With a smattering of phones moving to support USB-C last year and it being a requirement for high end devices this year we’re seeing more accessories for the standard. To that end Accell reached out and asked us to look at their USB-C mini dock an interesting device that looks to be a solid companion for phones and pc’s alike.
Physically there isn’t a whole ton to say about the Accell USB dock. Packaging is neat and clean although not the most attractive. The box is a conventional clam shell that opens directly to the dock itself. And there’s some info cards underneath although there’s more information on Accell’s website. The design is smooth and streamlined with an integrated usb-c cable for attaching to the host device. All 3 ports are aligned on one side although I’d have liked a second USB A port.
The manufacturer website lays everything out cleanly with examples of what works with the dock. In my testing I found little wrong with their claims. Our test unit was HDMI although there is a VGA model available as well. I would have liked to see a display port option since that’s the native video stream but it isn’t as common on consumer devices unfortunately.
I tested this dock extensively with the HTC10 and was impressed by both it and android. Power pass through works without any issue although quick charge seems to be filtered out it has no issue with any standard charging modes and claims support up to 3 amps. HDMI worked well at 1080p although I wasn’t able to test against a 4k panel. The USB A port is surprisingly flexible under android. Flash drives work without issue as do most other common USB accessories. A USB sound card worked without issue. I was also able to use the touch input from a an external touch panel and an Ethernet adapter all without any hesitation.
The Video orientation problem
Output wise video worked perfectly fine. But there was one small hiccup and it’s android’s fault not the docks. Android devices such as phones only support display mirroring as their output option natively under android 7. This wasn’t a significant issue till I attempted to use the phone with a portrait mounted panel and spent some time working on this before unfortunately walking away empty handed.
Video quality demonstration
With a device like this the quality of the video output is a fair question as it’s doing a display port to HDMI conversion. Fortunately we have access to an HDMI video recorder, the odyssey 7q+ which we’ve used in previous reviews. A small 1080p clip of Big Buck Bunny was output via HDMI to the recorder and captured, other than splicing a small setup clip and uploading the video to YouTube no editing was done. HDMI sound does work although the recorder wasn’t able to capture it in this instance(an issue we’ve had before). The video quality in person is perfect at 1080p. The device supports 4k and will he examined when I get access to a 4k panel if possible.
I was ready for this dock to not work with android at all. Considering how new usb-c is and how many universal standard have failed before I’m pleasantly surprised to see everything “Just work”. Android needs better support for external displays but with Microsoft pushing continuum I can’t imagine google is far behind. Available in both HDMI and VGA for those with legacy needs Accell has a compelling product that I’d recommend to anyone in need of it’s feature set. Anyone who doesn’t need android to play nicely with a portrait panel that is, but that’s google’s fault.
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