When I first joined Cistel, I picked up a Dell Universal Dock (D6000) to use with my corporate Dell Latitude laptop. It is a good little device, and it did the job just fine… until I wanted to work on my Surface Pro 4, at which point I would have to switch to my Surface pro port replicator (which they call the Microsoft Surface Dock). Both have their advantages… the Surface Dock has two Mini-DisplayPort inputs which supports any display type you are willing to buy a dongle for, while the Dell has an HDMI port, a Mini-DisplayPort, and a 15-pin VGA port for those of us living large and long ago. The Surface dock is proprietary, with a connector that works only for select Microsoft Surface devices. The Dell has a USB-C connector, which allows a lot more flexibility… except that it won’t work on the Surface Pro (or any other device without a USB-C input, for that matter).
It really doesn’t matter which of these devices is better; they both do about the same thing… for their respective devices. The fact that I cannot use either of them for both of my devices (well, all of my devices) is a bit of an annoyance. I decided to go looking for an alternative. I tried a few different devices that I didn’t quite love, until I found the BossDock from Juiced Systems.
I have written about a number of different peripherals from Juiced Systems before, most (but not all) of which were geared to my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (and prior to that, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3). Their products have always been reliable and competitively priced. With the BossDock selling for USD$200, it is again competitively priced to both of my other docks… but supports both USB-C and USB 3.0 interfaces, meaning that it will likely work on every laptop (or desktop, for that matter) that has been sold in the last five years. How does it work with either device? The cable that connects the dock to the computer is interchangeable.
So what do we have here? The BossDock really is the boss… it features:
- Compatible with both USB Type-C and Type-A Laptop/Desktop Computer
- Supports resolutions up to 5K ( 5120×2880 @ 60hz ) when using dual Display Ports simultaneously
- Dual 4K HDMI / Dual 4K Display Port / 4K HDMI + 4K Display Port Output
- Supports Extend and Mirror Mode
- Supports 5.1 Channel Surround Sound
- Built in USB 3.0 GPU, Plug and Play Display
- Separate Microphone Input and Audio Output
- Super Speed USB 3.0, Transfer Speeds up 5Gbps and backward compatible with 2.0/1.1
- Built In 10/100/1000 Bate-T Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port for uninterrupted network performance
It is compatible with all currently supported versions of Windows (both 32-bit and 64-bit), as well as Windows Vista and XP (but you have to download the software for those… big deal!). It is also compatible with Mac OS X (El Capitan, Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Sierra, Lion, Snow Leopard).
The front side has four USB 3.0 ports, along with the sound in and out jacks. The back has two more USB 3.0 ports, as well as a 1GB Ethernet port, two HDMI ports, and two Display Ports. Additionally on the back, there is the USB-C in (from which you would connect to your computer), the DC in (for power), and the on/off switch. Yes, you can shut it down so it is not draining power when not in use.
The dock is a little longer than the other two devices, at 8.5” x 3.5” x 1”, but weighs less than either of them, and does not require a heavy power brick like they both do. In other words, if you want to travel with it you will not require frequent trips to your chiropractor for the pleasure.
While I do not really need it, I appreciate that the BossDock has a built-in USB 3.0 GPU, as well as 5.1 Channel Surround Sound.
In short, I love the device. When I switch from my corporate laptop to my Surface Pro, all I do is switch the cable out (USB-C to USB-C, versus USB-C to USB 3.0). Bang, I am ready to go. Both cables are included, as is the software & driver CD (although I did not need to use it, as both computers detected all of the devices and installed the necessary drivers automatically).
As for performance, I am getting great response from all aspects. The transfer rates advertised as up to 5Gbps are not quite there, but that is because the devices I am using are slower. The graphics are great, video incredibly responsive, and the sound is clear as a bell.
Now that I have the BossDock connected at my desk, I have been able to put two boxes into a drawer (unfortunately I still need to retain the power bricks for the laptops, as the BossDock does not power either device) and out of the way, and can sell them off if I want. because really, all I need is the one… well, I might need another one to use at home