I’ve all the time had a mushy spot for Jsaux. Its powerful, braided USB cables have seen me proper for years, and now the corporate has deigned to deliver us an alternative choice to the official Steam Deck (opens in new tab) dock, whereas Valve is out twiddling its thumbs.
There are two variations of the Jsaux Steam Deck Dock: the usual HB0602 (opens in new tab), and the upgraded HB0603 (opens in new tab) which primarily improves on the USB port specs. Sadly, each endure with limitations on the subject of ethernet speeds, however we’ll get to that in a second.
For probably the most half, the Jsaux dock is a sturdy, handsome piece of package. I really like the gunmetal gray, and it does a fantastic job of presenting the Steam Deck in fashion. Nested in its little silicon-lined nook, the Deck would not slide about in case you’re transferring it from one floor to a different, and the cable is simply the precise size so it reaches the Deck’s cost port, with sufficient slack to take the Deck out whereas holding it plugged in.
It is clear Jsaux has put sturdiness as a prime precedence with its Premium Aluminium Alloy body, although there’s a little bit of a hollowness to the physique. My major concern listed below are the steel corners, whereas largely rounded, are frighteningly near my Steam Deck’s display. Perhaps I am only a worrier.
Not less than I do know after I get a pet it’s going to have a tricky time chewing by means of this dock.
Jsaux Steam Deck Dock Spec
As for connectivity, whereas the official Steam Deck dock will supply HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4, Jsaux has opted to produce as much as 4K resolutions at 60Hz by means of a single HDMI 2.0 output. Nearly all of use instances will not warrant 4K because the Steam Deck is more likely to wrestle at these resolutions.
In fact you may all the time play at a decrease decision and use AMD’s Fidelity FX Super Resolution (opens in new tab) tech to upscale, in case you’re utilizing the Jsaux dock with one of many best 4K gaming monitors (opens in new tab). Sadly, although, you will not find a way get full use of the Steam Deck as a transportable 8K+ film participant with this dock. In case you’re simply trying to make use of it as a transportable workstation, although, the Jsaux dock has you coated, although an additional USB port or two may need been good.
There’s a USB Kind-C accessible which expenses as much as 100W (the Deck solely wants 45W) so there’s some leeway for charging peripherals. Although, once more, one other port would have been a fantastic addition so you would cost and have one thing else plugged in there. To free one in every of these ports up, you may contemplate connecting the dock to a monitor with a USB Kind-C downstream (for charging and picture output), but it surely’s necessary to notice that the DisplayLink chipset in quite a lot of screens is not supported on Linux as of but.
For some unusual motive, Jsaux has despatched me the cheaper $40 (£35) model of the dock with its twin USB 2.0 ports, versus the $50 model with three USB 3.0 Kind-A ports. My major query is that this: why would I hassle skimping for such a downgrade? As our Dave says, “There is no place for USB 2.0 on any new PC dock in 2022,” which is strictly why Valve delayed the official Dock to upgrade to USB 3.1 (opens in new tab).
What we do know is the Jsaux dock is restricted to 100Mbps ethernet. For reference, it takes round 5 minutes to obtain a film in 1080p at these speeds, so you may think about how lengthy it’d take to obtain the full size of some of today’s games (opens in new tab). For some customers, this limitation will negate the necessity to jam an ethernet cable in there; your Wi-Fi could even be sooner in case you’re paying for greater than 100Mbps.
Setting the ethernet and USB limitations apart, there’s nonetheless loads to be mentioned about an organization that launched a sturdy, fashionable Steam Deck dock, earlier than Valve managed to deliver us an official one.
However, it is positively price spending that additional $10 on the HB0603 (opens in new tab) as an alternative, particularly as there is a little bit of noticeable enter latency when utilizing these USB 2.0 ports to play video games. Whereas we’re betting on the official dock being round $50 or much less, we have nonetheless no concept how a lot it’s going to value. The $50 HB0603 with its USB 3.0 ports could but be higher worth, but when the official Dock is wherever close to that value on launch, and may boast higher ethernet speeds, that is actually the place I will be spending my cash.