Gosh, this thread is both interesting and exhausting. I have been reading everything and I still can’t decide myself for a specific format/size.
So… I just made a kind of personal (so probably biased) summary of the arguments so far, and I’m sharing it in case it helps.
There is no easy choice here, but considering the opinions, looks like we have three paths.
We could choose:
a) one or two very specific (not compromised) devices, to choose among feather, middle and super, being the middle the most probable winner.
b) a compromise (light-middle)
c) a “pluggable” or fully modular design (with many possibilities but unclear feasibility)
Maybe we should include these combinations (and not only the proposed form factors) in the next poll.
So, looking at the different options:
- Feather could effectively expand the V’s own ports on the go. As @Eriol_Ancalagon, @Skimaster and others noted, the V already has enough USB ports for travel use. But the V lacks HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/SD, which could be useful. Feather would fit most of those, but probably not all of them.
Feather would be best in terms of mobility. People who travel prefer this, usually combined with the super.
- Dual Monitor and Power Delivery (USB-PD pass through) could be possible?
- As @Brendon_Leenheer, @mlivesey, @Skimaster, @Spence and some others said, there are a lot of similar devices already available, so it is a fair question to ask if Eve really wants to create another one.
- It would fit almost all the ports the V is lacking (HDMI/VGA/Ethernet/SD/audio), like the example @Alexander_Halbarth shows.
- This wouldn’t be an optimal solution for anything, but with good design it could become a good compromise between feather, light and middle.
- I totally like the USB-PD pass through option, but @Alexander_Halbarth’s proposal on a charger-meets-hub design could be also interesting for this light version. Something like the current V charger but with ports, to take it with you instead of the charger.
- Benefits are still a bit unclear in the debate. As @iKirin, @happynerd and others said, providing you can get (pass-through) Power Delivery and Dual Monitor in the light (or even the feather), it seems that there is not much to add feature wise from light to middle…
- …except some kind-of-niche (or unique) bonuses, some extra video ports like DP, and some more USB ports, which could make a difference for a fixed use.
- Reading comments in favour of this form factor by @wsaenot, @kaum and @Skimaster, it seems to me that choosing the middle is more a matter of design and user experience. Where do I place it? How does it sit on my desk?
especially with the V having its own kickstand with variable angle.
- Different positioning options (beyond sitting on top of a desk) would be very interesting to explore. What if we could easily hung it under a desk or behind a monitor?
- Most people would use it at home/work, so having it designed for that user case in mind would be mandatory over portability… Also, to take it away, you would have to unplug everything, which would be an extra hassle.
- The B option, while being the only thing I would really call a “dock” in this thread, seems the less flexible one,
Super (box- or bench-like)
- Not everyone wants an eGPU, so this would be either an additional device, or something you can optionally add to a middle version.
- Still, everyone who would want an eGPU sees the super as a clear go-to option, no compromises made, except of maybe the size.
- This would be the most unique dock, as @Smyler316 and others imply in their comments. With still some room for improving price, design and specs, this would be welcome in the market.
The question remains: Which options would we choose among those? Or… could we come up with combinations that don’t have many compromises? Here is my guess on it:
Scenario 1: Choosing between well-defined formats, no compromises made
Tough decision, but there are already some hints:
feather is popular but already existing, so a bit expendable
middle is seems to be most popular option, fitting most people here - probable winner: (1)
super is a bit less popular but with more innovative/attractive potential
I think the voting poll has to be carefully designed: Multiple choice (voting for all devices I would use) vs. single choince (voting for the one device I would tell Eve to put their bet on).
Scenario 2: Making a single hub/dock with compromises but wider range of use
The probable combination would be feather + light + middle --> light.
As some of you already said, looking for compromises may not be the best option… or could actually end up working well. Not really sure. My opinion is that middle doesn’t add a lot over light and feather, so they could probably be merged. The question is: would that really appeal to anyone?
Maybe we should add this as an option in the poll: not only light, but an explicit one-fits-all light.
Scenario 3: Going for a modular design
There would be different options here:
Feather + Light (= Middle)
Middle + Super
Feather + Middle + Super (full modularity)
As I said above, assuming it is possible at all, we would need at least three modules to achieve full modularity without duplicating ports. But… this is probably not going to happen.
Middle + super has some potential, though. I would really like to explore this one. Either considering an eGPU module where you could plug a dock module, or making the GPU “pluggable” on a dock base. Or even adding case-less or under-the table designs to the mix.
Phew. That’s all for now.
I probably got overexcited here