The perfect USB-C dock doesn’t yet exist, but CalDigit’s simply named USB-C Dock ($150; available on Amazon) comes close. The dock, which works with all 2015 and 2016 MacBook and 2016 MacBook Pro models, has a full array of ports, including two different video inputs, as well as high-speed USB charging via Type-A and USB-C jacks. It’s not a cheap option, but it’s reasonably priced for all it offers.

The USB-C Dock’s only significant drawback comes from only supporting under macOS two monitors that mirror one another through its full-sized DisplayPort and HDMI jacks with a 2016 MacBook Pro. You can’t have two external displays act independently and expand the desktop. CalDigit says this is an Apple feature choice, and I’ll explain it and more display details in-depth later in this review.

However, because CalDigit includes DisplayPort and HDMI, you can plug any modern monitor directly without an adapter. You can even use a female Mini-DisplayPort to male DisplayPort adapter, which costs under $10, to use an Apple LED Cinema Display, the version of the display that comes after DVI plugs and before Thunderbolt 2. (The Apple Thunderbolt Display requires a Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 2 adapter from Apple or a dock with native Thunderbolt 2 ports.)

The USB-C Dock is rather robust on the USB side. The 90-watt dock powers a connected laptop over a provider USB-C cable, which also provides the data link. It includes three USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) Type-A and one USB-C “device” port—one that handles data, rather than laptop-wattage power. It also sports gigabit ethernet, and 3.5 mm audio input and output jacks.


CalDigit’s USB-C dock

While connected to an Apple LED Cinema Display, I tested SSD write speeds over its Type-A port on both a MacBook and MacBook Pro, and hit the top performance on the drive of over 300 MBps writing and over 400 MBps reading. Its ethernet works as expected.

CalDigit crows a bit in its marketing about two features, one more useful than the other. First, because of its robust DC power supply, it pushes more wattage out of the USB Type-A port on the front of the unit, alongside the audio jacks: it’s a 2.1 amp port, which works out to 10.5W. That allows maximum charging of recent iPhones and nearly top-speed charging for regular iPads. Its USB-C device port maxes out at 3W, allowing 15W charging of an iPad Pro via a Lightning-to-USB-C cable available from Apple.

The second special feature affects only a subset of people, but the dock supports an external CD/DVD SuperDrive reader and burner, which has spotty compatibility among adapters and docks.

CalDigit offers a downloadable extra, which lets you eject all dock-connected hardware with a single menu item, letting you distinguish between drives you may have connected in another fashion. It’s a nice touch.