- Monitor, Ethernet, keyboard, and mouse can all be hooked to a tablet with a single USB-C port
- Space to hold MatePen and other adapters
- Less expensive than many rivals
- USB-C connection cable poorly placed
- Carrying case not well designed
Quick TakeThe Huawei MateDock has all the ports needed to allow a tablet or 2-in-1 with a single USB-C port to connect to a monitor, Ethernet network, and several USB accessories. It isn't as portable as it should be, however.
USB Type-C will soon be a feature of most tablets and laptops, and Huawei already offers an accessory that can turn a mobile computer with one of these ports into a desktop: the MateDock. It costs $89 and is designed for the Huawei MateBook, but isn’t limited to this 2-in-1.
Our Huwaei MateDock Review is intended to help consumers decide if this peripheral should be part of their next PC.
Build and Design
At 2.9 x 1.3 x 6 inches and 11 ounces (0.7 pounds), this accessory is definitely something that needs a gear bag, backpack, briefcase, or purse to carry around. Still, there are a lot of functions packed into it, so the size doesn’t seem unwarranted.
That said, there’s a real design flaw. Sticking out of one end is a short cable with a USB-C jack used to connect the MateDock to a tablet or laptop. This cable isn’t removable, and not only does it make the item longer than it needs to be, this cable gets absolutely no protection. Huawei should have used a USB-C port instead so a cable could be inserted or taken out as needed.
On the same end as the cable is a USB Type-C port, so the computer this dock is connected to can be charging while other accessories are also being used. This is a feature the rival Dell USB-C to HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/USB 3.0 Adapter lacks.
Also on this end are two USB 3.0 ports so that a keyboard and mouse can be used simultaneously, or a regular flash drive can be plugged in.
An Ethernet port is also on this end of the MateDock, freeing the tablet or laptop from its dependence on wireless networks, and giving access to the secure Ethernet networks so many companies require.
On the opposite end of Huawei’s peripheral are HDMI and VGA ports. These can’t be used at the same time, so the user can connect to only one external monitor.
This product comes only in white plastic, and overall it seems solidly built. It didn’t flex or bend when we put it under stress, and we’d consider it quite robust if we weren’t worried about that protruding cable being damaged.
Included with the MateDock is a wrap-around carrying case that comes in either black or brown leather to match the colors of the Huawei Portfolio Keyboard.
Built into this case are places to store the short USB-C to microUSB cable and microUSB to full-size USB-A adapter that come with the MateBook. There’s also a place to store the MatePen that was designed for this 2-in-1. Anyone willing to forgo these peripherals can leave off this case and carry the MateDock around “naked”, which will save an inch or so of space.
Those who choose to go this route won’t be losing much, as this case provides little or no protection for aNya of the ports at either end of MateDock, nor does it do anything for the cable that sticks out of one end of this product.
The real test of the Huawei MateDock is using all its functions at the same time, so we plugged it into a MateBook and then attached an HDMI monitor, USB keyboard, USB mouse, Ethernet cable, and power cable simultaneously. The product passed this test without problem. All the accessories performed exactly as expected, and acted as if they were plugged directly into the computer.
Then we switched the MateDock to a MacBook 2016 with the exact same result. This doesn’t guarantee that Huawei’s Dock will work with every computer with a USB-C port, but is reason to be optimistic that it will.
The list price for the MateDock is $89. For comparison, Dell’s similar but not identical USB-C multi-adapter has a list price of $74.99 but is available online for around $50.
USB Type-C accessories are new and still relatively expensive. The fact that both of these docks are under $100 puts them at the low end of the price range of available docks.
One of the most common options for a desktop PC is a laptop with an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor hooked up. The Huawei MateDock has all the ports needed to allow a tablet or 2-in-1 with a single USB-C port to perform this same job.
Its design makes it a bit less portable as it should be, and its carrying case provides little protection, but this could still be a dock that permanently stays in an office to convert a tablet or 2-in-1 into a desktop PC, or that only occasionally gets carried around.