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Best Thunderbolt 4 Docks for Windows Laptops – Guide
With the proliferation of Thunderbolt ports in laptops, a Thunderbolt dock can be an important accessory. Think of the Thunderbolt dock as a faster, more powerful alternative to a USB-C hub that adds extra ports to your laptop for mice, keyboards, external drives, SD cards and, most importantly, monitors. You can even upload your laptop and smartphone!
Simply put, laptops are getting thinner and thinner. although cheaper laptops it even has microUSB ports, HDMI ports, SD card slots and more, premium laptops are opting for a “clean” look and moving all old ports to external devices. The choice here is between a USB-C hub and a Thunderbolt dock.
The difference? Price and bandwidth. USB-C hubs are significantly cheaper, but they also offer much lower bandwidth. This is especially important for monitors, but it can also affect the number and type of external hard drives, SSDs, and other peripherals your PC can connect to. While a USB-C hub can support a single 4K display, often at a tiresome 30Hz refresh rate, Thunderbolt inputs can support up to two comfortable 60 Hz 4K monitors. You can also use Thunderbolt to enable an external GPU for your PC.
if your laptop has a Thunderbolt port, it is likely to support either Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 standard, both offering 40 Gbps. Intel helped introduce the updated Thunderbolt 4 specification in July 2020 as part of the 11th generation “Tiger Lake” core laptops, and the specification has become increasingly popular with productivity laptops. Thunderbolt 4’s bandwidth is enough to drive the monitors and move data back and forth between peripherals without screen flicker or video stream flickering.
CalDigit Element Hub
The CalDigit Element Hub is made by the same company that makes the formidable CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 dock, our pick for the overall best. laptop docking station. The Element hub is smaller in size and priced lower than some of the other Thunderbolt 4 options, making it a good choice if you don’t have space on your desktop. It requires a substantial AC adapter, so don’t expect to take it with you on the road without a little weight.
the host laptop plugs into the side of the dock and opens up seven extra ports. The front edge is four USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2) with speeds of 10Gbps and 7.5W of charging power. The rear edge holds the AC input and three Thunderbolt 4 ports with speeds of 40 Gbps and 15 W of charging power. While connected, note that the host laptop will receive up to 60W of charging power when needed.
OWC Thunderbolt Hub
The OWC Thunderbolt Hub offers one Thunderbolt 4 upstream port, three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, and an extra USB-A port included for good measure. The price is the lowest we’ve seen for one of these newer Thunderbolt 4 or USB4 hubs.
All four Thunderbolt 4s have 40 Gbps bandwidth and 15 W charging, and a 3.2 Gen.2 USB-A port (10 Gbps and 7.5 W). TB4 ports can be used to add SSDs and other USB-C, TB3 or TB4 devices or external monitors, depending on your needs. It has a 110W power supply, which is all you need for the number of ports available, and it can carry one. laptop at the up to 60W.
Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma
Razer seems to have a version of just about any peripheral you can imagine, including a Thunderbolt 4 dock. And true to Razer’s vision, it’s a high-performance option embedded in RGB. Yes, even your docking station can have a smooth Chroma underglow to make your office even cooler.
The dock follows almost the same port configuration as the other full-size docks in this collection, although it drops the fragile USB-A 2.0 port at the front. Connecting to Thunderbolt 4 gives you access to three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, 3.5mm audio jack, a UHS-II SD card reader, three USB-A 3.2 (Gen 2) and up to 90 W carrying power to the host. If the normal black color doesn’t suit your setup, there is also a Mercury option now available.
Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
As you’d expect from Kensington, the SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is a quality build with everything a dock should have: four TB4 ports, three fast USB-A ports and one slow one (which has at least 7.5W of charging power compared to faster USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports (4.5W), Gigabit Ethernet, SD card reader and audio jack.
At 180 W, the power supply is the best we’ve seen in all of our hub and dock tests – great if you’re powering multiple devices connected to the dock. There are useful lights that let you know when the dock is on and when it’s plugged in, and we like to turn it on/off button, also. We think it’s worth paying a little extra for this dock, especially when you consider the three-year warranty.
Sonnettech Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock
The Sonnettech Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock has a full range of ports, including, of course, the four important T4 connections. You’ll find the same number of Thunderbolt 4 ports on much cheaper hubs, but you won’t find the Gigabit Ethernet, SD card slot and headphone jack on this dock.
You can add adapters to hubs to include them, but this of course adds to the overall cost. Another Advantage for Large Owners laptops is the dock’s ability to charge at 90W instead of the hub’s maximum 60W.
Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
The Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station is a great choice if you need to connect more than one external monitor to yours. laptop. Other Thunderbolt 4 stations we’ve tested rely exclusively on TB4 ports for video connections. This means that if you want two external displays, you will miss two of the three TB4 downstream ports, and you will need HDMI or DisplayPort adapters, unless the monitors have a USB-C connection.
Anker’s inclusion of two HDMI ports means you don’t need any adapters to connect monitors. There’s only one TB4 downstream port, but that’s all you’d have left if you connected two monitors to one of the other docks or hubs. If you’re not planning on adding two screens, this dock is less flexible than other hubs and docks where TB4 ports can be used for display or anything else you like.
The single TB4 downstream port can also be used to connect an external monitor, so it is possible for Thunderbolt 4 Windows owners laptops have up to three monitors coming out of the dock: two HDMI and one TB4. Mac owners will need to add third-party DisplayLink software to get three displays. An extra brand to add a power button in front so that your laptop not receiving a potential charge when not needed and keeping the dock temperature low overnight.
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