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Ugreen 9-in-1 USB-C dock review: great value, but BYO power supply

Ugreen 9-in-1 USB-C DisplayLink dockImage: Mark Hachman / IDG

At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

Terrific price and valueExcellent stabilityGreat display port flexibilitySupport for two 4K60 displays

Cons

Have to provide your own power supplyCan warm to somewhat alarming temperaturesMandatory software driverA lack of naming consistency

Our Verdict

You many have a hard time finding Ugreen’s 9-in-1 USB-C docking station, but if you do we’d recommend you buy this affordably-priced DisplayLink dock.

Price When Reviewed

$199.99

Best Prices Today: Ugreen 9-in-1 USB-C (Revodok) Docking Station CM615

RetailerPriceUgreen$139.99View DealAmazon$199.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

Ugreen’s 9-in-1 USB-C docking station is typical of the brand: quality design and manufacture, obtuse naming, and pricing that seems to vary from one vendor to the next. Oh, and nowhere on this DisplayLink dock is any indication that it uses DisplayLink, either.

If you found the dock on Ugreen, the company calls it the “Ugreen 9-in-1 4k HDMI Fast Charge Universal Docking Station” and refers to its product number, 90912. On the box, the dock is called the “9-in-1 USB-C Docking Station (CM615).” Amazon calls it the “Revodok Pro.” eBay sellers, naturally, refer to it as something completely different. They’re all the same dock, and it’s worth hunting it down.

Ugreen’s dock is a DisplayLink dock, which falls between the raw power of a Thunderbolt dock and the budget price of a USB-C dongle or hub. We consider them to be “tweener” devices, straddling both categories, and so our DisplayLink reviews tend to fall in both our list of the best Thunderbolt docks and the best USB-C dongles and hubs. (Ugreen seems to want to position this dock as a USB-C device.) Put simply, a DisplayLink USB-C dock usually delivers the capabilities of a Thunderbolt dock — or support for two displays at 4K resolutions — at a lower price.

What Ugreen doesn’t really tell you on the box is that it’s a DisplayLink dock, and that a software driver is mandatory for the product to work. For that, you’ll need to read the manual carefully and download the driver from Synaptics, the manufacturer whose silicon powers the Ugreen dock itself. The documentation is there, but it’s poorly spelled out.

In this case, Ugreen’s dock compares favorably to one of our favorites, the Plugable UD-6950PDH, with slightly fewer ports but your choice of either a DisplayPort or HDMI connection. Put another way, the dock allows two displays to be connected to it, and for each display you have the option of using either display connection. It’s extremely handy, and avoids the need to buy additional display cables.

Mark Hachman / IDG

On the front of the dock is both a legacy USB-A port as well as a USB-C port, both 10Gbps. A small power button lights when the dock is powered on, and connected — and a key omission is a power brick. You’ll need to supply a USB-C charger yourself, probably one that your laptop uses already. The dock can accept up to 100W from the charger, but uses some itself. The result is that your laptop may complain that it’s not getting enough power. (Under our tests, the dock passed about 76 watts to the laptop from a 100W charger.)

Don’t expect the dock to power a phone, either; the front USB-A port delivered no power at all, and the front USB-C port delivered a relatively paltry 2.5W or so. That will charge a phone, albeit slowly.

On the back of Ugreen’s dock is a gigabit Ethernet port, the four display ports (one DisplayPort and one HDMI port per display), plus a 10Gbps USB-C cable connecting the dock to your laptop. The other USB-C port is for charging only. The USB-C cable between the dock and your laptop is about three feet, which was just fine for my purposes.

The dock is constructed from aluminum, and measures 7.9 x 4.5 x 2.1 inches, and just over a pound. The dock does get quite warm under load, even hot, though it didn’t have any problems maintaining a connection. There is passive venting on either side of the dock to help with cooling.

The Ugreen 9-in-1 dock allows two displays to be connected to it, and for each display you have the option of using either HDMI or DisplayPort — very handy.

Mark Hachman / IDG

How does the Ugreen 9-in-1 USB-C Docking Station perform?

DisplayLink docks are usually exceptionally stable, with no flickering or unexpected detachments from connected displays. Ugreen’s dock proved to be the same.

The issue with DisplayLink docks is that only so much data can pass over a 10Gbps connection to and from the dock at any one time. We perform several tests to see how the dock performs under load.

For some reason, the dock performed poorly when we first streamed a 4K video across Ethernet, dropping 671 frames out of 10,000. But the performance improved dramatically to just 62 frames dropped when we ranPCMark’s storage benchmark on an external SSD we attached — performing comparably when we tried several other streams just in case a caching issue had improved the results. Storage performance was quite good, though, with the benchmark reporting 141Mbps and a score of 917. (The SSD, when directly connected to the laptop, produced 161Mbps and a score of 1,042.)

You can “break” the dock by pushing more and more over the connection. Playing back two 4K60 streams on either display while copying files from the SSD to the laptop caused noticeable stuttering, but overall the dock handled itself well. We wouldn’t expect that you would perform those tasks in real life.

Consider the fact the Ugreen dock is priced at between $129 and $139, and Plugable’s very comparable dock costs $199. Provided you can find one (!) Ugreen’s 9-in-1 dock is a solid investment.

Best Prices Today: Ugreen 9-in-1 USB-C (Revodok) Docking Station CM615

RetailerPriceUgreen$139.99View DealAmazon$199.99View DealPrice comparison from over 24,000 stores worldwideProductPricePrice comparison from Backmarket

As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.

Recent stories by Mark Hachman:

Monoprice 12-in-1 USB-C Dock (VGA) review: Not worth itBest DisplayLink docks 2024: Move over, ThunderboltBest Thunderbolt docks 2024: Extend your laptop’s capabilities

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