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CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review

CalDigit enters the market full steam ahead with its USB-C dock. Read on as we take a close look at what it has to offer.

Published Wed, Nov 16 2016 2:15 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST
Rating: 89%Manufacturer: CalDigit
CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 99 |

I have had a couple of USB-C docks come through over the last ten months. The first was the OWC dock in April; I did enjoy my time with that solution, but it did leave me wanting a little more, and it appears going off specifications, CalDigit has delivered.

CalDigit isn't messing around with the USB-C dock in their marketing materials. They are directly comparing their solution to the OWC Dock and having had both in my hands now; it does lend to the comparison personally. The specifications of the CalDigit solution start with a 1.1 x 7.8 x 3.6-inch box that comes in at 1.3 pounds.

You will find three USB 3.0 ports, two USB-C ports along with a DP 1.2 and HDMI 2.0 port, in addition to Gigabit Ethernet and audio in/out. Going a little deeper, the CalDigit solution supports 4K60p on both its HDMI and DP ports while the USB Type-C ports can do a 2.1A 10.5W fast charge and the Type-C can do a 3A 15W fast charge. On the subject of charging this solution, like the OWC dock can charge USB-C devices like the 2015 MacBook with a built-in 90W supply.

Compatibility extends to Windows 7+, OS X 10.8.5+, and Chrome OS, while the MSRP of the CalDigit USB-C Dock comes in at $149.99 with a one-year warranty.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 02 |

Starting with packaging, the CalDigit solution carries a bit of information about connectivity on the left.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 03 |

The back side of the box includes much more information about the dock and its compatibility.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 04 |

Included is a 20v 4.5A power brick that's capable of 90W while to the right we have a Thunderbolt 3 cable.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 05 |

Our first look at the CalDigit shows a power LED to the left with audio and USB 3.0 to the right.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 06 |

On the backside, things get busy with power input followed by USB-C Host and a secondary USB-C, DP and HDMI. Gigabit Ethernet and two more USB 3.0 ports round things out.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 10 |

As you can see, I have tested quite a few docks over the years, with the last three have been USB-C. The CalDigit device in testing its USB 3.0 capabilities performed similarly to the Kensington device, reaching peak read of 368MB/s and 340 MB/s write.

CalDigit USB-C Type-C USB 3.1 Dock Review 11 |

One place you will sometimes find concessions is in the network area of docking stations. With the CalDigit device, this isn't that case, as this solution was able to reach 948 Mbps in testing.

I didn't spend much time with the CalDigit dock; I had a full day where I tested it when I had a 2015 MacBook in the lab on loan then spent a few more days with it attached to my desktop machine. In that time, I found the dock to be adequately sufficient for anything I used it for.

The aluminum shell saved the dock from what would have been certain destruction on one occasion when I was bringing a load of samples to the office for testing where it fell down the stairs bouncing off each one.

Performance is solid over any of the USB 3.0 ports, I reached a touch over 360 MB/s read and 340 MB/s write myself and found no strange performance hits when using the Gigabit LAN and USB 3.0 at the same time.

Moving over to the display testing, I used my AOC 2879VF panel over HDMI 2.0 and DP and was able to get a solid picture 4K60, no issues.

I think CalDigit has done a rather great job with their USB-C dock. This solution has everything including fast charge, USB-C charging, solid Gigabit LAN and 4K60 support, and it's slightly cheaper than anything else on the market. A solid win for Caldigit.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

TweakTown award
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features93%
Bundle and Packaging85%
Value for Money88%

The Bottom Line: If you are in the market for a USB-C dock, you would be limiting yourself if you didn't look at what this Caldigit solution has to offer.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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One thing to note is that the factory USB-C Dock firmware only allows 4K at 30hz. You can request a firmware update from our support department that will unlock 4K at 60hz, but the USB 3.0 speeds will drop to 2.0 due to bandwidth limitations.
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