IOGear Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand review: Reliable ports and funky stand for smaller laptops | Camel

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The IOGear 6-in-1 4K Dock Pro adds six useful ports with a USB-C connection along with a lift stand to add utility to any modern Mac laptop.

While many products offer USB-C port expansion functionality or ergonomics to support a notebook with a physical stand, it is rare to see both combined into one product. IOGear attempts to combine both popular product types into one for maximum convenience.

The port hub is relatively simple, with the expected HDMI, USB-C, and USB-A ports. The Gigabit Ethernet port is less common on such products, so it’s a welcome addition here.

One notable omission was the SD card slot along with the Micro SD card reader. However, the trade-offs were minimal.

IOGear 4K Dock Stand Specifications

There are a total of six different ports in this docking stand.

The first three are the data ports. The two USB-A ports are built in accordance with the USB 3.2 standard, which allows both to support speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Supporting the same data transfer speed is a separate USB-C data connector.

The fourth connector, which uses the same Type-C interface, is the power delivery port that supports up to 100 watts of input into the dock. The stand itself consumes 12 watts, leaving 88 watts to power the connected laptop.

There is a Gigabit Ethernet port that supports up to 1 Gbps in wired Internet connections.

Finally, the traditional HDMI 1.4 port allows the user to connect to an external display with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 at 4K resolution at 30 Hz.

The big surprise was the inclusion of a 100W Power Delivery USB-C port in a hub that uses a single cable in the 4K Dock Stand. We’ve seen hubs powering both USB-C ports on one side of a MacBook with Power Delivery, as occupying all the only ports capable of charging would require.

Using IOGear 4K Dock Stand

To test the 4K Dock Stand, we used a 2021 16-inch MacBook Pro with an M1 Pro chip.

The initial setup

Since its width covers only one-third of the width of the 16-inch machine, the initial setup of the rack requires some precise placement.

The compact and portable metal frame is illustrated in a flat stand with metal brackets that tilt the laptop toward the user. There are five groups of channels on either side to allow the user to choose their preferred angle of the keyboard and trackpad.

The rails had to be slotted into one of the five notch groups drilled into the metal to create a stable mount. Once the stand is properly adjusted, the laptop can be placed on top.

Although the 4K Dock Stand is primarily made of what appears to be anodized aluminum, it didn’t scratch the laptop. The contacts on the stand feature a rubber pad, so the MacBook Pro never has to come into contact with bare metal.

The cable is attached to the hub that is included with the MacBook on the stand to complete setup. The connector was earlier retrieved from the cable management system under the bracket prior to assembly.

Immediately, we had problems with port locations on the 4K Dock Stand. Because of its design, the connectors are located just below the inner third of the device, just below the left Command key.

This mode meant we had to reach to the bottom of the device to plug anything and required us to uncomfortably lift our necks to search for the appropriate ports.

Perhaps the worst situation was the Power Delivery port, which was right next to the coaxial cable at the base of the left foot of the stand. We found ourselves having to remove the laptop to plug in a power cable at all.

It is very inconvenient to use and an omission in the design is supposed to be a semi-permanent dock setup.

ports

The same ports work on the 4K dock as advertised. In our testing, we were able to connect to external monitors without any problem in a nearby library.

The 4K display in the multimedia room we used for testing appears to be receiving a signal that matches the resolution of its hardware.

We also used a dual connector flash drive to test the USB-A and USB-C data ports, and they worked fine. Finally, a 100W adapter was connected to a USB-C-to-USB-C cable to test Power Delivery, and was able to charge the MacBook.

However, the capacity of just 88W is too low to adequately recharge 2021 MacBook Pros, which use inverters rated for 96W and 140W, respectively. 88 watts of power is enough to charge the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models at full speed while providing strong currents to charge larger MacBook models.

All ports maintained proper connection while plugging in a terminal.

We think the addition of an SD card slot, which was much needed for the MacBook Pro before it returns to the lineup with the 2021 revision, will be invaluable for users on lower models who want to stay productive.

While the current crop of 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, including the model used in the test, featured SD card slots, users of the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro will appreciate the added convenience.

Platform

During testing, we found the adjustable levels on the 4K pedestal mount to be awkward for docking on the 16-inch model.

With the 16-inch MacBook Pro, we’ve found it only works up to the steepest third level, with the steepest notches that place the laptop too high from the corner so the lower latches can hold the front edge of the machine. Leaving this device hang dangerously on flat bases without proper support.

Even with the flat levels, the latches were only able to stick to the lower half of the front edge of the undercarriage, although they are generally relatively stable, even while typing.

The Dock Stand’s inappropriate physical design led us to believe this is a better fit for smaller laptops, such as the 13- and 14-inch MacBook Pro models. However, the improper placement of the ports, as well as the design of the rack-lock assembly put this into question.

Should You Buy IOGear 4K Dock Stand?

We’ve appreciated the variety of port types on a 4K dock and believe it’s well-rounded enough to fit the vast majority of productivity use cases.

The ports were reliable, and the inclusion of a Gigabit Ethernet port was most welcome.

Unfortunately, overseeing the design of the rack and the location of the ports made this somewhat strange. For a dock that prides itself on offering a solid rack option as well as expansion, it failed to deliver enough to deliver on promises in our tests.

The smaller 88W capacity of the Power Delivery port, combined with a stand design clearly designed to support smaller and lighter devices, make the base more convenient for users of the 13- and 14-inch models of the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro lines.

While all MacBook models with USB-C ports will charge just fine, the ones listed will charge a bit faster.

However, the omission of the SD card slot common in other docks is an important point for these users, as most buyers of this product tend to be concerned with productivity. The built-in SD card slot, still widely used in photography and videography, is only available on the 14- and 16-inch models of the 2021 MacBook Pro.

The 4K Dock Stand also comes at a high price, especially considering that similarly priced expansion hubs feature twice the ports of the IOGear product.

IOGear’s Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand PRO

  • A variety of ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet is included for convenience
  • Port selection is comprehensive enough for the vast majority of productivity use cases

Cons of IOGear’s Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand

  • There is no SD card slot
  • Stand design only works with smaller MacBooks
  • Inappropriate port positions
  • High price compared to other expansion solutions

IOGear’s Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand Points:

IOGear’s Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand is a decent stand. It gets the job done, assuming a berth and rack combo is what you’re after. It’s awkward for Apple’s large portable sizes, and the better the further you go.

But if you’re in the overlap of a Venn diagram “need a dock with a bunch of ports” and “need to lift and angle your MacBook” this is for you, 4 out of 5.

But there are better options at this price point for everyone.

Overall score for most users: 3 out of 5

Where to buy IOGear 4K Dock Stand

The IOGear Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock sells for $69.95 on Amazon, although clipable coupons are often available to discount the price further.

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