Plugable 3-Port Thunderbolt Docking Station

Last updated: December 6, 2022

For those who like to connect multiple monitors, the Plugable Triple Display Docking Station is a clear winner. You'll get 5K resolution with one connected monitor, degrading to only 4K resolution once two are connected, provided your monitors support that. Five USB ports and a one-year warranty with free technical support top off this docking station's benefits.

We looked at the top Thunderbolt Docking Stations and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Thunderbolt Docking Station you should buy.

Product Details

Key Takeaway: Support for up to two monitors at 4K resolution makes the Plugable Triple Display Docking Station a standout choice.

In our analysis of 41 expert reviews, the Plugable 3-Port Thunderbolt Docking Station placed 15th when we looked at the top 15 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

Plugable’s 4K USB-C Triple Display Docking Station (1x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort) with Power Delivery Charging for Windows USB-C & Thunderbolt 3 Systems USB 3.1 Type-C is revolutionizing connectivity. We’ve designed our USB-C 4K Triple Display Docking Station to showcase what this new standard is capable of with flexibility and scalability in mind. More features, less compromise. Utilizing cutting edge USB 3.1 technologies in conjunction with the latest features of our UD-6950 docking station, the Plugable UD-ULTC4K 4K Triple Display Docking Station provides two of USB 3.1’s most exciting new features: support for Alternate Modes and Power Delivery. Alternate Modes allow certain non-USB data and protocols (such as native video) to be sent over a USB-C cable, while Power Delivery enables you to power and charge a supported system without the need for a traditional proprietary OEM charger. Support for these features must also be built-in to the system being used, so please see the important additional compatibility details in the sections below. Please note: HDMI and DisplayPort use different connectors and cables. If your displays do not have DisplayPort inputs, the DisplayPort ports on the UD-ULTC4K can be converted with adapters, sold separately. See additional details on DisplayPort adapter compatibility below. Features & Performance When attached to a fully compatible USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 system, the UD-ULTC4K supports Windows 10 and 8.1, macOS 10.13.3 and earlier and some systems with ChromeOS. Features One HDMI output via USB-C Alt Mode supporting displays up to 4K@30Hz Two DisplayPort++ 1.2 outputs supporting DisplayPort displays up 4K@60Hz One USB-C port on the backside of the docking station with Power Delivery functionality to charge your host computer (not all USB-C computers are able to charge through their USB-C port; see additional compatibility details below) One USB-C USB 3.0 port on the front of the docking station for USB-C peripheral connectivity Four USB 3.0 (Type-A) ports One Gigabit Ethernet port Headphone and microphone jacks (TRS) Performance The dock’s main HDMI port utilizes USB-C DisplayPort Alternate Mode (converted internally to HDMI for maximum compatibility) which has a direct pipeline to the host graphics processor (GPU), and the connected monitor will perform as if natively attached to the system. Video and photo editing and other resource-intensive tasks are possible assuming that the system’s GPU capabilities are sufficient for the application being used. The 2nd and 3rd graphics outputs (DisplayPort++) are powered by DisplayLink DL-6950 USB graphics technology which leverages the host GPU & CPU to render the image. These outputs are recommended for web/productivity software; not recommended for gaming. Supported Resolutions Maximum resolution via Alt Mode output is 3840×2160@30Hz (4Kp30) as outlined in the HDMI 1.4 specification. 2560×1600, 1920×1080 (1080p) and lower resolutions will display at 60Hz. The DisplayLink graphics supports dual monitors up to 4K@60Hz (3840×2160@60Hz) each and a single 5K@60Hz monitor when connected to displays that support the desired resolution. DisplayPort equipped monitors and the DisplayPort cable must support DisplayPort 1.2 specification in order to support 4K@60Hz. While backwards compatible with DisplayPort 1.1 standards, the resolution will be limited to 4K@30Hz if the display or cable does not support DisplayPort 1.2 specifications. Does not support gaming, DisplayPort MST daisy-chain connections, nor Dual-Link DVI conversions. Compatibility Details For the most current system-specific compatibility details, please see “Technical Specifications” section further down the page. USB 3.1 Type-C Compatibility Overview USB-C is a new standard with much versatility. As a result, compatibility information is complex. Some USB-C systems support Alt Mode video output, while others do not. Some can be powered and charged via USB-C PD, while others do not. Information on specific system compatibility will be updated online as we test more systems internally, and we welcome compatibility reports from users as well. Compatible Systems (Alt Mode, PD, & DisplayLink) Some of the best examples of systems which currently support Alt Mode, PD, and DisplayLink are the Dell XPS 13″ 9350/9360, Dell XPS 15 9550/9560, Dell Precision 5510/5520, HP Spectre x360 13″ (“Kaby Lake” version w/ Thunderbolt 3), Lenovo Yoga 720 13″ & Yoga 920, Microsoft Surface Book 2. Operating System & Platform Details (Windows) Windows users can download DisplayLink drivers from Plugable. Windows drivers can also be installed by Windows Update (with existing Internet connection) IMPORTANT: Operating System & Platform Details (Mac) Please note that only macOS 10.13.3 and earlier are supported. Mac systems currently only support “Extended”/independant desktops; display “mirroring” is not supported. Performance on Mac systems compared to performance on Windows systems will be less on the 2nd and 3rd attached displays (DisplayPort++ ports). Operating System & Platform Details (Chrome OS) Chromebooks/Chrome OS is currently unsupported, but we hope this changes as the Chromebook platform evolves Partially Compatible Systems (Supporting Alt Mode, PD, and/or DisplayLink, but not all) Many current USB-C systems which do support Alt Mode video output do not support charging via USB-C. Systems such as this will output video from the dock, but will still need their proprietary OEM chargers. The Dell XPS 15 9550/9560 and Precision 5510/7510, for example, will display a warning during boot if connected to a 60W power adapter rather than a Dell 130W power adapter. These systems may still charge, but at a slower rate. Conversely, while some USB-C phones and tablets may accept charging via PD, most do not support Alt Mode video output. Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports generally support Alt Mode output and DisplayLink functionality, but support for Power Delivery/charging on these ports is system-specific. Compatibility Details, Continued The UD-ULTC4K relies upon new functionality introduced with USB 3.1 Type-C and as such is not compatible with USB 3.0/2.0 Type-A legacy systems. Most current phones and tablets with USB-C ports do not support Alternate Mode video output, and some do not support USB Power Delivery. Consult your device documentation or contact device manufacturer to confirm compatibility with these technologies. macOS 10.13.4 The Lenovo Yoga 900 and 910 are not compatible (the 910 can support video, or charging, but not both) Most HP systems are not compatible (see above for the most well known compatible model at this time) Most Razer systems are not compatible at this time Most Android phones and tablets currently do not support Alt Mode video output ASMedia USB 3.1 controllers do not support Alternate Mode video (typically found in desktops and AMD based laptops and some PC motherboards) Power and Charging The UD-ULTC4K power supply can charge host systems with up to 60 watts of power (20V, 3A) via the USB Power Delivery standard. As mentioned above, some devices which support video output over USB-C will not charge via USB-C. For these systems, the charger from your system manufacturer will be required. DisplayLink Compatibility Details DisplayLink USB graphics technology works great for most workloads. However, gaming is not supported, nor is HDCP copy protected content playback (Blu-Ray, Netflix, Amazon Prime video, Hulu, etc). Does not support DisplayPort MST daisy-chain connections or conversion to Dual-Link DVI. DisplayPort Adapters Conversion to HDMI, Single Link DVI, and VGA is possible using the following adapters (not included with dock): To convert the DisplayPort output to HDMI 2.0: Plugable DP-HDMI Active Adapter To convert the DisplayPort output to HDMI 1.4: Plugable DPM-HDMIF Passive Adapter(maximum resolution of 4K@30Hz refresh) To convert the DisplayPort output to DVI: Plugable DPM-DVIF Passive Adapter To convert the DisplayPort output to VGA: Plugable DPM-VGAF Passive Adapter In the Box Plugable UD-ULTC4K docking station with stand, 1m USB-C to USB-C cable with eMarker, 100W (20V, 5A) power adapter (100V-240V) with a US power plug, quick start quide

