Now it is time to go back to the office or hybrid work from home or the office; Plugable has released the UD-3900C. It is a USB 3.0 dock that supports dual FHD monitors on Windows or Apple M1 Macs, Gigabit Rthernet and six extra USB ports.
You may ask why this is important? Well, this allows older USB-A 3.0 and more recent USB-C 3.1/2 Gen 1 or 2 laptops to plug a single cable into it and have a complete desktop environment.
The secret sauce is its DisplayLink DL-3000 series chip that supports dual 1980 x 1080p monitors at up to 60Hz. Windows natively supports this and macOS 10.14+ or later with the DisplayLink driver. The driver cleverly compresses the information sent to the monitor to leave bandwidth free for other uses.
Upstream power – no
The dock has a 5V/4A/20W power brick to enable power delivery and dual monitors. The laptop requires its power source. It connects to the laptop via a USB-A or USB-C (adapter supplied) cable and a USB-B 3.0 (printer style) cable at the dock end.
USB-A ports support BC 1.2 battery charging to 5V/.2A/2.5W and two sleep charging ports. That is enough to keep a phone topped up.
HDMI video only
It is HDMI 1.3 and will support up to two 2048×1152@60Hz in 16:9 and 4:3 formats, so it should support any variants up to that. Be careful of odd resolutions like 21:9 – check the website for support. It does not support HDCP, so it cannot play DRM protected content.
HDMI carries audio HDMI, but if your monitor does not have speakers, there are separate 3-pole (TRS) mic in and headphone out jacks.
USB-3.0 provides 5Gbps half-duplex total data transfer rate. DisplayLink compresses data for maximum throughput. And in commercial use, the UD-3900C has a complete set of Display Layout Provisioning tools for Windows designed explicitly for hot-desking and hoteling environments
First, not everyone has Thunderbolt 3 or 4 laptops. This allows USB-A 3.0 and USB-C laptops to access a standard dual monitor desktop.
The new DisplayLink technology allows for video compression, meaning that it can support dual 1080p@60Hz as well as extra ports, so it is perfect for Windows and Mac hot-desking or work from home setups.
And at $159 it is not expensive.
Plugabel UD-39000C Hot desk dock
The Plugable UD-C3900C USB 3.0 dock is ideal for office hot-desking or work from home. It supports dual FHD monitors on Windows or Apple M1 Macs, Gigabit Ethernet and six extra USB ports.
Value for money
Ease of use
Windows or Mac, including M1 Macs
A low-cost way to set up a hot-desk or work from home dock
New tech gives better data transfer rates
Reliable support from a well-known company
Nothing - if you have Thunderbolt 3 or 4 look at Plugables TB docks instead