As mentioned here previously, the rise of USB-C is a good thing, and hopefully means an end to needing different proprietary chargers for different laptops.

And indeed, I now have both work and personal laptops which can be juiced over their USB-C ports.

The business of connecting a laptop up on my desk was still a bit clunky, though. This is the sort of USB-C dock I've been using to date:

Close, but no cigar

There are two major shortcomings of this and similar ones - the first is that it doesn't have enough USB type A ports (mouse, keyboard, webca-oh bother, I've run out). The second is the silly short piece of cable hard-wired into it. As you can see on the above one, in most real world usage, you can't avoid the dock hanging off that cable and it starts to separate.

Recently, then, I sprung a hundred (!) of my own British pounds on this thing:

What lies beneath my desk

That's a suitably terrible in-situ photograph, but you can see it on Amazon.

Does it do the business? Well, so far I'm impressed. It solves both my issues with the Anker, providing two USB-C ports for in and out, and both long and short cables to use with them. And it has the extra USB-A port for my webcam. So using this, I can disappear the dock and nearly all the mess down the back of my desk, and connecting a laptop to webcam+power+keyboard+mouse+2 monitors is reduced to 1x USB-C and 1xHDMI to plug in.

It does take a few disconnect/reconnect cycles (on first use with any given laptop) before Windows settles down to recognising the device and correctly powering the USB-A hub in it, but once this is done it all seems to work smoothly from that point onwards.

The indicator LEDs on the network port are perhaps unnecessarily bright, but better too bright than too dim, and as mentioned it can be disappeared behind the desk anyway.

Now all I need is a version with twin HDMI ports (is that even possible with the bandwidth of USB-C?), and I can reduce it all down to a single cable.

Update the Anker also ran hot enough to cook bacon on, and I'm pleased to report the new one does much better at heat dissipation. Warm to the touch when in service, but no more than that.