Plugable’s latest docking stations — the UD-6950Z and the UD-3900Z — are on sale now. They’re versatile self-powered docking stations that provide all kinds of connection ports. The 6950Z is a extra superior model with increased decision assist for shows and USB 3.Zero as a substitute of USB 2.0. They’re each designed to help you join your laptop computer to a number of shows, plus join wired keyboards, mice, arduous drives, and no matter else you would possibly want. They’re, nonetheless, solely totally suitable with Home windows computer systems. They will not be the greatest docking stations for MacBook Professional, however they’re surprisingly versatile and helpful for each Home windows and Mac computer systems.
Plugable despatched me the 6950Z to check out earlier than I spotted that it is not designed with macOS compatibility in thoughts. I set the docking station apart for a few weeks till WWDC hit once I determined to put in the developer beta of macOS Large Sur on my MacBook Professional.
I created an APFS quantity on my MacBook Professional so I may set up the developer beta of macOS Large Sur on a separate drive on my laptop. I do that yearly. I at all times come throughout some minor hiccup, however in any other case efficiently take a look at the macOS beta alongside the present Mac working system simply nice.
This 12 months was completely different, although. After putting in the beta on the separate quantity, my primary arduous drive was suggesting I replace to … Large Sur. That is proper. Regardless that I had put the beta on a separate quantity, my primary drive was studying the beta replace path.
So, I made a decision to uninstall the amount and check out partitioning my MacBook Professional arduous drive as a substitute. Sadly, even uninstalling the amount did not eliminate the suggestion to replace to Large Sur on my primary driver. I knew it was time to burn all of it down and begin over.
By way of unfortunate subject atop unfortunate subject, I ended up needing to do much more than simply “reinstall macOS” from Restoration mode. I wanted to attach quite a lot of units, and even an Ethernet cable, and none of this stuff in my family have USB-C connections.
So I reached for the Plugable UD-6950Z.
At this level, I nonetheless did not know that it technically would not assist macOS, however it certain acted prefer it helps it. The very first thing I did was join a thumb drive that I had put in macOS Catalina on (as a result of Restoration Mode was making an attempt to put in the beta of macOS Catalina, for some motive). I additionally wanted to attach my exterior arduous drive with the intention to strive putting in from a Time Machine backup. Although these processes all began off proper, every try would finally cease working.
I did some digging and found it had one thing to do with my mesh router affecting my MacBook Professional’s means to connect with Wi-Fi to put in a brand new working system (my arduous drive had been erased at this level). So, I linked my MacBook Professional to the web utilizing an Ethernet port and the Plugable UD-6950Z. Zing! It labored. I used to be lastly capable of set up macOS Catalina (not the beta) and proper the unique subject of it requesting a beta replace to Large Sur.
So, although the Plugable UD-6950Z formally is not suitable with macOS, it got here by way of for me once I wanted it. The difficulty with the Plugable UD-6950Z and macOS is within the DisplayLink interoperability. In response to Plugable, “Vital progress has been made by each Apple and DisplayLink resolving interoperability points,” so we’ll hopefully see full assist for macOS finally.
However for now, the corporate is advertising this docking station as a Home windows-only gadget.
I made a decision to not evaluate the Plugable UD-6950Z for iMore (as a result of, you understand … Mac), however I had such a optimistic expertise with the docking station that I needed to share my story with you.
In case your family is Mac-only, you most likely should not danger investing in Plugable’s new docking stations till the interoperability points get sorted out. If, nonetheless, your family makes use of each Home windows and Mac, you possibly can reap the benefits of all of the options these docking stations supply, together with twin monitor assist for as much as 4K, relying on the mannequin you select. Simply know forward of time that it may not assist show connection together with your Mac.
The 3900Z has two exterior HDMI shows with resolutions as much as 1920 x 1200 whereas the 6950Z has two exterior DisplayPort/HDMI ports with resolutions of as much as 4K.
The 3900Z additionally has a complete of six USB-A (2.0) ports, two on the entrance and 4 on the again, an Ethernet port, two HDMI ports and an audio in/out jack.
The 6950Z has a complete of six USB-A (3.0) ports, two on the entrance and 4 on the again, an Ethernet port, two HDMI/DisplayPort ports, and an audio in/out jack.
I am not recommending these docking stations to households that solely have Macs. These units are too costly to not assist show connectivity. I might, nonetheless, suggest this to anybody on the lookout for a docking station for his or her Home windows PC. It is a stable and dependable extender for quite a lot of ports.
The 6950Z has USB-3.Zero ports for sooner knowledge switch and each docking stations have an audio jack that helps in or out connectivity so you need to use it together with your headphones or a 3.5mm microphone. The HDMI ports help you hook up with an exterior show or use a TV as a monitor in case your TV helps EDID.