- Lots of ports for the money
- Well built and compact
- Connects quickly
- Not so pretty with a lot plugged in
- Audio takes time to sync up
Here you get more ports than in most other docking stations in the same price range. And that in a compact, well-built and mostly trouble-free unit. You won’t get top speeds, but good enough if you don’t have specific requirements. A headphone port that is slow to sync up, and the fact that connected cords scatter in all directions are the only tangible downsides.
Award: From SEK 880 at Amazon Sweden
Do you want a feature-rich and affordable docking box for your laptop? Then Acer has one that gives you an unusually large number of ports and functions at a good price. 12 port mini, however, it’s called in short. It is for a full-function usb c port, that is, one that supports image output, usb 3 data and also functions as a charging port with power supply.
The exact name under which it is listed in stores can vary, most of the time it is just a description, such as USB-C Docking station 100 W 12 ports Silver in Inet’s online store, for example. But you can search by its article number HP.DSCAB.009 to make sure it is correct.
It’s not as slim and compact as some competitors, but with a sturdy aluminum casing and good build quality, we can’t complain about the comfort or the durability. It slips easily into a pocket if you need to take it with you, in addition to having a USB cable tail of a couple of decimetres.
Here you get a usb hub with four type a ports, two that run usb 3 and are blue and two that run usb 2 and are black. A usb c port on the box is not used for data, but there you plug in a power adapter which then goes on to the port that connects to the computer, so you can charge the battery, drive the screen and connect gadgets at once.
Generous with connections
Many other similar docks have dual duty on that port so you can use it for a display and/or data if you don’t want power to the computer, but here it’s just for that. In return, you get so many other ports that it’s hardly needed.
You get plenty of screen outputs, both dual hdmi and a large display port. There is some limitation on what you can run for resolutions and speed on these, on 4k resolution you have to stick to 30 Hz, but if you connect a 1080p or 1440p screen, 60 Hz is fine. It’s also unclear if you can sustain 60 with too many screens and other connections running at the same time.
The dock also has gigabit ethernet port, card reader for sd and micro sd cards. Acer has specified it as transflash-reader, but they are fully compatible with micro sd. This is a very solid set of ports and features considering the price, just under 1000 kroner. For that, you usually have to make do with one or a maximum of two screen outputs, fewer USBs and nothing extra like an audio port.
We’re trying to connect to a Windows 11 laptop with a thunderbolt 4 port, which on paper should be able to cope with all docking problems. Here we test plugging in a usb mouse, an external ssd, an hdmi screen and fixed network cable. After a first connection where we need to arrange for the screen to get the right setting, everything works fine.
In five seconds, everything is connected and up and running. And we still have two usb ports, two card readers and two display ports left on the box. As long as you don’t require top speeds or want a 4k screen at 60 Hz, this is just right. The box gets a little warm during use, especially with intense network traffic, but never worryingly hot.
At first we don’t see an audio output for the headphone jack, but it turns out that headphones have to be in it before the box identifies itself to Windows as an audio device. It is a bit annoying as it means that it takes up to ten seconds before we get sound that way after we plug in headphones. The sound quality is roughly comparable to that of most laptops. Not a disaster, but not in direct hi-fi class either. If you want good sound via the box, we recommend USB-connected speakers or headsets instead. There is room for that.
Product name: Acer 12 port mini dock (HP.DSCAB.009)
Tested: May 2022
Computer connection: Usb 3 type c gen 1
Video output: 2 hdmi, display port
Usb ports: 2 pcs usb 3 gen 1 type a, 2 pcs usb 2.0
Network: Gigabit ethernet
Power supply: 100 W usb pd (via separate type c)
Miscellaneous: Card reader (sd/micro sd), earphone
Size: 12.9 x 1.6 x 5.7 cm
Weight: 115 grams
System requirements: Usb 3 type c with display port alt mode and usb power delivery, Windows 10 or newer, Mac OS, Chromebook
Guarantee : 2 years
Award: From SEK 880 at Amazon Sweden