodate a more creative feel. And, sure enough, the UD-4VPD was equally proficient. I took the dock on a video and photo editing tour that saw both the front-facing MicroSD and SD card readers performing excellently, pulling large images and videos from my camera’s storage card at fantastic speeds.
While I couldn’t put the dock to the test with an 8K display, I joined up a second 4K screen for even more of a digital canvas to work on and Plugable’s dock remained entirely unphased — though, as previously pointed out it did start to pick up a fair amount of heat. Honestly, if the box Plugable’s dock came in said it was also a micro radiator — I’d believe it.
So, what about gaming? Well, to give the dock its best shot I swept the whole desk clear and started again. Starting with what gamers seemingly find to be most important first.
I slapped as much RGB onto my desk as I could before bathing everything in neon hues. Which immediately resulted in Plugable’s dock looking more out of place than a middle-aged man on a bouncy castle.
It maintained much of its humdrum aesthetic even while donning a purple synthwave tint. In spite of the hours I spent staring into that illuminated power button, the little gamer inside me failed to reach a concise conclusion about whether it was just a plain old white LED or the slowest RGB cycle I’d ever encountered.
In terms of performance, Plugable’s dock is absolutely great for gaming. Its ability to transmit clear 4K pictures without any noticeable lag or stutter at 120Hz made for a top-notch, visually smooth experience. Hooking up an RJ45 cable to the dock’s 2.5Ghz Ethernet port made slow speeds and high ping a thing of the past in online games and gave me a considerable boost in speed when it came to downloading the dozen or so updates cluttering up my Steam account.
While the visuals were absolutely captivating, I eventually had to pull myself out of the experience and get back to my review. After all, there’s only so much OlliOlli World a hardcore gamer like myself can endure.
The aftermath of my test session saw the UD-4VPD now crammed with wires to resupply my ailing wireless devices and surrounded by a litany of crushed soda cans and scattered Doritos crumbs. Like the weepy kid at their first sleepover, I could almost hear this little out-of-place device cry out for me to take it home — back under the safe glow of an incandescent light bulb where it belongs.
But this is your life now, UD-4VPD. This is where you’ll stay. You’re now a prisoner of my gaming setup and you’ll be tortured by the electric snares of ambient Chillwave Lo-Fi Hip Hop Beats 24/7 live streams on YouTube until the day you eventually reach such critical heat levels that many consider you the second coming of the Demon Core and my entire town has to evacuate out of environmental fears.
Plugable’s dock proved to be an excellent addition to each setup I tried it with — but only just, and only because my setup was relatively basic each time. Which was mostly because I had no room left to connect anything else.
My wireless headset gathered dust on the shelf — and as for my external storage? There was no home to be found. That’s without me having the need for any specialized accessory like a graphics tablet, UHD webcam, or capture device that many streamers or content creators would find essential.
The UD-4VPD is a dock brimming with potential, and it will make for an excellent addition to the vast majority of setups. It has excellent qualities for content creation and gaming, but its limited number of ports means it’s not the dock for professionals or the hardcore crowd.
Plugable’s Dual HDMI Docking Station is a sure-fire win for a more relaxed setup that isn’t too worried about having access to everything all at once. If you want the core experience with all the performance bells and whistles then this is the docking station you need to keep your eye on.
Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’ve got Doritos to clean up.
Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.