OWC USB-C Dock

If you have a USB-C equipped computer, then you really need to check this out!

I’ve been a notebook junkie since the early 1990’s when Windows 3.1 and Windows 3.11 for Workgroups was all the rage. Back then, I started out with an 8088 and did my best to make the hardware stretch as far as it could. I did more with underpowered, but more affordable hardware, than most people considered prudent… but it was what I could afford, and it was what I had to do to get the job done. My desire was not just to do more with less, but to be able to do everything that a desktop PC could do, but I wanted to do it with a unit that I could also take out and about with me.

When I had a family member approach me recently with a request to find them a better Mac, my thoughts immediately went to the Mid-2017 MacBook Pro with TouchBar. They wanted a 15″ device, as they wanted the bigger screen and the somewhat larger – or wider spaced – keyboard. The device was going to have all of the newest hardware, but it did have one big problem – USB-C ports. And ONLY USB-C ports…

This is where things got a bit tricky. The newer MacBook Pro’s only have USB-C ports. Period. They don’t have any other wired connectivity at all. While they do have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and connect well to higher bandwidth devices as well as Bluetooth powered accessories, wired LAN connections, memory card readers, flash drives and other USB accessories, as well as monitors, etc. aren’t possible without some kind of adapter or dongle. While this may be ok for occasional connectivity issues while you’re away from your home or corporate office, when you’re actually in a formal, office setting, it’s a pain in the butt.

Enter the OWC USB-C Dock.

ports-front

The OWC USB-C Dock works with any USB-C powered computer. It features 10 ports to handle all of your connectivity needs:

• 4 USB 3.1 ports with USB-A connectors, including 2 high power capacity ports (one on the front and one on the back)
• 1 USB 3.1 port with USB-C connector (on the back)
• 1 SD Card Slot
• 1 Gigabit Ethernet Port
• 1 USB-C powered PC connector Port (marked with a laptop over it)
• 1 HDMI Port
• 1 Audio out port
• A DC In, 20v/ 4A connector (required to power the dock, its connected peripherals and the computer)

ports-back

You should note the following – This dock
• WILL support video connectors/ dongles that support an HDMI pass through
• Will NOT support Thunderbolt 3 connections through its USB-C port. If you want that, you’re going to need a different dock.
• Does NOT have a miniDisplay Port connection
• MAY support a miniDisplay Port connection via a dongle connected to its one, single USB-C port.

Then again, I may just need to use an existing USB-C Port on the MacBook Pro for my miniDisplay Port powered 27″ 2011 Apple Cinema Display.

Currently, this dock is unfortunately giving me a bit of a hard time.

It comes with a USB-C cable that goes from the computer to a specific port on the back of the dock. It’s clearly marked, and I’ve got the included cable plugged in there and the other end in my MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately, the green data connection light doesn’t come on. I’ve tried a different cable. I’ve tried different USB-C ports on the notebook. The dock simply won’t make a data connection with my Mid 2017 15″ MacBook Pro.

As of this writing, I’ve got a note out to OWC looking for an answer as to why. It may be that you simply can’t use the USB-C Dock with a USB-C port that is Thunderbolt 3 compatible. It may be that you must use OWC’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock with any USB-C powered MacBook Pro.

Unfortunately, I don’t know, as of this writing, I have yet to hear back from OWC; and I’ve been waiting on an answer since 2017-09-11. As soon as I hear back from them, I will update this review with their answer.

Unfortunately, until that time, this dock is a bit of a dud for me. I don’t have any other USB-C powered computers to try this with.

This should be a slam dunk; as everything else that I’ve ever gotten from OWC has been awesome. The build quality of the dock is out of this world. Its solid. Its well-built; but unless I have a defective unit, it simply doesn’t work with EVERY USB-C powered notebook available today.
Again, as soon as I hear back from OWC, I’ll post a quick update to this review, and hopeful have some information on peripheral connectivity as well.

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New external HDDs with USB 3.0 interface announced by Samsung

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, announced today its new family of hard disk drives, including two portable drives and a desktop storage station. Supporting the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, the new external hard drives can provide data transfer speeds of up to 5 gigabits per second, delivering a maximum 10-fold higher data transfer rate over the USB 2.0, allowing users to transfer a 25-gigabyte full HD movie in just four minutes.

Samsung’s portable drives come in two designs, the entry-level M2 Portable and the premium C2 Portable 3.0. The M2 Portable comes with a wave-like matte finish that covers scratches and fingerprints, with curved sides for a comfortable grip. The drives are available in densities of up to 1 terabyte, USB 2.0/3.0 interface, and four colors: Brown Black, Noble Beige, Mist Gray and Clay Orange.

The C2 Portable 3.0 features an iF award-winning design with a transparent high-gloss cover and an in-depth crystallized pattern. This premium series also comes with convenient back-up solution, Samsung Drive Manager, for an advanced user experience. It is available in densities of up to 1 terabytes, a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface and two color choices: Mystic Gray and Ruby Red.

