Plugable has been hard at work filling up their product portfolio with new releases every month. One of the more recent releases adds to their impressive lineup of USB-C docking solutions, the USB-C Cube.
Docks are amazing devices that can transform a PC or Mac into a much more powerful appliance adding USB, DisplayPort, and HDMI to a system that is otherwise constrained. More often than not, these "docks" will have some sort of wired ethernet port as well and the Cube from Plugable falls right in line. This solution while offering a very modest design comes in at 2.5" square and only 1.5 inches tall packing gigabit ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports, a single USB 3.0 and 4K supported HDMI port; all while being bus powered.
Compatibility includes macOS and Windows platforms with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. MSRP of the Plugable Cube Docking Station comes in at $109.99 with a one-year warranty.
The packaging is quite basic for the Cube, an image of the dock centered with model information below.
The back goes into more detail with a full specification list including ports and scope of delivery.
Included with the Cube Dock, we have a power adapter and USB-C cable.
The front houses the USB-C input on a piano black exterior. Around the bottom of the dock, a blue LED illuminates the surface after powered up.
As for outputs, we have USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 across the top with power input, HDMI and gigabit ethernet along the bottom.
For testing, I used the Plugable NVMe USB-C enclosure with an adapter and Samsung 970 EVO. USB 3.0 performance was quite good, reaching 396 MB/s read and 402 MB/s write in sequential.
USB 2.0 is as expected slow as hell, no fault of the dock of course.
As for the ethernet port, we started at 953Mbps for a brief moment before landing at 949Mbps and holding.
A docks intention is to enable your portable machine, whether it be a MacBook or Notebook to "dock" into a set of peripherals turning the machine into a desktop of sorts. With the Plugable Cube, you have room for both a mouse and keyboard if they are wired or a KB mouse combo if they work off the same USB dongle.
There is also room to have wired networking with the gigabit ethernet port and HDMI to plug in your 4K monitor. That said you won't be doing much gaming past browser games, but I don't think that's something to be expected of a USB-C dock.
Build quality seems to be quite good the plastics all fit together well, but I will say the blue LED ring around the bottom is quite intense, and the piano black exterior does gather fingerprints with ease.
As for functionality, the USB ports are evenly spaced apart, but there could be issues between the USB 3.0 port and second USB 2.0 if you plan to plug in a large USB flash drive, measuring the spacing myself I'd say you are safe for USB peripherals under 1.5cm wide. The Ethernet port confirms to the standard as we know it as does the HDMI so no issues there. Overall the Plugable USB-C Cube is a great dock for those that want something to take with them on the go with its bus-powered capabilities along with at home or the office where you may want to add in ethernet and 4K monitor.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line
The USB-C Cube is a new and better take on the Mini Dock with an overall smaller form factor and longer cable design, offering more freedom with connectivity.
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