If you’re like me, you bring along a few gadgets when traveling. You have your smartphone and of course, a laptop. You might even pack a tablet as well. But with many of the newer laptops, you might not have the right port you need. For example, the new MacBook Pro has just two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. What are you to do if you still rely on older USB connectors?

Instead of purchasing adapters, all you need is a lightweight dock capable of connecting your older cables. With that in mind, my recommendation is OWC’s USB-C Travel Dock E. Why OWC (Other World Computing) you ask? Because their products have proven to be solid, reliable and thankfully affordable. In fact, I have an OWC SSD installed in place of a disk on my current iMac.

OWC USB-C Travel Dock E Out of the Box
OWC USB-C Travel Dock E (credit: Randy Yagi)

About The USB-C Travel Dock E

Released earlier this year, the USB-C Travel Dock E seems similar in size and weight as the Gen 2 model. Additionally, there is the handy USB-C connector at the bottom of the base, unlike the original. The noticeable difference from Gen 2 is the addition of Gigabit Ethernet port and improved power pass through.

Compatibility

The latest generation USB-C Travel Dock E is compatible with all modern operating systems. This includes macOS 10.13 or later and Windows 10 or later. Additionally, the Travel Dock E is compatible with iOS 12.1 or later, iPadOS 13 or later, Android and Chrome OS. The Dock works with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 or later equipped Macs, PCs, tablets and/or smartphones.

 OWC USB-C Travel Dock E and Hockey Puck (credit: Randy Yagi)
OWC USB-C Travel Dock E and Hockey Puck (credit: Randy Yagi)

USB-C Travel Dock E – Features

The OWC USB-C Travel Dock E is small, lightweight and comes with six ports. Some describe these docks as the size of a hockey puck. It comes with two USB 3.2 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.0 port, SD card reader, Gigabit Ethernet port and USB-C power pass through. To power on the device, simply connect the USB-C cord to a laptop’s USB-C port.

Bottom of the USB-C Travel Dock E and 3 Ports (credit: Randy Yagi)
USB-C Travel Dock Cable On The Backside (credit: Randy Yagi)

Capabilities

With the USB-C power pass through, you can connect multiple mobile devices, including earbuds and smartphones. If you have a smartwatch you can connect that as well. Need more ports for your tablet or laptop while traveling? The OWC USB-C Travel Dock E has got you covered. Moreover, you can connect a full-sized keyboard to your tablet or upload photos to an SD card.

Screenshot of OWC's Dock Ejector page - available as a download for Mac or Windows
Dock Ejector (credit: Other World Computing)

OWC Dock Ejector

An early concern with the Travel Dock was how to eject all connected devices. To meet that concern, Other World Computing introduced a free app in 2019 to safely eject all devices connected to a Dock. The OWC Dock Ejector is available to download for Mac or Windows.

Using The USB-C Travel Dock E While Traveling

When traveling, I probably won’t use some of these features, like the HDMI 2.0 port. Most of the hotels I’ve been to recently don’t have ethernet connectors either. On the other hand, the Travel Dock is light, compact and powerful. This means the OWC USB-C Travel Dock E will come along for future travels. If I want to download a streaming movie, I can watch without having to rely on an ofttimes unreliable Wi-Fi.

The USB Travel Dock E For Business Travel

Although I might not use certain features, it can greatly benefit a business traveler who wants to pack light. For instance, the HDMI 2.0 port allows you to make video presentations. Similarly, most conference spaces offer Ethernet connections to further enhance a meeting. If that’s not enough, you can charge your smartphone while conducting or attending a business function.

Related: Reliefband Sport: A Gamechanger For Motion Sickness Sufferers

The Original OWC Travel Dock with external USB-C connector
Gen 1 OWC Travel Dock (credit: Other World Computing)

Using USB-C Travel Dock E At Home

Naturally, the USB-C Travel Dock E can be used at home, whether it’s for leisure or a home office. Despite not having a large selection of ports, it doesn’t come along with the hefty price tag that other docking stations demand. Even some mini-docks for home use are close to $200. In contrast, OWC’s dock retails for just $64.99.

Technical Specifications

Information courtesy of Other World Computing

COMPATIBILITY

SPECIFICATIONS

Ports

  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) (Type-C captive cable)
  • (2) USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gb/s) (Type-A)
  • USB-C pass-through power port (up to 100W)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • SD 4.0 Card Reader (UHS-II)
  • HDMI 2.0 (Up to 4K@60Hz resolution)

Display Support

  • HDMI supports 4K display resolution — up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz

Power

  • 5W — 15W bus powered1
  • Up to 100W power delivery2

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS

Operating System

  • macOS 10.13 or later
  • Windows 10 or later
  • iOS 12.1 or later
  • iPadOS 13 or later
  • Android
  • Chrome OS

Hardware

  • Works with USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 or later equipped Macs, PCs, tablets, or phones

DIMENSIONS + WEIGHT

Enclosure Dimensions

  • Width: 3.2 in / 8.0 cm
  • Height: 1.0 in / 2.5 cm
  • Depth: 3.2 in / 8.0 cm
  • Length of captive cable: 5.9 in / 15.0 cm

Enclosure Weight

  • 6.1 oz / 174.0 g

PRODUCT SPECIFICATION SHEET

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

Environmental (Operating)

  • Temperature (°C) 5° — 35°
  • Temperature (°F) 41° — 95°

Environmental (Non-Operating)

  • Temperature (°C) −20° — 60°
  • Temperature (°F) −4° — 140°

WARRANTY

2 Year OWC Limited Warranty

  1. Connected to host computer without AC adapter.
  2. When connected to a power adapter, the dock will draw up to 8W power from the adapter instead of bus-powering from the host computer. Depending on the adapter connected, the dock can pass up to 92W to the host computer. Any power not used by the dock and its ports is passed to the host for battery charging, if applicable.

Final Thoughts

As someone who has used OWC products for several years, it might be hard to have an impartial opinion. But there are reasons why I’ve stuck with OWC, and long before I started publishing tech reviews. For starters, their ever-growing line of products have consistently met my needs. This includes memory upgrades, external drives, SSDs and Thunderbolt docks. Even better is that I’ve never had issues with any product or technical support.

Although I might not use all features, I find the USB-C Travel Dock E to be practical and useful for those on the go. Not only that, it doesn’t take up space and allows me to leave a few cords at home. That in itself is a very welcome thought.

Conclusion/Rating

Based upon simple testing with multiple connectors and SD the USB-C Travel Dock E performed flawlessly. After simultaneously running a few tasks, the device was just tad warm. At the same time, I was also charging my iPhone.

Similarly described as the “Best Travel Hub” and “Best Hub for the iPad”, I’d have to agree. The Gen 3 USB-C Travel Dock E from Other World Computing gets two thumbs up from me.

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About The Author:

Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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