The M3 Station, for desktop applications, shares the aesthetic of the M2 Portable series. Rounded corners give it a slimmer form factor for less desktop space, an LED light on the face of the drive indicates the operation status and both USB 2.0/3.0 interfaces are supported. The M3 Station comes in 1, 1.5 and 2 terabytes densities, and two colors: Brown Black or Noble Beige.

Samsungs external hard drives, the C2 Portable 3.0 and S2 Portable Series, incorporate Samsung Drive Manager, an upgraded software which provides users with a unified user interface to adjust settings for various features such as SecretZoneTM, to create a secure virtual drive, auto backup for both automatic and continuous data backup, and many other features including hardware evaluation, disk format and power conditions.

The new external hard drives will be released in the second quarter of 2011 according to regional shipment schedules. The M2 Portable series will begin shipments from mid April and the C2 Portable and M3 Station are expected to be available in May.

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New SuperSpeed USB 3.0 500GB and 750GB Plextor portable HDDs

Plextor HDD

Plextor introduces a new portable hard disk drive, equipped with a high-speed USB 3.0 connection. The PX-PH500U3 is a strikingly compact 500GB portable hard disk. Formed of perfect aluminum it incorporates the latest SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface for exceedingly fast connection and data transfer rates. It is the fast new professional standard in portable hard disks from world renowned storage manufacturer Plextor. Power to the hard disk is also provided through the USB connector, eliminating the need to carry an additional power adapter.

Protecting the advanced drive mechanism an elegant casing crafted from aircraft grade aluminum results in a mere 162 grams total weight. The complete package includes a USB 3.0 cable and a stylish leatherette case provides additional protection during transportation. Complementing this well-balanced hardware, a range of powerful software applications comes preinstalled on the hard disk. Users can backup and restore valuable data using FNet PC Clone EX and maximize the read and write speeds with the Turbo HDD utility.

The exceptional quality of the PX-PH500U3 is fully supported by the reassurance of Plextors ‘Fast Warranty Service’, a comprehensive 2-years collect and return warranty in the EU, Norway and Switzerland (other countries 1-year carry-in).

The PX-PH500U3 is a high-performance SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with refined design – a compact hard disk for those that require professional quality and highly portable data storage.

Besides the 500GB PX-PH500U3, Plextor will also release a 750GB version: the PX-PH750U3. The 500 GB version will be available in Europe in March for a recommended end user price of EUR 99. The PX-PH750U3 will be available in April for a recommended end user price of EUR 135.

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Corsair Announces Flash Voyager USB 3.0

Flash Voyager GTR 128gb

Corsair announced the Flash Voyager USB 3.0 family of USB flash drives.

The new Flash Voyager USB 3.0 models bring SuperSpeed USB 3.0 performance to the Flash Voyager family, and share the same durable rubber housing and stylish looks that have made the Flash Voyager family a favorite of consumers looking for fast, reliable, and portable data storage. All Flash Voyager USB 3.0 models are shockproof, water-resistant, backward compatible with USB 2.0/USB 1.1, and provide easy plug-and-play compatibility with most operating systems.

Flash Voyager USB 3.0 USB flash drives will be available worldwide in April from Corsair’s network of authorized retailers at a suggested retail price (in the United States) of $19.99 USD for the 8GB version, $29.99 USD for the 16GB version, and $69.99 USD for the 32GB version. Note that stated capacities are unformatted.

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Toshiba Introduces STOR.E ART 4 External HDDs with USB 3.0

Toshiba HDD

Toshiba HDD

Toshiba today unveiled the new STOR.E ART 4 external hard disk drives featuring SuperSpeed USB technology (USB 3.0) for super-fast data transfers with a transmission rate of up to 5 Gigabit per second. The sleekly designed external hard disk drives will be available during the first quarter of 2011 throughout Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Backup technology and password-protection on board

Coming pre-loaded with NTI Backup Now EZTM, STOR.E ART 4 allows users to easily organize their backup routines. NTI BackupNow EZ software provides fully-customisable backup capabilities, including the option to backup specific folders, certain file types, and to conduct a system backup. In addition, complete password-protection with up to 256-bit data encryption prevents unauthorized access to data.

Designed to give storage a personal touch

Available in a selection of three models with red, blue, and white coloured graphical accents on a high gloss black finish STOR.E ART 4 gives customers the choice to express their personal style. It provides a capacity of up to 1TB. Thanks to the small dimensions and light weight of less than 190g, rubberised edges, a power supply via the USB connection and an embedded shock sensor protecting data stored on the disk in case of an accidental drop or shock, STOR.E ART 4 is ideal for mobile usage. It is also suitable for stationary usage, making a very smart desk accessory.

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