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A hybrid dock for tablets to desktop computers, CalDigit’s USB-C Pro Dock oozes quality

CalDigit comes out with yet another dock, but this time it’s a fairly unique proposition as it’s both a USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 dock in one, supporting dual 4K connectivity, depending on what you connect it with to your computer or — another first — tablet.

Until now, the latest docks were either Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C compatible, which causes confusion because they share the same connector. In some cases, you probably did what I often do: hook up the thing thoughtlessly to the wrong port. And then wonder why it doesn’t work.

CalDigit has managed to make both protocols work together regardless of what you hook the dock up to. The result is the USB-C Pro Dock, a — what the company calls — next-generation dock that will adapt to any USB Type-C device it connects to without any drivers or adapters.

​The USB-C Pro Dock is a horizontal dark aluminium dock (space grey) with ribs on both sides and black, matte plastic front and back. It’s heavy, it looks really nice and comes with one port for connecting it to a computer or tablet that has a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 port. It has a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.2 ports and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports on the back and a USB 3.2, USB-C 10Gbit/sec and UHS-II SD slot on the front, the latter right next to a headphones connector.

CalDigit USB-C Pro Dock
The back of the USB-C Pro Dock

The USB-C Pro Dock charges laptops through one of its USB-A 3.2 ports. It works with Macs, Windows PCs, the iPad Pro, Windows USB-C phones and tablets, and Android USB-C phones. It delivers a full desktop experience with external monitors (not all devices — iPads, for example, not), a keyboard, mouse, Ethernet, external USB drives.

​The two built-in DisplayPort connectors support dual 4K 60Hz monitors and, if you need to connect a non-DisplayPort monitor such as a HDMI display, you can use an “Active” DisplayPort-to-HDMI cable.

What is especially nice about the USB-C Pro Dock is that you can turn the iPad Pro into a true laptop by connecting it to a 4K monitor and more than one external drive if the need arises. You can use the SD-card reader with an iPad as well. A mouse works through AssistiveTouch. And it’s not just the iPad; any USB-C tablet or smartphone will work.

As always with CalDigit products, the quality of build of this new dock is exemplary, the features innovative and aimed at making the use of digital technology less frustrating. However, it’s flat so not as desktop-space friendly as their TS3+ Thunderbolt 3 dock that you can position upright as well as flat down.

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