Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock ReviewBluePanda -
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Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Introduction:
Last time from Diamond, we looked at the Diamond UGA USB 3.0/2.0 DVI/HDMI/VGA Adapter. It allowed us to almost always have the right adapter on the go for all those pesky projectors and monitors. As long as you had USB, you could have a second display. We also ended up playing with the Diamond Dual Band wireless range extender, which I'm still using to gain better wireless connection in the garage. Today we will take a look at the Mini Ultra Dock from Diamond.
Much like the last couple of tools, the docking station is designed to provide a bit more convenience. As you might expect, the docking station is designed to work with your laptop. It supports dual displays at the same time (HDMI and DVI), while allowing an actual Ethernet connection as well. So again, we are seeing with simply a USB port we can have two displays (up to 2048x1152) and direct connection to the Interwebs without having to wait or rely on WiFi. This could be exactly what you need to get your work done more efficiently at home.
Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Closer Look:
The box the docking station comes in is a bit like the other Diamond products we've looked at. It has a couple quick sharpie fixes hiding some feature that didn't quite make it to market and a relatively straight forward concept. Unfortunately the sharpie blackouts look unprofessional at best and makes you wonder what else didn't go quite right from the original plan. Either plan better in the start or fix it right. It is a shame to see something on the shelf like this, especially from a company that is generally reputable. But enough on that, we're not here to banter about the box all day; we truly care more what is inside. Just remember, we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. The back has a sticker for the 2048x1152 resolution. Beneath it is printed "2560 x 1600", which now shows the secrets.
Other than the blackouts the box is quite nice. It provides quite a bit of detail on the product and tells you exactly what it is designed for. It even recommends pairing multiple MDS3900s to add up to six displays! The back of the box shows off some quick visual representations of use, providing you a very quick idea of intention. The most obvious from the box is that you will easily have an additional monitor to connect to as well as Gigabyte Ethernet from one single USB connection. The side of the box tells you what you will find inside, as well as some basic system requirements. You will want to have at least a 1.6GHz processor, 1GB of memory, one USB 2.0 port, 10MB free hard disk space, and an OS of Windows XP or newer, or Mac OS X 10.6 or newer.
Getting to the best part about most reviews is the actual opening of the product. A lot of times this is the hardest part about reviewing products. I just want to open boxes and play with the new toys. I always have to resist so I can get you some nice unused photos! The Diamond Ultra Dock comes nicely packed in cardboard to keep it from rattling about. There are two nice thumb holes cut into the box to allow you to easily free the dock from the box. A quick sticker (that is also easily removed) provides an important notice before getting to play: "Install the Drivers before Connection your MDS3900 to the computer". This might be one instruction I will actually follow for a change (which later I played with, finding that you will indeed want to install the drivers first. It might BSOD, like it did in my test, so save yourself the time and effort, just install the driver).
The contents of the box include a Windows install CD just to do this. The Mac OS and Windows downloads are also available via the Diamond product webpage. You can see the box does not come with too much: the dock itself, a USB 3.0 cable, the Windows install disc, and a quick install guide. It's about all you need to get set up since you'll likely have a monitor cable with your monitor already and an Ethernet cable with your router.