UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.2 Docking Station - Product Reviews

UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.2 Docking Station

produced by Accell

posted Tuesday Mar 28, 2017 by Mark Lauter

UltraAV Mini DisplayPort 1.2 Docking Station
4.08 out of 5

The Ups

The Accell Docking Station easily converts any tablet into a highly functional desktop machine without a cost in system performance.

The Downs

The DisplayPorts were a little sloppy, resulting in occasional display irregularities when bumped hard.

The Bottom Line

If you're using, or considering, a tablet as your primary computing device, this Docking Station will enhance your day-to-day desktop experience.



Product Description

The Mini DisplayPort Y-Cable Docking Station greatly increases the number of ports available on your Mini DisplayPort enabled device. Connecting to your computer's Mini DisplayPort and USB 3.0 port, the docking station provides 2 Mini DisplayPorts, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and 1 Gigabit Ethernet port. The docking station is licensed by Microsoft's Designed for Surface program and is compatible with all Mini DisplayPort devices with Windows.

Value

Multiple monitors and high speed network access can turn a tablet into a primary desktop computing device. If your tablet supports USB 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.2, you can take full advantage of this Accell Docking Station with its duel DisplayPort outputs and integrated gigabit Ethernet port. If you travel around the world, the included collection of non-US electrical plugs will definitely be a bonus.

Design

The Docking Station is attractive and functional. One of my pet peeves is the short power cords that come with many modern laptops and tablets. I'm happy to report that the power cord is plenty long for normal use, and at about 18 inches each, so are the outbound USB and DisplayPort cables. It has three female USB 3.0 ports, one Ethernet port, two female DisplayPorts, one male USB cable and one male DisplayPort cable. That's enough for normal use and you can always chain USB hubs if you need more ports.

Unfortunately, all of the expansion ports are on the same side of the device. This means that if you want to mount the Docking Station under a monitor, your monitor and Ethernet cables will have to run to the front of your monitor all the time. Ideally, the more permanent connections would be mounted across the back with the USB and DisplayPort hookups, while the transient connections would be available in the front.

Build Quality

The Docking Station appears well built. Nothing rattles when the unit is shaken. It's light weight, but solid enough to easily withstand everyday-carry in a backpack or laptop bag.

Bumping the desk was sometimes enough to joggle the inbound DisplayPort connections in a way that resulted in the displays flickering or losing connectivity. The USB ports firmly hold USB cables and the ports feel solid with no wiggle when inserting and removing cables. The same can be said of the Ethernet port.

Functionality

It only took a few minutes to unbox and connect the Docking Station to my first-generation Surface Pro, running Windows 10 Pro. Because the Surface lacks Ethernet, the Accell is an ideal docking solution. Everything worked as expected with no disappointments.

USB Speed

I tested USB by copying a 500 MB file from the Surface to a high-speed flash drive. The goal of the test was to determine whether the Docking Station would slow down file transfer performance to the flash drive. There was no difference between maximum transfer rate over the Surface's built-in USB port and using the hub.

DisplayPort Video

With two 1080p monitors connected via DisplayPort, there was no visible performance cost on the Surface. Viewing a full screen 1080 video via Netflix on either connected monitor or directly on the Surface resulted in 9% to 12% CPU usage. This means the full video load is on the built-in video card, in contrast to a DisplayLink USB-powered video card, like in the USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station, that uses CPU to render video on the connected monitor.

Ethernet

The Ethernet connection performed at the same speeds as those measured directly on my laptop. Downstream speeds of a little over 100 Mbps were sustained.

Size & Weight

The device is light weight and small enough to be portable, though it's primary use case isn't as a portable device. It's small enough to fit on a desk, under or behind a monitor, out of the way. The height of the device is under an inch, meaning that it will easily fit under even a low monitor and expose the USB hub. My own desk is pretty full of techo-junk, but I easily found a place for the Docking Station.

Compatibility

The Surface Pro is 5 years old. That's practically pre-history in tech years. The Docking Station worked well, even with this antique tablet. It didn't require any special software - just plug it in and go. The DisplayPort on the Surface is dated, so the best I could do is extend displays to two monitors, one of which is the Surface's own display. This meant that the connected displays mirrored one another. With a Surface Pro 3 or 4, I would have been able to take full advantage of three extended displays.

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