IOGear Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand review: reliable ports and unconventional stand suited for smaller laptops
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IOGear’s Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand adds six useful ports with a USB-C connection along with an elevation stand to add utility to any modern Mac notebook.
While many products offer USB-C port expansion functionality or the ergonomics of propping up the laptop with a physical stand, it’s rare to see both combined in one product. IOGear attempts to bridge both popular product types into a single product for ultimate convenience.
The port hub is relatively straightforward with the expected HDMI, USB-C and USB-A ports. A Gigabit Ethernet port is less common on such products, so it’s a welcome addition here.
A notable omission was an SD card slot next to a Micro SD card reader. Still, the trade-off was minimal.
Specifications for the IOGear 4K Dock Stand
A total of six different ports are shown on this docking stand.
The first three are data ports. Two USB-A ports are built to the USB 3.2 standard, which allows both to support speeds of up to 5 Gbps. A separate USB-C data connector supports the same data transfer rate.
A fourth connector, using the same Type-C interface, is a power supply port that supports up to 100W input to the dock. The stand itself uses 12W, which provides 88W of power to the connected laptop.
There is a Gigabit Ethernet port that supports up to 1 Gbps in wired internet connections.
Finally, a traditional HDMI 1.4 port allows the user to connect to an external 3840 x 2160 resolution 4K display at 30Hz.
The big surprise was the inclusion of a 100W passthrough Power Delivery USB-C port in a hub that uses a single cable in the 4K Dock Stand. We’ve seen hubs that take up both USB-C ports on one side of a MacBook have Power Delivery technology, as it would be necessary to take up all of what are the only charging-capable ports.
Using the IOGear 4K Dock Stand
To test the 4K Dock Stand, we used a 2021 MacBook Pro 16-inch model with an M1 Pro chip.
With its width covering only about a third of the width of the 16-inch machine, initial setup of the stand required gentle placement.
The compact laptop’s metal frame unfolded into a flat-footed stand with metal supports that tilt the laptop toward the user. There are five sets of channels on each side, allowing the user to choose their preferred angle of the keyboard and trackpad.
The rods had to be slotted into one of the five sets of notches etched into the metal to create a stable stand. Once the stand is properly adjusted, the laptop can be placed on top.
Although the 4K Dock Stand is primarily made of what appears to be anodized aluminum, it did not scratch the laptop. The contact points on the stand had rubber padding so the MacBook Pro never needs to come into contact with the bare metal.
The cable for the included hub was plugged into the MacBook on the stand to complete the setup. The connector was previously retrieved from its cable management system at the bottom of the rack prior to assembly.
We immediately took issue with port positions on the 4K Dock Stand. Due to its design, the connectors are located directly under the inner third of the device, below the left command key.
This position meant we had to reach under the unit to plug anything in, and it required awkwardly craning our necks to look for the right ports.
Perhaps the worst location was the Power Delivery port, which was right next to the hub cable at the bottom of the left foot of the stand. We found ourselves having to remove the laptop to even connect a power cable.
It’s very inconvenient to use and an oversight in a design intended to be a semi-permanent dock setup.
The ports themselves on the 4K Dock Stand worked as advertised. In our testing, we were able to connect to external displays without issue at a nearby library.
The 4K display in the multimedia room we used for testing seemed to receive a signal that matched its hardware resolution.
We also used a dual-plug flash drive to test both the USB-A and USB-C data ports, and they worked fine. Finally, a 100W adapter was connected to a USB-C to USB-C cable to test the Power Delivery functionality and it was able to charge the MacBook.
However, the mere 88W capacity is far too low to recharge the new 2021 MacBook Pros, which use adapters rated at 96W and 140W respectively. 88W is enough to charge the 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models at full speed, while offering strong currents for charging larger MacBook models.
All ports maintained a proper connection while a peripheral was connected.
We think the addition of an SD card slot, which was much requested for the MacBook Pros before they returned to the lineup with the 2021 revision, would be invaluable for users on lower-end models who want to stay productive .
While the current crop of 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, including the model used in testing, have SD card slots, MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro users will appreciate the added convenience.
In testing, we found the adjustable levels on the 4K Dock Stand awkward for docking for the 16-inch model.
With the 16-inch MacBook Pro, we found that it only works up to the third steepest level, where the steeper notches place the laptop at too high an angle for the lower latches to hold the front edge of the device. This caused the unit to dangle dangerously on the flat bases without proper support.
Even with the flatter levels, the latches only managed to hold onto the lower half of the front edge of the lower chassis, though overall it’s relatively stable, even while writing.
The ill-fitting physical design of the 4K Dock Stand led us to believe that this is better suited to a smaller laptop, such as the 13- and 14-inch MacBook Pro models. However, the off-putting placement of the ports as well as the design of the rack lock unit call this into question.
Should you buy the IOGear 4K Dock Stand?
We appreciated the variety of port types on the 4K Dock Stand and think it’s well-rounded enough to suit the vast majority of productivity uses.
The ports were reliable and the inclusion of the Gigabit Ethernet port was very welcome.
Unfortunately, the oversight of the stand’s design and the placement of the ports made this quite strange to use. For a dock that prided itself on offering a robust stand option in addition to expansion, it didn’t deliver enough to live up to its promises in our testing.
The smaller 88W capacity carried by the Power Delivery port, along with a stand design clearly tailored to support smaller, lighter devices, made the dock more suitable for users of 13- and 14-inch models of the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lines.
While it will charge all models of MacBooks with USB-C ports just fine, those models will charge a bit faster.
However, the omission of an SD card slot, common on other docks, is a notable point for these users, as most buyers of this product tend to be more productivity oriented. The built-in SD card slot, which is still widely used for photography and video, is only available on the 14- and 16-inch models of the 2021 MacBook Pro.
The 4K Dock Stand also comes at a high price, especially considering similarly priced expansion hubs have twice as many ports as the IOGear product.
IOGears Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand Professional
- Wide selection of ports
- Gigabit Ethernet included for convenience
- Port selection comprehensive enough for the vast majority of productivity use cases
IOGears Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand cons
- No SD card slot
- Standard design that only works with smaller MacBooks
- Awkward port locations
- High price compared to other expansion solutions
IOGears Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand Result:
IOGear’s Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock Stand is a decent stand. It gets the job done, assuming a dock and stand combo is what you’re looking for. It’s awkward for the larger Apple laptop sizes, and better the smaller you are.
But if you’re in that venn diagram overlap of “need a dock with a lot of ports” and “need the MacBook elevated and angled,” this is for you and a 4 out of 5.
But there are better options at this price point for everyone else.
Overall score for most users: 3 out of 5
Where to buy the IOGear 4K Dock Stand
The IOGear Dock Pro 6-in-1 4K Dock retails for $69.95 on Amazon, though clippable coupons are often available to further discount the price.