USB Type-C and the amount of data capable of being transferred at speed via this connection type is making life for devices with support for these ports a cinch, and this is made even more evident by the Astrum DA710 docking station. The humble USB port has come a long way since it was introduced to the world, and we’re much better off for it.
I remember not too long ago, perhaps less than a year, a universal docking station like this with USB Type-C support could cost upwards of R5,000. I haven’t been following the pricing of Type-C docking stations since then, but I was nonetheless very pleasantly surprised to see this Astrum offering at just R1,499.
One cable from the docking station connects to your laptop’s Type-C port and this single, solitary, lonely connection affords you Gigabit Ethernet, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB Type-C ports, one 4K (yup, 4K) HDMI port for a second monitor, and an SD 4.0 port. “Insanity” is the word that springs to mind, because the capacity is awesome.
That said, my notebook is the tiny, 12-inch Toshiba Portégé X20W, and when I placed it on the dock, it overlapped the sides of the Astrum docking station by about 8mm. The significance of this didn’t seem like an issue until I placed my laptop on the dock and realised that the Portégé wasn’t being gripped by the rubberised centre portion of the docking station. The edges of the dock are concave, so my notebook rests on the plastic edges and not the flat rubbery bit.
I measured the base of the station and it supports notebooks no wider than 240mm. In other words, unless you have a convex notebook that’ll safely spoon the dock, or your computer has large rubber feet, this unit will be too small for you.
The fact that this unit didn’t work with my laptop due to its width, doesn’t mean it’s a bad product. It simply wouldn’t work for me without some MacGyver DIY skills – but with smaller devices, it’ll work perfectly. In terms of overall connectivity, however, this unit rocks and certainly is an excellent docking station.