Plugable's new UD-Cube is a tiny USB-C docking station with a whole lot of power. The device, which releases April 30, is just 2.5 x 2.3 x 1.4 inches, making it Plugable's smallest docking station yet. It's compatible with both Mac and Windows devices as long as your machine uses USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. It expands that connectivity to give you access to one 4K HDMI port, one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port for a wired internet connection.
The diminutive size makes it perfect for laptops, tablets, and people using those devices on the go. Stick it in your backpack on the way out the door so you'll have plenty of ways to expand your connectivity anywhere you go. Even if you leave it on your desk, it's small enough that you'll hardly notice it until you need it.
The main factor for compatibility with The Cube is whether or not your machine has USB-C Alternate Mode. The HDMI port is powered by Alt Mode, which allows for non-USB data like native video to be sent through the USB-C cable. You don't need a separate video cable so you can hook your HDMI display up directly. That's a powerful and fascinating feature, but unfortunately, not all USB-C ports support it. Check your system or check Plugable's compatibility chart to see if your laptop will work. The trade-off for this function is that The Cube cannot power your laptop. So if you have a machine that only has one USB-C port and uses it for power and peripherals, you'll have to choose between power and The Cube.
Plugable only has one HDMI port, but if you use multiple displays you can add others straight to the docking station using one of Plugable's many adapters, like the USB 3.0 graphics adapter. Plugable has a lot of other accessories like that available on Amazon, too.
The Cube makes everything simple. It's plug and play and requires no extra software or drivers for it to work. You can find The Cube on Amazon for $79.95. It will also be available through Walmart and Newegg.
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J.D. Levite has been in the deals game since 2012. He has posted daily deals at Gizmodo, The Wirecutter, The Sweethome, and now for Thrifter. He was there for the first Prime Day and has braved the full force of Black Friday. If you cut him, he bleeds savings. But don't try it for real. That's a metaphor.