REVIEW – If you’ve ever had to repeatedly plug in multiple monitors and desktop devices into a laptop that you’re frequently moving back and forth (to school, office, or even just other rooms in the house), you know what pain it can be to connect and disconnect everything every time. Docking stations alleviate that pain by providing a single-cord connection to run your keyboard, mouse, and screen(s), as well as other peripherals like webcams. Today we’re reviewing the CA Essential DS-6000 Universal Docking Station.
What is it?
The CA Essential Universal Docking Station DS-6000 is a docking station, designed to allow you to connect a single USB-C cable to your laptop and be able to connect up to 3 up-to-4k screens via HDMI, an internet cable, and 6 USB ports through the single USB-C connection (as well as powering your laptop if it supports PD – Power Delivery).
What’s in the box?
- CA Essential Universal Docking Station DS-6000
- AC Cable and adaptor
- Video Output: 3 x HDMI
- Internet port: 10/100/1000 GbE Ethernet
- USB ports: 4 x USB-A 3.2 Ports (3 rear and one front) and 2 x USB-C 3.2 ports (both front)
- Power delivery: PD up to 96 Watts
- Video Output Resolution supported: Up to 3 HDMI monitors at 4k each.
Design and features
The front of the CA Essential Universal Docking Station DS-6000 has two USB-C Gen 2 ports and a single USB-A port (more are around back). I like the inclusion of a couple of USB-C ports since they’re becoming more and more common while still retaining USB-A ports for all of your legacy peripherals. The only thing missing here in my opinion is a 3.5mm headphone output. If you want speakers to be connected to your device as well, they’ll need to be wired to one of the three monitors and you’ll need to route sound over HDMI to them.
On the left side is a Kensington lock port, and on the opposite side is hardwired the single-cable USB-C connection to your computer.
The back of the CA Essential Universal Docking Station DS-6000 has a fairly generous set of ports: AC input, 3 x HDMI out @ up to 4k, one RJ45 gigabit ethernet (10/100/1000), and 3 USB-A (Gen 3.2) ports. I like that all of these USB ports (A and C) are full Gen 3.2, meaning you don’t have to be careful about which ports you select for bandwidth-heavy USB devices like 4k webcams.
Finally, the AC power brick is smaller and lighter than most laptop bricks I’ve had (Apple Macbook Pro excluded). This is required to be connected whether or not you’re using the Power Delivery feature, the docking station itself needs a little power to run everything. The adaptor is a 130W adaptor, and up to 100W can be provided to the connected device via PD over a single USB-C cable.
For many users, the CA Essential Universal Docking Station DS-6000 will be simply plug-and-play; it was for my setup. If you are running multiple monitors though, you may need to download the DisplayLink drivers (available for Windows and MacOS as shown above). This is prominently displayed in the box, but if you’re running a single ultrawide high refresh monitor like I am, you simply want to use the HDMI 3 port for best performance.
What I like
- Single cable connection to a computer for everything – power, video, USB devices
- Unobtrusive design
- Plug and play for most users (one driver installation may be required for some users if they’re using all 3 HDMI outputs).
What I’d change
- 3.5 mm audio jack would have been nice for desktop speakers
The CA Essential Universal Docking Station DS-6000 is a no-nonsense docking station, providing USB and up to triple-4k-screen connections. I’ve been using it a couple of weeks now with zero issues, even with an ultrawide high-refresh gaming monitor connected. Every USB device functions flawlessly, including 4k webcams and power hungry charging. I did test it out with a 4k monitor, a 3k ultrawide, and a 1080P monitor, and it worked great after the driver install.