There are many USB-C hubs to choose from, but devices built for high-bandwidth USB4 devices are still a rarity. Plugable has now released a new hub with a lot of ports and full support for 40Gbps USB4.
Plugable’s new USB4 Dual HDMI Docking Station (model UD-4VPD) is a high-end USB hub, aimed at people who want to have a desk setup for their laptop with multiple monitors and additional ports. It supports up to two 4K screens at 120Hz, or a single 8K display at 60Hz, using HDMI 2.1. However, there’s no dedicated DisplayPort connectors, which seems strange. The hub uses MST to support multiple displays, which macOS does not support, so this hub can only handle two screens on Windows PCs.
The full list of ports includes two HDMI 2.1, 2.5Gbps Ethernet, a headphone/microphone combo jack, SD and microSD card slots, and four USB ports (one of which is Type-C with 20W USB Power Delivery). The docking station can charge a connected laptop at up to 100W, so unless you have a higher end workstation laptop, you shouldn’t need a dedicated power cable at your desk. There are 11 ports in total.
Even though this docking station is built to take full advantage of USB 4 at 40Gbps, there aren’t many laptops or tablets with that feature. Thankfully, it should work the same with Thunderbolt 4 devices (USB4 is based on TB4), and at least some functionality will be available through devices that only support the older Thunderbolt 3 standard.
Plugable said in its announcement, “The UD-4VPD docking station utilizes the benefits of USB4 technology to offer high-speed data transfer rates of up to 40Gbps. It is also fully compatible with Thunderbolt 4 systems, providing seamless connectivity across a wide range of devices. Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C hosts are also supported, though in some cases with reduced display mode options. Plug-and-play connection through a single 1m USB4 Type-C cable (included), the UD-4VPD simplifies setup and reduces cable clutter.”
The USB4 Dual HDMI Docking Station is available now for just shy of $200, and there’s an introductory discount of $15 off. That’s not a terrible price for what you get, but the lack of full Mac support and DisplayPort connectors does make it less useful than some alternatives, depending on what you need. Kensington sells a Thunderbolt 4/USB4 dock for $150 with two Thunderbolt connectors capable of DisplayPort output (but only one standard USB port), for example.