Totally not made for Mac….I’m just kidding.
It wasn’t that long ago that everyone (and I do me everyone) was complaining about Apple releasing laptops that only had USB Type-C ports. Now, if your phone, headphones, or computer DOESN’T have the latest and greatest port, it is sub par.
I was an early adopter of USB-C, namely because I was also an early adopter of one of those USB-C-only MacBooks. By and large, I love USB-C, and I’m a big big fan of “USB-C All the Things.” Still, it wasn’t long after the late 2016 MacBooks were released that a slew of USB-C dock/dongles were released by numerous third party manufacturers, one of the more well known early releases being from a company called Satechi.
Initial reviews to those products were mixed in nature; some thought it was great, others thought it was a terrible thing to need in the first place. I was a fan but never got one, as I didn’t find myself needing legacy ports enough to justify anything other than a few small Type-A to Type-C adapters for under $10. The larger hubs retailed for around $100, and a couple years later, they are still $100 and they do exactly the same thing.
Yet I digress. This dock from Belkin is of the variety with a 6″ cable (this one is black) coming out of the end, versus some of the Satechi and similar models which have one or two USB-C ports to connect directly to a Mac in a more seamless manner. The space gray dock matches my space gray MacBook exactly and is the physical size of a smaller battery bank you might carry with you; I imagine (although I don’t know for sure at the time of writing this review) it will come in a lighter silver color as well. It is thicker in the back than it is in the front, and mostly rounded except for one beveled edge along the top/front of the dock.
The dock offers one Type-C port with 60W of power delivery (more on this later), one standard SD card slot, two USB Type-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, one HDMI port which supports 4K resolution at 30Hz, and one gigabit ethernet port.
Aside from the design, there’s not a lot to report about this dock. It does what it claims to do–and even helped me identify a bad lightning cable that I had been carrying around for some time…but I do want to talk a little bit about the Type-C port on the dock. This port delivers either 60W of power upstream (so if you connect your laptop’s USB-C power adapter to the dock, then the dock to your laptop, you can charge it), or data connectivity downstream to a hard drive, phone or tablet. It will push power downstream to smaller devices.
Be sure to consider the manufacturer’s documented “Tested Compatibility” list before purchasing. The design indicates this pairs well with MacBooks due to the color option(s), but it works well with other laptops as well–and worked just fine for both my MacBook as well as my Dell XPS 13.
As USB-C 3.1 becomes more ubiquitous, I hope docks like this one will come down a little bit in price, since less popular third-party manufacturers are selling these for $40-$60 on Amazon. At $100, just to have a name brand–I’m not sure it’s worth it. The physical build is solid; it has a good total heft and feels substantial in your hand. It looks great from a design perspective (especially color matching my MacBook), but it’s not that substantially different from less-expensive options on Amazon that offer the same (or better) connectivity.
So, at the end of the day–if you don’t already have one of these in your cable bag, consider getting one. But, without some discount, I see no compelling reason to go with Belkin over any [other] product assembled overseas.