Our Expert Consultant

Molly Thornberg   
Technology and parenting blogger

Molly Thornberg is a professional writer, creative and mom to four kids, living her best life outside of Dallas, Texas. With a love for all things tech, she is passionate about helping parents raise kids in the digital age. She writes about technology, parenting and humor on her blog Digital Mom Blog.

Expert Reviews

What reviewers liked

The external displays are connected via a single HDMI and two DisplayPort connections, with extra functionality offered by four USB 3.0 ports, a single Type-C input port, gigabit Ethernet, and headphone and microphone jacks.
The Plugable USB-C Triple Display Docking Station is the futureproof dock that you have been waiting for. Between its support for both charging and video over USB Type-C, along with its ability to output at 4K, you won't need to replace this peripheral for a long time.
Provides compatible windows thunderbolt 3 and usb-c systems with up to three additional displays via 1x hdmi 1.4 & 2x displayport++ ports, and up to 60w of charging power.
A one-stop upgrade for your Windows laptop or desktop the Plugable UD-6950 USB 3.0 Dual 4K Docking Station allows you to connect up to two additional monitors and up to eight accessories through a single USB cable.

What reviewers didn't like

Strangely, the UD-ULTCDL model doesn't have as many ports as its cheaper sibling, the UD-3900, which features an extra USB port on the back.
The instruction manual has many mistakes.
Cannot be mixed with non-DisplayLink USB graphics adapters and drivers (e.g. MCT, j5, or SMSC).
View our Thunderbolt Docking Station buying guide for in-depth advice and recommendations.

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