OWC products are a mainstay of my computing these days. At home, my MacBook Pro functions as a dual-screen desktop computer thanks to the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock. When I’m on the go, OWC’s Travel Dock has helped compensate for the laptop’s two meager USB-C ports. The company has released an update to the OWC USB-C Travel Dock; it’s great.
The newer MacBook Pro I am using has just two USB-C ports that sit side by side. And while the need for physical connections has decreased in recent years thanks to fast WiFi and powerful cloud services, there are still plenty of times when you need to plug something into your computer. The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock serves up an abundance of connectivity options, fourteen in all, when I use my laptop in my home study. (Read my review.)
And since that is the primary place I use my laptop, the combination of the laptop, the OWC Dock, two monitors, and an external mouse and keyboard create a powerful desktop computer. But when I’m traveling, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock isn’t an option. It’s huge, weighs a ton and it would be overkill when I’m out and about. Still, having extra ports on the go is a good thing and, thankfully, OWC has the right product for the job.
I reviewed an earlier version of the OWC USB-C Travel Dock last fall (read the review). It did the job, and it was small and light enough that I’ve kept it in my gear bag ever since. Hey, you never know when you or someone else will need to connect numerous peripherals to a MacBook. The new version looks almost indistinguishable from the one it replaces. It still has “five ports of connectivity.” They include two USB-A 3.1 ports, one HDMI port, one SD card reader and a USB-C power pass-through port. It still has a black top and base. And it still has a ring of silver plastic running around the sides. Like its predecessor, the new dock measures 3” by 3” and is just 1/2” tall.
There are, however, some key differences.
Your office is wherever your work takes you — that day. The USB-C Travel Dock keeps your vital connections on-hand wherever you are: on-set, on location, at the studio, or lounging at a coffee shop. It transfers up to 100W of pass-through charging from your USB-C power adapter, ensuring you’re powered up and ready to deliver a client presentation or download the day’s last shots.
The original version offered 60W of passthrough power via USB-C while the new version can handle up to 100W. That’s the first difference between this OWC Travel Dock and the one it replaces. And while you can now charge your laptop while you work, you’ll have to bring your own wall adapter; the OWC Travel Dock can also be bus-powered for those times when you don’t have access to a wall outlet.
Simplify your mobile life: With five essential ports, up to 100W pass-through power, and just one cable, you’re ready to display, charge, connect, and import while on the move.
The second main difference between this new OWC Travel Dock and the one it replaces is one I was quite happy to see. The original Travel Dock shipped with a short USB-C cable permanently attached to the device. The simplicity of the approach was great- simply pull out the dock, plug the USB-C connector into your laptop and get to work- but the cable made carrying the dock in your bag a bit cumbersome. The new version of the OWC Travel Dock still has the attached cable, but now it stows under the dock when not in use.
The new dock’s cable is only six inches long, as compared to 9” on the previous model, but I don’t think that is an issue.
To use the dock you simply grab the cable from the middle, the dock is designed with an indentation at this point which makes grabbing the cable easy, pull out the cable and plug it in. When you are done, you can seat the cable back in its housing for safekeeping.
I’ll be using it with my MacBook Pro, but it is worth noting that it also works with a variety of other notebooks (Windows, Linux, Chrome), as well as tablets. It works with iOS too so long as you have the proper adapter.
In fact, I connected it to my 2019 iPad Pro and plugged a wired Apple keyboard into the USB-A port on the Travel Dock. It worked perfectly.
- PLUG AND WOW: It’s important to make your work – not technical issues — the focus of your meetings. The USB-C Travel Dock features an HDMI port for easy display connections up to 4K resolution, so you can plug in and focus on delivering a memorable presentation.
- POWERFUL OPTIONS: When you’re on the go, having power and charging options can help keep your work flowing. The USB-C Travel Dock can be used via bus power when you don’t have access to a power outlet. Or use your notebook USB-C adapter to deliver up to 100W of pass-through power and use the open port on your computer to connect another device.
- CATCH YOUR INSPIRATION: Whether it’s time-lapse photography, live events, or urban exploring, the USB-C Travel Dock helps lighten your load of adapters and dongles while expanding your connectivity options. With minimal gear, you can find inspiration anywhere, download your SD card quickly, and keep capturing the moment.
Finally, it is worth noting that OWC is offering free companion software for the OWC Travel Dock V2. If you have ever had your computer yell at you for disconnecting a peripheral device without first ejecting it, you’re going to love this software. The OWC Dock Ejector software does exactly what its name promises; it lets you disconnect every peripheral attached to your computer with a single click.
DISCONNECT IN ONE CLICK: OWC Dock Ejector safely disconnects all connected drives in a single click. Designed by OWC hardware and software engineers, Dock Ejector ensures all data is written before disconnection, saving time and protecting against data loss. Use it to move quickly between workstations and get the most out of your USB-C Travel Dock.
The OWC Dock Ejector is great if you need to quickly pack up your laptop. It, allows you to safely disconnect all the peripherals attached via the Travel Dock with a single click. It’s fast, convenient and, best of all, free.
At first pass, the new version of the OWC Travel Dock doesn’t look any different than its predecessor. And while this isn’t a complete redesign, it is a Version 2 product, after all, the ability to stow the cable beneath the Travel Dock and its ability to now handle up to 100W of passthrough power are worthy of note.
The original Travel Dock came in a number of different colors while the new version is only available in Space Gray. I honestly couldn’t care less, but I know some people care about such things.
The OWC Travel Dock V2 is available now for $54.99. You can learn more and order yours here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample of the OWC Travel Dock V2.
What I Like: Small; Compact; Cable storage built-in; Handles 100W of passthrough power; Just the right amount and number of ports
What Needs Improvement: I wish it shipped with a protective case or bag since this is an item you’ll want to keep with you.