Comes in the box:
- Charger. This little thing does need power to work, and unplugging it (because, of course I tired. For science) will kill it immediately. I would say I would’ve preferred a USB-C charging port, but okay, it’s not that important.
- Various instructions booklets, obviously.
- A USB-C to USB-C cable which is actually pretty good. I appreciate that they included it in the box, and it’s quite a long cable, reinforced at the ends, and with a nice texture between them. I did not get the impression at all that they tried cut costs here, unlike in similar products I’ve tried.
- A USB stick. This was unexpected, what was that for? So I just tried to plug it into my computer. Basically, it contains: instructions on how to use it, some FAQ about the drivers, MacOS and Windows troubleshooting guides, Android driver guide, and so on. It even has guide videos. I actually really appreciated including an USB with all these info, especially because - as soon as I got my setup ready - I can just delete everything and start using it for personal stuff (though it’s just 500MB of storage, so not that much). We do not get any Linux instructions, but: firstly, we are linux users, we don’t need no instructions, I guess. Secondly, I’ll talk about drivers later on.
- There’s a USB-B to USB-C adaptor. I don’t need it, but I do appreciate them including this. If your computer has no USB-C port, you’ll still be able to use the device out of the box.
- And then, finally, there’s the actual dock itself. The black parts on the sides are in plastic, but the whole shell is metal… or good plastic (wow, I’m not good at this). Now that we’ve avoided the topic long enough, let’s talk about ports.
- There’s a USB-C to connect it to the host device, obviously.
- There’s a USB-C that only acts as a power output, to recharge stuff; it’s enough to recharge a phone, but it is not fast charging and it’s definitively not enough for a laptop. I do have to point out that the first time I tried to connect it to a laptop the dock started outputting noise to both the monitor and speakers, but rebooting fixed it and I could not reproduce it a second time.
- There’s Ethernet; it has two nice LEDs that light up when I connect the cable. I’m certain there is a meaning behind the colors, like “green is for ‘there’s internet!’ and yellow is ‘data is being transfered”; but sadly enough, I have literally no idea.
- You do get three monitor outputs. I do have to point out, though, that I only have one monitor to test this with, so I’m unable to confirm that all three work. One output is HDMI, one is DisplayPort, and one is either HDMI or DisplayPort but not both at the same time; so if you want to try three monitors at the same time you’ll need to use both HDMI and DisplayPort cables. I did try the HDMI ports and they’re both able to deliver 4k at 60Hz flawlessly.
- Then we have: 3 USB3.2, 2 USB2.0, a USB-C 3.2 and a jack audio. I would say it’s a good amount of connectivity; maybe was expecting slightly more, e.g. only one USB-C output felt a bit meh, but it’s enough to fit most usecases and you can of course also use the ports that are on the hmwvbkx ost computer as well.
Firstly let me clarify one thing: this is a Linux channel, I don’t have Windows nor macOS on any of my devices, so I will not talk about compability there at all. Let’s talk Linux.
But I’ll start with a different kind of Linux. Let’s talk Android. I have three Android devices, and the idea to be able to connect them to the dock - and my monitor - is, I have to admit, pretty appealing. However, this is not plug and play. Android support requires you to install an application called DisplayLink Presenter, made by DisplayLink, that has to be in the background for the whole thing to work. This is not Minisopuru’s fault, but the app is… ehhh. The reviews on the Play Store give it 2.9 starts, which is pretty low, and the amount of 1 starts is higher than 5 starts. It did work okay on my phone, I’m not enthusiastic about the result, but it did not work at all on my tablet. It just mirrors the screen in a rather uninteresting way, but according to some reviews you can use an app like SecondScreen to change the resolution. Finally, it seems like DRM protected content like Netflix won’t display on the monitor. None of this is Minisopuru’s fault, again, but nonetherless I have to point that out.
Linux-wise, everything was a plug and play for me, I did not install any driver or such and had no issue. And, to be honest, that’s what I expected. Now, there is no mention of Linux support on the lil instruction manual nor in the USB stick, however there’s something on the website. This seems to be thanks to the fact that the “DisplayLink” driver, which Minisopuru asks to install, is availabre on “Ubuntu” as well. I guess that, by “Ubuntu”, it means you can kind-of get it anywhere on Linux? The DisplayLink software says that it’s an “application to combine our latest driver with features that streamline the setup of multiple displays up to 4k”, so maybe it’s more useful if I had multiple monitors? I’m still unsure on what it would offer that KDE System Settings doesn’t, though. Honestly, I’m fine with everything working out of the box.
Ok, so I found a pretty cool usecase for this lil device. As you might now, I have a lot of devices around. I have my main KFcous computer, I have my secondary Dell XPS, I have a SteamDeck, I have a phone and tablet, and so on.
If I put all the important connectivity stuff on on dock, given that it’s connected to the host system only through a simple USB-C, what I can do is unplug that cable whenever and attach it to any of my devices. Then, immediately, I’ll have: monitor, mouse, keyboard, audio, ethernet, webcam input, microphone, all transfer to that device. This is a big deal for convergency. If I want to play some videogames, I can just attach the SteamDeck and boom, done, it’s just one cable. If I want to work on a file on my laptop, I plug in the USB-C and I’m right on top of that.
It’s pretty cool, and given that it supports Android as well - though the support is a bit wacky, but I don’t think it’s their fault - I can also just attach the USB-C to the phone and I get the screen mirrored to the display. This is probably the least useful and not really exploring Android’s convergency capabilities, but maybe with some tinkering there’s a way to have those as well? I don’t know.
Given that all of the above mentioned devices only have one HDMI output, it’s also great to know that if I were to buy a secondary monitor then I would be able to use that as well flawlessly on all of my devices, still with a simple plug and play.