Review: Qwiizlab Mac Mini docking station (UH25 Max)

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Review unit provided by Qwiizlab

This Qwiizlab docking station for the Mac Mini and Mac Studio can hold one SATA SSD, one M.2 NMVe SSD and is powered by USB.

So what’s special about this compared to the countless Mac Mini docking stations out there?

Well, this can hold 2 SSDs and is powered by USB. Many docking stations that can hold 2 SSDs usually have a dedicated power port (circular) that’s connected to power supply. This one from Qwiizlab can be powered through USB and hence you don’t need access to a power outlet — you can draw power from the Mac Mini. The downside is you have to use both Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Mini.


The Qwwizlab UH25 Max is one of several Mac Mini docking stations available from the company and these are the differences:

  • UH25 Max – US $119, 2x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 3.1 gen 2, 1x USB-C 3.2 gen 2, holds SATA and M.2 SSD, HDMI, DisplayPort
  • UH25 Pro – US $99, 2x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 3.1 gen 2, 1x USB-C 3.2 gen 2, holds SATA and M.2 SSD
  • UH25 SE – US $99, 2x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 3.1 gen 2, 1x USB-C 3.2 gen 2, holds SATA SSD, HDMI, VGA

The Max model has the additional DisplayPort and HDMI ports over the Pro model. Note that M1 Mac Mini only supports up to two displays so the Max model will allow you to use either 2x HDMI or 1x HDMI + 1x DisplayPort for a dual display setup.

It’s possible to have a dual display setup with UH25 SE but that unit can only hold one SATA SSD. UH25 SE does not provide enough power for external high-powered USB devices, e.g. external spinning hard drives and external NVMe.

Things included


The items included are:

  • Docking station
  • 2x USB-C video cables
  • 6x screws
  • 1x Screw driver
  • 2x foam pad
  • 3x rubber stopper (for NVMe)


The UH25 Max docking station has the same design aesthetics as the Mac Mini. At the time of this review, only the silver version is available so maybe the Space Gray is out of stock.

The ports on the from from left to right are 2x USB-A 3.0, USB-A 3.1 gen 2, microSD card slot, SD card slot, USB-C 3.1 gen 2.

The USB-C port in front does not output video.

FYI, USB 3.1 gen 2 speeds is up to 10Gbits/s or 1.25GB/s. With my tests, I was able to get around half the transfer speeds with a Corsair MP510 in an Orico USB 4 enclosure. . That’s usually the real world transfer speed of USB 3.1 gen 2 I expect.


On the back, the ports are 2x USB-C, full-size DisplayPort and full-size HDMI. The two video ports can delivery 4K 60Hz video.


The two USB-C ports are aligned directly below the Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Mini. The two USB-C ports have to be connected to the Mac Mini for best performance.

It is possible to connect one USB-C port to the Mac Mini, the other USB-C port to a USB-C/Thunderbolt dock and then to the Mac Mini, but this will result in low transfer speeds when you connect storage drives to the Qwiizlab docking station.

If you really want to connect a Thunderbolt dock to your Mac Mini, get docking stations that are powered by one USB-C port and those can only hold either one SATA SSD or one M.2 SSD.

This Qwiizlab docking station can be an alternative to a Thunderbolt dock if you do not require Thunderbolt transfer speeds or capability. Most Thunderbolt docks are way more expensive and do not provide internal space for SSDs.


For my testing, I’ve used a Samsung QVO 870 SATA SSD and Samsung EVO Plus 970 M.2 SSD.


I’ve also used a Corsair MP510 M.2 SSD housed in an Orico USB 4 enclosure.

All three storage drives were able to mount properly upon startup.

These are the transfer speeds I recorded:

Internal

  • Samsung QVO 870 SATA: 332 MB/s read, 358 MB/s write
  • Samsung EVO Plus 970: 513 MB/s read, 424 MB/s write

External

  • SD card: 79 MB/s read, 50 MB/s write
  • Corsair MP510 through USB-C: 346 MB/s read, 700 MB/s write
  • Corsair MP510 through USB-A: 336 MB/s read, 706 MB/s write
  • Samsung T7 through USB-C: 581 MB/s read, 618 MB/s write
  • Samsung T7 through USB-A: Disk write error

The Samsung T5 and T7 portable SSDs that I connect to the USB-A 3.1 gen 2 port failed the work properly. More specifically, The T5 & T7 SSDs experience extremely delayed operations such as opening folders, copy & paste, Get Info, ejection, transfer speed tests. In other words, T5 and T7 are not usable through the USB-A ports for some reason.

I’ve tried Orico and Sandisk USB 3.1 SSD thumb drives and those worked fine though the USB-A 3.1 gen 2 port.


Screenshot of BlackMagic Disk Speed Test with Corsair MP510 through USB-A. The transfer speed of this docking station is good enough for 4K 30FPS video editing

Conclusion

The Qwiizlab UH25 Max is a well designed Mac Mini docking station has the best performance when connected directly to the Mac Mini and not through other docks. The only main issue is the Samsung T5 and T7 portable SSDs do not work well with the USB-A 3.1 gen 2 ports.

Here are the pros and cons at a glance:
+ Beautiful compact design
+ Good selection of ports available
+ Has extra video ports for dual display setups
+ Holds one SATA SSD and one M.2 SSD
+ Powered by USB
+ Provides enough power for high-powered USB devices, e.g. ext SSDs, scanners.
+ Reasonable transfer speeds enough for 4K 30FPS video editing
+ Competitive pricing
– Samsung T5 & T7 do not work with the USB-A 3.1 gen 2 port
– Two Thunderbolt ports on the Mac Mini are used
– No USB-C video output

Availability

You can find the Qwiizlab UH25 Max or other Mac Mini docking stations from Qwiizlab online store and Amazon USA.

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