OWC has taken the wraps off of a new USB-C Hub today. The OWC Travel Dock is a follow-up to the company’s first generation offering and for the most part, is largely the same. For those using USB-C devices like iPad Pro and modern MacBooks, this handy hub will offer provide connectivity for HDMI, SD, and USB-A. It also supports passthrough charging with 100 watt passthrough capabilities, which happens to be a main differentiator between it and its predecessor.
OWC Travel Dock: A tidy USB-C hub with adequate capabilities for many
While there are a quite a few USB-C hubs floating around out there, the number of unique designs seems to be quite limited. They tend to either be a hunk of metal that connects directly to a MacBook or offer a bit more versatility with a cable that is free to plug into all sorts of different devices.
When eyeing solutions that opt for a form-factor that resembles the latter option, the cable tends to dangle and have no place to go. The OWC Travel Dock takes a more tidy approach by including a cutout along the bottom where the USB-C cable can be tucked in.
As mentioned earlier, plugging in a single USB-C cable delivers USB-A, SD, HDMI, and passthrough charging. The USB-A port is capable of performing at the USB 3.1 Gen 1 specification and USB-C passthrough charging can reach 100 watts. While OWC states that its HDMI port is 4K-ready, it wasn’t immediately clear if it could be displayed at 60Hz. An OWC representative clarified its capabilities are restricted to 30Hz.
Pricing and availability
At $54.99, the second generation OWC Travel Dock is not priced quite as competitively as some other options. This is not necessarily a bad thing as OWC is known for delivering quality products and we’d all hate to see the attention to detail suffer just to shave off a few bucks here and there. It’s available for purchase direct from OWC today and while the first generation model is available at Amazon, this version has yet to make an appearance there.
While the new OWC Travel Dock is not significantly different than its predecessor, more powerful charging capabilities could prove to be important for those considering Apple’s upcoming 15-inch MacBook Pro replacement. The current 15-inch model is the most power hungry of the MacBook lineup, requiring 87 watts. This means it would not be far-fetched to expect a 16-inch MacBook Pro to take full advantage of 100 watt capabilities.
Pair this with word that the keyboard will undertake a major change and it’s unclear if Apple would also shake up the layout of USB-C connectors along the side, potentially rendering options like the recently-reviewed AUKEY USB-C Hub incompatible. I certainly hope this isn’t the case, but it does make options like the new OWC Travel Dock a safer longterm bet.
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