USB hubs are usually pretty boring-looking.
They’re often silver or black rectangles full of all the ports someone with a USB-C laptop (usually a MacBook) might need. This is where Dockcase’s Smart USB-C 10-in-1 Explorer Edition Hub comes in.
First off, the top of the hub is see-through, allowing you to view its several ports, transistors, chipsets and nearly its entire board, thanks to its transparent glass top. I’m a sucker for see-through tech — my inner 90-early-2000’s kid likes it a bit too much, even when it serves no practical purpose (this is why I’m such a fan of the design of Nothing’s Ear (2) wireless earbuds).
Thankfully, along with being transparent, the Explorer Edition Hub also feels well-made and solid, though it’s also weighty (which means you might not want to carry it around often). The display in the front centre of the hub is a nice touch if you like to keep track of throughput speeds and voltages. I found the display especially useful for understanding how much power my MacBook Pro is drawing. Finally, a button on the side near the Explorer Hub’s SD card slot lets you control the display’s orientation and dive into performance specs surrounding specific ports.
Below are the hub’s specs and ports:
- USB-C port host
- 100W PD USB-C port
- HDMI port with support for up to 8K 30FPS
- Display Port with 4K 120FPS
- 2x USB-A gen 2 ports
- 1x USB-A gen 3.2 port (10GBs speed)
- 1x USB-C 3.2 port (10GBs speed)
- Gigabit Ethernet
- SD and MicroSD slot
I’ve used the dock for a few hours while working away from my at-home desk with my 15-inch MacBook Air, and I haven’t encountered any notable issues.
The Explorer Hub won’t be for everyone and is undeniably rather pricey. Still, for a niche audience that cares about charging/throughput speeds and is fond of transparent devices, it’s one of the coolest pieces of tech I’ve ever encountered. It’s also a nice touch that the Explorer Hub works with the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck (though, with the Switch’s history of being fried by some third-party docks, I’m not sure I’d trust it).
It’s worth noting that Dockcase has launched several products on Kickstarter over the years. The company’s current Smart USB-C 10-in-1 Explorer Edition Hub has earned well over its tiny $6,796 goal with $567,986 in backing, starting at $109 USD (about $148 CAD). The Kickstarter campaign ends on September 1st.
Following the Explorer Edition Hub’s Kickstart campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it hit Amazon, given Dockcase’s other products are available there.