Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

This Might Be My Coolest MacBook Accessory

The Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub has a premium build, transparent design and a little display showing key info. It's wonderful.

Tucker Bowe

Let's be honest: USB-C hubs aren't the sexiest gadgets to talk about. They do a pretty simple job — adding extra ports to your laptop while allowing you to create a desktop-style workstation with external monitors — and most options are quite boring. But given how many of us still work remotely and don't have a traditional desktop setup, a USB-C hub is also pretty vital.

Admittedly, there are a lot of USB-C hubs to choose from in 2023. Most look the same — they're little black or grey dongles that connect to your laptop via a USB-C cable. That's the not case with the Dockcase USB-C Smart Hub "Explorer Edition." It's way cooler.

The Smart USB-C Hub adds 10 ports to your workstation: 100-watt PD USB-, HDMI, DisplayPort, USB-A 2.0 (2x), USB-A 3.2, USB-C 3.2, ethernet and UHS-II SD and microSD card slots.
Tucker Bowe

At face value, the Dockcase USB-C Smart Hub is straightforward enough. It's a 10-in-1 hub with enough ports to connect most of your peripherals. It supports 100-watts of pass-through power for your laptop. It has microSD and UHS-II SD card slots. And it connect up to two 4K external monitors (at 60fps) or one 8K display (at 30fps) via its HDMI and DisplayPort ports. These are all pretty standard features though.

But the thing that truly sets the Dockcase USB-C Smart Hub apart — I mean, just look at it. It has a premium build that's made mostly of aluminum and glass...and it's transparent so you can see into it. You can see the motherboard, transistors and other inner workings of the device. It's cool!

Cooler still, the Smart USB-C Hub has a little one-inch color display that shows you real-time info about power, data transfer, monitor resolution and internet speeds (if you have an hardware ethernet connection). Basically, it does the little things to tell you more your setup and satisfy the inner nerd in you.

The Dockcase Smart USB-C hub works similar to a lot of other options, but none are quite as stunning.
Tucker Bowe

When you plug the Smart USB-C Hub, the display lights up and shows you a graphic of the different ports you're using — if you're using a port, it'll light up. If you're using its 100-watt USB-C PD port to power your laptop, it shows you how much power is being passed-through being consumed by your laptop and the Smart USB-C Hub. And when connected to an external monitor, it'll show you resolution and frame rate data, too.

There's room for more nerdery, too. The Smart USB-C Hub has a little navigation button that allows you to jump through different displays and see even more detailed information on port usage and display information. It's a little tedious, admittedly, as you have to learn a serious of controls — which is mostly a sequence of quick and long-presses — so it's not exactly intuitive. One neat thing with this button is that you can rotate the orientation of the little 1x1-inch screen; a quick double-tap will rotate so that you can orientate in whatever direction you like.

There’s a little navigation button on the side of the Smart USB-C Hub that allows you to toggle between different screens are even reorientate its little display.
Tucker Bowe

For me, the Dockside Smart USB-C Hub is a little bit of overkill. I have a few peripherals connected to it — including a small soundbar, an external webcam, an external hard drive and a single monitor that feels inferior given the higher-resolution displays (with high frame rates) that it can support. But it's so different and fun, and adds a bit of flair to my home workstation.

And at $140, it's not actually too far out of the realm of other USB-C hubs with similar capabilities.


Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub 10-in-1 Explorer Edition

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Tech