Review: Anker launches new triple monitor USB-C dock designed for M1 Macs

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Today, Anker is launching its latest desktop peripheral in the form of a new USB-C hub. Arriving with triple monitor support, even for M1 MacBooks and the like, the new release packs nine different ports, including everything from 4K HDMI to Ethernet. But with a steep $250 price tag, we’re going hands-on to see what use cases the Anker USB-C triple monitor dock excels at and if it’s worth adding to your workstation in the first place.

Hands-on with the Anker 563 Triple Monitor USB-C Dock

While Anker has been jumping on the Thunderbolt 4 train as of late, the brand is returning to the USB-C side of things today with its latest release. Designed for Macs, including M1 and Intel models alike, the triple-monitor docking station packs nine different ports into a familiar form factor for the desktop.

Ditching the more versatile yet cumbersome approach that Thunderbolt 4 hubs have been adopting, the Anker triple monitor dock packs several ports that can pair with monitors right out of the box, so you won’t have to replace existing cables to drive displays like with the other counterparts.

First up are a pair of HDMI ports, which cap out at 4K 30Hz, as well as a 2K 60Hz DisplayPort output. Those are joined on the back of the accessory by a Gigabit Ethernet port and the USB-C input from your machine that can also pass 100W of power to a Mac.

Around the front, you’ll find dual USB 2.0 ports for lower bandwidth peripherals to go alongside a full 5Gb/s USB 3.0 port and USB-C slot with 30W of power passthrough for charging accessories.

Clocking in at the $249.99 price point, the new Anker 563 Triple Monitor USB-C Dock is now available for purchase. You’ll find it both from Anker’s online storefront as well as its official Amazon page.

9to5Toys’ Take

Anker sent over the new 563 USB-C Docking Station for me to check out, and I’ve been putting it to the test over the past few days. Out of all the Mac-ready docking stations that have come out as of late, this was the most interesting release to me with such steep promises of triple monitor support, even for M1 MacBooks and the like. So I was quite excited to get my hands on the accessory and put it to the test.

Right out of the box, it’s worth noting that Anker is spending most of the $250 budget on the features rather than an ultra-premium exterior. Despite its metal-like appearance, everything is coated in plastic with some chrome accents. Don’t get me wrong – it still has a high-end feel but isn’t quite as luxurious as some other offerings out there.

Build quality aside, the I/O was immediately what caught my eye. As much as I love the all-Thunderbolt alternatives out there, being able to plug existing cables in without having to swap them for newer alternatives is certainly a plus. I get that it’s a limitation of the USB-C spec and so Anker had no choice but to use standard HDMI and DisplayPort outputs, but the dock is all the better for it.

Speaking of the outputs, Anker’s latest lives up to being a triple monitor dock thanks to the ability to drive three different monitors at a time. The actual resolutions and refresh rates will vary based on your configuration, but here’s a breakdown of what to expect:

  • Single monitor: 4K@30Hz (HDMI 1) OR 2K@50Hz (HDMI 2) OR 2K@60Hz (DisplayPort)
  • Dual monitor: 4K@30Hz + 2K@50Hz (both HDMI ports)
  • Triple monitor: 4K@30Hz (HDMI 1) + 2K@60Hz (HDM 2) + 2K@60Hz (DisplayPort)

Hands down my favorite part of the new Anker USB-C dock has to be the placement of its connection port. Most other models on the market, Thunderbolt 4 or otherwise, have been placing the input slot on the front of the device – a choice that adds more clutter to workstations for permanent installations. Anker, on the other hand, is finally moving the connection to the back, freeing up the front I/O for ports you might be plugging and unplugging on a more regular basis. So at long last, I feel like my prayers have been answered.

As much as I’d like to keep waxing poetic, there are some downsides to the Anker 563 USB-C Docking Station, especially for its $250 price tag. For starters, the triple monitor support does have some limitations to be aware of. The biggest one is that it is limited to a maximum of 4K@30Hz, regardless of if you’re relying on either HDMI or the DisplayPort output. I am sure that will be a deal breaker for some right off the bat, but if you primarily use a second or even third display as a companion to your MacBook screen like me instead of a total replacement, it won’t be the end of the world.

The other big limitation, which I suppose is also a strength, is the reliance on DisplayLink software. This is how the Anker USB-C dock can support up to three external monitors in the first place, but that does come at the cost of having to configure the drivers. It was pretty effortless to get up and running for the first time, but it is still far from the plug-and-play functionality that I am sure most Mac users are accustomed to.

My final verdict is that the new Anker 563 USB-C Dock may enter at a weird spot on the marker with a $250 price tag, but it backs that up with a lot of value for those who need a triple monitor solution right now. One of the main selling points of the Thunderbolt 4 docks I’ve reviewed recently is how future-proof they are for machines you’re going to pick up down the road. But a lot of that promised functionality is lost for those running the first-generation M1 Macs, namely the multiple display support.

So if you’re looking to turn your MacBook into a full desktop workstation, this is a notable way to do it, albeit with some caveats. Most Mac users won’t need to drive up to three extra displays. But if that does fit the bill for your setup, I can easily recommend Anker’s latest.

If not, I would consider checking out some of the Thunderbolt 4 offerings I have recently reviewed instead.

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