Review: iVanky Dual USB-C docking station powers even the beefiest MacBook Pros

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 21
The iVanky 12-in-1 Docking Station is a plug-and-play dock that expands your MacBook Pro's ports without tying you down.

iVanky Dual USB-C docking station powers even the beefiest MacBook Pros


One of the first things we noticed about the iVanky 12-in-1 Docking Station is how well-made it feels, as it's substantially heavy for its small size. All the ports are tight-fitting without requiring excessive force to plug or unplug anything, and the plastic seems to be fairly sturdy with a non-slip rubber bottom to help keep it right where you place it.

There is a slight downside -- the plastic of the dock is very shiny, meaning it quickly shows fingerprints and dust and is prone to scratching, especially around the ports. If iVanky were to release the second generation of this dock, we would like to see it in a satin-style finish, which would keep it looking newer longer.

Ports of all sorts

If you're reading this, you're probably someone who already sings the praises of USB-C. That being said, you're also probably the type of person who has a plethora of legacy devices that require different ports. Docking stations, such as this one, are a great way to expand the capabilities of your MacBook Pro.

Important: This dock is USB-C, not Thunderbolt 3.

Front port layout
Front port layout


The ports included in the iVanky 12-in-1 docking station are:
  • Mini Display Port 1.2
  • HDMI 2.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • (2x) USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps, 5V/1.5A)
  • (2x) USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 (5 Gbps, 5V/0.9A)
  • SD card slot
  • MicroSD (TF) card slot
  • USB-C (5 Gbps, 5V/1.5A)
  • USB-C PD (5 Gbps, 9V/2A)
  • 3.5mm audio port
Rear port layout
Rear port layout


One of the best features of this dock is that it splits its USB-A ports between the front and back of the device. Devices that rarely go unplugged, such as mice dongles or seldomly-moved charging cables, can reside in the rear, while quick-access devices like flash drives can plug into the front.

Multi-monitor setup

The 12-in-1 dock in use under monitor
The 12-in-1 dock in use under monitor


If you have a 15-inch MacBook Pro or a 16-inch MacBook Pro, this dock will allow you to connect two 4K displays with resolutions of 3840 x 2160 at 60Hz. For other MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models, the first monitor will work at 60Hz, while the second will work at 30Hz.

Convenience for commuters

The iVanky docking station requires two USB-C ports
The iVanky docking station requires two USB-C ports


Not only does it offer additional ports that your MacBook Pro might be missing, but it adds an indispensable layer of convenience for those who regularly commute. Instead of unplugging a bunch of cables to free your MacBook from your desk -- not to mention digging out your power adapter from wherever it may be inconveniently located -- there's one cable to unplug.

That sort of grab-and-go convenience has gone by the wayside for many of us. This is especially true for those who choose to use a computer in clamshell mode with an external monitor. A great dock can become an invaluable tool for those who take their laptop everywhere.

Compatibility

Usually, we have to put a warning on third-party docking stations stating that they're not compatible with the 2019, 16-inch, Core i9 MacBook Pro, as it will not provide enough power. Not this time -- the iVanky 12-in-1 docking station offers 96W of charging to keep even the beefiest MacBook Pro charged up at full speed while in use.

Additionally, it's compatible with the following computers:
  • 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • 15-inch MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • 13-inch MacBook Pro (2016 and later)
  • 13-inch MacBook Air (2018 and later)
Don't see your MacBook on the list? Don't worry! We also reviewed the Plugable Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Docking Station, which is compatible with late 2016, Mid 2017, 2018, 2019 MacBook Pros, 2018 MacBook Air, 2018 Mac Mini, and Mid-2017, 2018, 2019 iMacs.

Overall

It's hard not to like the iVanky dock. Yes, it eats up two of your USB-C slots, but the ability to keep your MacBook Pro fully charged under any load more than makes up for it.

If you want to get your own iVanky 12-in-1 dock, head over to Amazon, where they retail for $179.99. Be sure to check the $20 off coupon box, which drops the price to $159.99 -- for a limited time only!

Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Pros
  • Adds 12 ports to your MacBook Pro
  • Both SD and microSD card readers
  • Powers Core i9 MacBooks
Cons
  • Shiny plastic is prone to showing scratches, fingerprints, and dust.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 8
    Shiny Plastic cases are wonderful to look at but as the article says, a real PITA to keep looking good.
    I've used an old standby to overcome this problem for years. Sticky backed plastic. Cut it out to shape and stick it on. Instant protection.

    This seems an interesting device and well worth considering. The big plus point for me is the SD card slot.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 8
    aderutteraderutter Posts: 478member
    There are so many of these multi-port docking stations. 

    What is needed is hubs and docks that are focused on specific needs not more of the same generic boxes that try to do everything. 

    You can’t for example as far as I can tell buy a usb-c hub that doesn’t have an sd-card, hdmi port, usb2 port, usb3 port etc. 

    If I wanted a hub that i could plug into a usb3 port and get 4 usb-c ports and no other ports where would I get that? 
    rweswatto_cobraDetnator
  • Reply 3 of 8
    @aderutter Hootoo has some options you might like: https://www.hootoo.com/c/usbchub
  • Reply 4 of 8
    @aderutter I think there must be a fundamental limit to how many ports you can break out of one USB-C port. That must be why this thing uses two. Some Thunderbolt docks seem to do a bit more, but, they are hundreds of dollars.

    Hopefully we'll see something more like what you describe with USB-4 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 8
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,395member
    Indeed, this looks like a nice little device that provides a lot of versatility for users. however, for that money I most of the way to a Thunderbolt 3 dock which can do more, particularly with video (depending on your device), and doesn’t have the cosmetic issues.

    i agree with Aderutter that A good direction to go in with these docs is to create some specialized ones: audio specific that might include FireWire for example, or drive-array specific that included the female USB 3.0 ports external drives use, etc.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 8
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,584member
    Shiny Plastic cases are wonderful to look at but as the article says, a real PITA to keep looking good.
    I've used an old standby to overcome this problem for years. Sticky backed plastic. Cut it out to shape and stick it on. Instant protection.

    This seems an interesting device and well worth considering. The big plus point for me is the SD card slot.
    So, protect the look of your dock, by taping on some DIY-cut plastic? 

    But it is strange that a product with a Con (and lacking in TB ports) gets a 5 of 5. There’s a Con right in the summary... 
    edited July 2020 fastasleep
  • Reply 7 of 8
    For that price I'd go Thunderbolt.
    entropys
  • Reply 8 of 8
    Eric_WVGGEric_WVGG Posts: 923member
    lordpixel said:
    @aderutter I think there must be a fundamental limit to how many ports you can break out of one USB-C port. That must be why this thing uses two. Some Thunderbolt docks seem to do a bit more, but, they are hundreds of dollars.
    No, it's a microchip thing, nobody has gotten any controller chips into production yet.

    There's a few on the horizon:
    https://superuser.com/a/1559538/257663
    http://www.genesyslogic.com/en/product_view.php?show=69
    watto_cobra
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