This is a really interesting bit of kit so when Aten approached us to take a look at it, we had to say yes. The Aten 2-Port USB-C Dock Switch offers space-saving connectivity, that can make hardware more useful and multitasking easier. It does this through the simple docking option with a single press button or “remote” to change between your video sources. The space-saving comes into play with the sharing of your peripherals, resulting in less stuff on your desk.
What is it?
Put simply, this is a USB-C connected, two-port dock that allows you to share a single keyboard, mouse and monitor across two devices. The connectivity is ridiculously simple and (for devices that require it) also includes charging passthrough to keep your devices charged during use.
I can’t emphasise enough, just how simple this thing is to set up and use. It really is an excellent piece of hardware for any users who regularly need to use multiple devices consistently throughout their workflow.
How does it work?
The device features two USB Type-A ports on the front, two USB-C on the rear, an HDMI output (capable of 4K throughput) and power input. These all play into a remarkably easy connection and screen sharing setup. There was zero configuration required on my Macbook, NUC (currently on the test bench), tablet using Samsung DeX or even my phone.
You don’t need to use the passthrough charging if you don’t want to, provided the devices you’re connecting have a power source. Because the NUC had its own power source and my tablet lasts a full day without worry, I didn’t have power hooked up other than to confirm it worked.
Once you’ve plugged in your chosen devices, you change between them simply by pushing the remote button to change sources.
What can you connect?
The dock is marketed as one to switch quickly between your laptop/pc and mobile device. But so far, I haven’t found anything that’s a USB-C connected device that won’t connect. I’ve also tested that I can run a desktop and a laptop side by side and it works perfectly with — revisiting a previous point — zero configuration required.
There are similar products for multiple devices that require driver installations, complex wiring and don’t necessarily work on all devices. This is just so simple: it’s easy to set up and easy to use, you’ll need no technical knowledge to set it up.
Easy to set up, easy to use on almost all devices – what’s the catch?
The only catch I can see for lots of users is the cost involved in getting one. They’re going for $299.00 at the Australian online retailers, which isn’t a cheap option but it is cost-effective. I say this because when you consider the options to connect multiple devices on your desk are either a switching dock like this or, an extra keyboard, mouse and monitor at a minimum then it does work out well with extra flexibility you wouldn’t otherwise have.
Adding this to my setup has all but eliminated my need for a second monitor on my desk. As stated already, this is quick and easy to set up and use as well as offering space-saving to users. If you’ve got, or are considering a multi-device desktop setup then this, or an option like it, have to become a consideration for not just the immediate functionality but the flexibility and cost-saving you can make in the long run.
If you’re running multiple devices on your desk, is the Aten 2-Port USB-C Dock something you’d consider for your setup?