The New Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ with Plugable USB-C Products

One of the necessities for working at Plugable is having a passion for technology. So imagine the excitement when we hear about an upcoming device that breaks the mold, and the subsequent crowd that gathers around such devices when they arrive in our office. This is especially true with the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, which are among the first phones to support exciting new USB-C functionality such as Alternate Mode video output (“Alt Modes”) and USB Power Delivery (“PD”). (Though at this time it is not well understood if Samsung is indeed using the USB PD standard for charging or another method.)

Our new Galaxy S8 arrived yesterday and we immediately dove into testing with our USB-C products. My personal Galaxy S8+ arrived the same day at home, so I brought it in today to put it through the same battery of tests with our products, and found that both handsets behave identically. We’ll continue to provide updates regarding compatibility in this post, on the relevant product pages on our site, and on our Amazon listings. (YouTube overview of the Samsung S8/S8+ and Plugable USB-C products coming soon as well!)

We’ve learned a fair bit about how this device reacts to different peripherals, so feel free to comment below if you have any particular questions and we’ll do our best to answer.

Test Results as of 4/21/2017

USB-C Docking Stations
Our USB-C docks work well with these devices overall, with one disappointing caveat: USB-C connected displays didn’t perform as expected. We were hoping that we would see a similar experience to what the Samsung “DeX” dock offers, but it looks like the handsets detect whether the connected dock is the DeX Station and then make a decision to launch the DeX software suite (while keeping the feature disabled on non-Samsung docks and video output devices). We haven’t found any work-around for this, but we are attempting to work with Samsung to see if this can be resolved.

Charging was limited to 5V for everything except the charger that came with the handsets. Even with the included charger, The phones only negotiates the higher 9V charging mode if the screen is locked, either in always-on display mode or with the display off.

  • USB-C Single Display Docking Station with Charging (UD-CA1): Alt Mode” HDMI Output is Compatible, charges at 5V
  • USB-C Triple Display Docking Station with Charging (UD-ULTCDL): “Alt Mode” HDMI Output is Compatible, charges at 5V (DisplayLink displays through the Triple Display dock also work using the Android DisplayLink Presenter app. This still only mirrors the phone display, so no real added value over using the USB-C Alt Mode output.)

USB-C Alt Mode Display Adapters
These behave the same as our docking station display outputs, mirroring the screen only. Screen rotation to portrait or landscape mode behaves as expected, rotating the image on the attached display.

  • USB-C to DisplayPort Cable (USBC-DP): Compatible
  • USB-C to HDMI Cable (Coming soon! USBC-HDMI-CABLE): Compatible
  • USB-C to VGA Cable (Coming soon! USBC-VGA-CABLE): Compatible
  • USB-C to DVI Dongle (USBC-DVI): Compatible
  • USB-C to HDMI Dongle (USBC-HDMI): Compatible
  • USB-C to VGA Dongle (USBC-VGA): Not Compatible

USB-C Hubs and Accessories

USB Ethernet Adapters
This is a break from the expected behavior with Samsung phones. In previous generation devices, none of our Ethernet adapters have worked, which seemed to be an intentional choice considering the drivers should be built-in to the kernel. The obvious change here is support for the Dex dock, which has an Ethernet adapter built-in. Adapters that aren’t natively USB-C will require a USB-C adapter, such as the USBC-AF3.

  • USB-C Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (USBC-E1000): Compatible
  • USB-A 3.0 and 2.0 Ethernet Adapters (Compatible with USB-A to C adapter such as USBC-AF3 below) (Though the native USBC-E1000 adapter above will be the best choice for most.)

USB-C Cables and Test Equipment

  • USB-C to USB-A Adapter Cable (USBC-AF3): Compatible
  • USB-C to USB-C USB 3.1 Gen2 USB-IF Certified Cable (USBC-C100): Compatible
  • Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Cables (40Gb .5m; 20Gb 1m; 20Gb 2m): Compatible
  • USB-C Voltage and Amperage Meter (USB-VAMETER): Compatible

Please comment below to share any additional compatibility information or with questions — thanks!

14 comments on “The New Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ with Plugable USB-C Products”

    • Sam Morgan Sam Morgan Reply

      Great suggestion! Unfortunately, this didn’t work. I was able to create a shortcut to DeX Home, but any attempts to launch it had no reaction in several different docking setups. App info below:

      Application: Samsung DeX Home
      Package/Class: com.sec.android.app.desktoplauncher/com.android.launcher3.Launcher

  1. Martin Reply

    And one more Question: Did the USB Ports work on the Display Docking Stations?

    • Sam Morgan Sam Morgan Reply

      Thanks for asking!

      Yes, they worked. I was able to attach a mouse, keyboard, and flash card reader simultaneously when testing with the UD-ULTCDL.

  2. David P. Novakovic (@dpn) Reply

    Hey this is awesome… probably going to grab some of these items then.

    One question I have is whether the phone can charge wirelessly while a usb – c -> video cable is plugged in? This would in some ways remove the need for a docking station if you’re happy using bluetooth devices etc!

    Thanks

    • Sam Morgan Sam Morgan Reply

      Great question, thanks for asking!

      I gave it a try and I was able to use a Qi charger while simultaneously mirroring the display and attaching a USB flash drive. It looks like the USB-C port is fully capable while wireless charging.

  3. Renato Pace Reply

    Hi! i would like to know if Dex would work with the Asus mb169c+ portable monitor as it has a type c connection. Then I would need a HDMI-Type C adaptor right? Thanks a lot!!

    • Sam Morgan Sam Morgan Reply

      As far as we know, the DeX Home software package only works with the Samsung DeX Station. The monitor you linked would likely connect directly to the phone without any sort of interface adapter.

      I would suggest contacting Samsung directly for compatibility information.

      • Renato Pace Reply

        Hi Sam. Thanks for the info. I would like to use the Dex (with the docked s8) with this monitor. Is it possible? This monitor is powered through the usb-c cable and I dont think Dex has one to power it. Does HDMI supplies power? Thanks!

  4. Rik Reply

    It connects fine with the ultcdl, but alas no dex experience here either. 🙁

    Any news on how to start dex experience?

    • Sam Morgan Sam Morgan Reply

      Unfortunately, Samsung has blocked the usage of DeX Home with display adapters other than the DeX Station on the Galaxy S8 and S8+. We hope this will change in the future, but for now Samsung hardware is required.

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