Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock Review: Allows Me to Bring My Office Setup Home

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The Lowdown

I feel like the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a Swiss Army knife of a dock for your setup, but the lack of more than one USB-C port means this might become outdated in 2-3 years. A bit of upside is that it doesn’t have to be stood up as I have it in my setup; you can lay it flat and use it how you see fit by simply removing the included docking station. While certainly not the cheapest accessory for your work-from-home situation, it will be one that gets the most use daily.

Pros

  • Versatile in that it can be a standing dock or laid flat
  • Thunderbolt 3 keeps MacBook charged and other devices as well
  • Have yet to have a hiccup with it disconnecting with both of my monitors

Cons

  • More USB Type-C ports, please!
Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock Review: Allows Me to Bring My Office Setup Home Listen to this article

Working from home has its own set of challenges for us all. Many of us attempt to emulate the desktop setup we had in the office from our house, but we have so many items, from drives to monitors to keyboards and mice, and so few USB ports! If this is you, then the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a great solution to consider. 

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock (TBT3-UDZ) is the company’s flagship device, and it is the first I’ve used that works with both USB-C and Thunderbolt, thanks to a built-in Titan Ridge chip that makes Thunderbolt 3 docks a bit more versatile. 

In the box, you get: 

  • 1x Plugable TBT3-UDZ Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Dual Display Dock with 96W Host Charging
  • 1x Quick Start Guide
  • 1x Power supply
  • 1x Power cable
  • 1x Vertical stand
  • 1x 0.8m 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 Cable

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

You’ll be amazed at the number of ports that fit every scenario. At the rear end of the Thunderbolt 3 Dock, there are two 1.4 DisplayPort 1.4 ports and two HDMI 2.0 ports underneath that. The HDMI is especially useful since I have multiple monitors, allowing me to connect them with ease. There is a Thunderbolt 3 port that can support 100W PD charging, handling my 15-inch MacBook Pro with ease.

I was a bit afraid having too many items attached to the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock would mean a shortage somewhere else, especially powering TWO 24-inch monitors, but I was surprised it handled it with ease.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock is the first Thunderbolt dock to offer a choice between dual HDMI and DisplayPort displays. You can drive up to two 4K 60Hz displays via Thunderbolt 3 or two 1080p 60Hz displays via USB-C.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

There is a Gigabit Ethernet Port if you opt for directly connecting your internet to the source versus using Wi-Fi, followed by five USB-A ports that can power up to 5Gbps, which in 2021 feel a bit dated to me. I would’ve loved to see more USB-C ports at the rear of the device, mainly because that is the direction most cables are going.

Instead of doing this, Plugable opted for just giving one USB-C port to the front, along with yet another USB-A port! It would have been nice to see a few of the ports swapped to USB-C for future-proofing, instead.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

At least Plugable used the front to include both a MicroSD and an SD card slot so both could be easily accessed. Also, there is a front-facing 3.5mm port for audio in and out, which is great, especially when I have to plug in headphones for those countless Zoom and WebEx team meetings. 

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Compatibility with Windows and Mac gives it the flexibility to work with everything from a MacBook to a Dell XPS to the Lenovo Yoga laptops. If there were anything I could potentially change with the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock, it would be to add more USB-C ports to the front.

Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock

I feel like the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a Swiss Army knife of a dock for your setup, but the lack of more than one USB-C port means this might become outdated in 2-3 years. A bit of upside is that it doesn’t have to be stood up as I have it in my setup; you can lay it flat and use it how you see fit by simply removing the included docking station. While certainly not the cheapest accessory for your work-from-home situation, it will be one that gets the most use daily.

The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Dock sells for $269; it is available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers, including Amazon.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Versatile in that it can be a standing dock or laid flat; Thunderbolt 3 keeps MacBook charged and other devices as well; Have yet to have a hiccup with it disconnecting with both of my monitors

What Needs Improvement: More USB Type-C ports, please!

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About the Author

Greg Alston
Diehard Apple fanboy, and lover of all things tech. Born and raised in Washington, DC, Greg enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and friends, live sporting events, good bourbon, Tetris, and pizza. In that order.