Trendnet’s USB-C Docking Cube Unlocks Desktop Power in Mobile Devices HDMI, USB, and wired ethernet - oh my!

Trendnet is a California-based global manufacturer of computer networking products. The company serves both the business and consumer markets with reliable networking and surveillance products.

I contacted the company to learn about their best products for the holiday 2019 season and moving into 2020, and one of the items they submitted for review was their mini USB-C HD Docking Cube, which extends a tablet, smartphone, notebook, or laptop’s functionality with charging and expanded port selection.

With today’s mobile devices getting increasingly thinner in design, they remove most the ports and depend on wireless connections. But we all know hardwired connections have the most reliability, so I was excited to put this little device through the ringer.

Trendnet Docking Cube Specs and Design

Trendnet Mini USB-C Docking Cube Back
Photo by Kelly Fager

The TUC-DS-1 docking cube is very small in size and can easily fit in the palm of your hand. It’s about the size of two sell phone chargers and the entire thing is filled to the brim with ports, which are all conveniently located in the back of the device.

At the top, there are three USB ports, one USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0. The bottom row houses the port for the 5V/4A power cable, an HDMI port and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

The Docking Cube supports Windows 10 Continuum mode, Android OS 7.0 and up, and Mac OS (as of 2019), so you can connect a wide variety of accessories. It uses the same chipset as the Nintendo Switch LAN and supports audio over HDMI and HD video up to 3840 x 2160 HD resolution at 30Hz

I loved that the included USB-C cable was thick and sturdy, clearly meant to provide both power and connectivity.

Trendnet Docking Cube Performance

Trendnet TUC-DS1 Front
Photo by Kelly Fager

Since my laptop doesn’t charge via USB-C, I used my Samsung Galaxy S9’s DeX mode to connect to a Toshiba monitor. From there, I started fiddling around to figure out if/how to attach a USB-A wired desktop keyboard and mouse to the galaxy. While the keyboard was (relatively) easy, the mouse was a bit more sketchy, and I found it easier to navigate using the phone as a trackpad.

This instantly made my phone a viable work solution, as a keyboard is necessary for my blogging (voice-text software isn’t my bag yet).

The screen looked great, although I would’ve loved to get the full 4K UHD experience the TV was built for. These days, interchanging TVs and monitors is easy if you’re not a graphic designer who needs something specific. Everything from esports to video editing can be done on a large-screen TV that’s cheaper than a monitor half its size.

I was impressed at the performance and glad to have several tablets and phones that could take advantage of the connection. Even using it with the USB-C port in my HP laptop was plug-and-play, and I pulled off a triple monitor display when plugging a second monitor into the built-in HDMI port of the laptop.

There’s no end to the configuration options this mini USB-C Docking Cube unlocks.

Final Thoughts on Trendnet Docking Cube

Overall, the Trendnet Mini USB-C Docking Cube is a great solution for a work-from-home type like myself. It goes beyond a hub by expanding ports while also offering connectivity options for all my mobile devices. I love working on my laptop over my desktop, which is mostly used for gaming and anything requiring high power.

The ability to turn my smartphones and tablets into workstations opened new possibilities for recycling some of my older technology.

My only gripe is that it doesn’t offer a 4K display, which would have made the entire experience perfect. If you’re looking for a way to connect a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or notebook into a desktop workhorse without taking up a lot of space, this Mini USB-C Docking Cube is the way to do it.

Final Grade: B+


Dr. Brian Penny is a former Business Analyst and Operations Manager at Bank of America turned whistleblower, troll, and freelance writer. You can find his work in Cracked, High Times, HuffPost, Lifewire, Forbes, Fast Company, and dozens of other places, although much of it is no longer under his name. Dr. Penny loves annoying fake media.

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