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Home / Technology / The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 dock has all the ports you need

The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 dock has all the ports you need

Thunderbolt 4 is here, and so is the first fully powered Thunderbolt 4 docking station. The Kensington SD5700T includes as many as 11 ports, 90 W power supply and transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps. It provides either an 8K output at 30 Hz or two 4K outputs at 60 Hz.

Make no mistake: This is a fancy dock. It’s listed for $ 289.99 on the Kensington website. But if you are the type of person who uses an elaborate desktop layout with multiple monitors and peripherals, and you have the money to spend, this may be a good choice.

If you look at the latest releases of Thunderbolt 4 laptops, you̵

7;ll probably notice that some of them have … sparse port choices. It is in line with the course when laptops get thinner. For example, the Dell XPS 13 has only two Thunderbolt 4 ports, an audio connector, and a microSD card reader. (And one of these ports will sometimes need to be occupied by the charger.) If you have decided to buy one of the XPS 13 models (which is a good choice – they are great), and you want to use an external monitor, external devices such as a mouse and a keyboard or an Ethernet connection, you need a dock of some kind.

That does not mean you need SD5700T – Thunderbolt 4 ports will still support a cheaper Thunderbolt 3 dock if you already have one lying around. But I think the SD5700T is worth protecting for if you need more connectivity and value Thunderbolt 4 functionality. It actually packs a complete home office setup in a very portable box.

The dock is also compatible with Thunderbolt 3 MacBooks running macOS Big Sur. It worked just fine with the MacBook Pro from 2019.

Kensington SD5700T from behind, on top of a window frame.

Three USB-A ports, three USB-C ports, one power port and Ethernet.

In addition to the aforementioned Thunderbolt 3-enabled MacBook Pro, I have also used the SD5700T with a Thunderbolt 4-enabled Acer Swift 5. I am someone who often needs to plug in more mice, cameras, drives, headphones and other things that laptops allow , so my work area is often covered by a mess of dongles and docks. The SD5700T provides much more connectivity than docks of this size that I have used before, and it has made my life a lot easier.

With a single Thunderbolt cable (included), Kensington 5D5700T owners have access to the following:

  • Four Thunderbolt 4-ports (with transfer speeds of up to 40 Gbps and dual 4K video output)
  • Four USB-A ports (one 5V / 1.5A charging port on the front and three Gen 2 @ 10Gbps ports on the back)
  • One Gigabit Ethernet port
  • One audio combination connector
  • A UHS-II SD 4.0 card reader
  • 90 W power supply (regardless of the number of connected devices)

Obviously the uses vary, but I really can not think of anything else that most people need. And keep in mind that this is not all you get – connecting the dock to a port frees up the other ports on your laptop, which may otherwise be occupied by a charger, monitor adapters and other external devices.

Kensington SD5700T front, on the window sill.

A USB-A port, a USB-C port, an audio connector, an SD card reader, and the power button.

The SD5700T required no expertise whatsoever to set up: I connected the dock to the wall, plugged in all the odds and ends, turned it on and then connected it to the laptop. And that was it – it just worked.

Everything I connected worked just fine. I did not experience any errors or performance issues. The one thing I want to see is a way to disconnect the dock as a whole with a single click. At the moment you have to discard all the connected devices separately before disconnecting a laptop from the SD5700T, which can hurt if you have a number of things connected. There are third-party apps that can do this, but some companies like Corsair provide drafting tools optimized for their own docks.

Final observation: This is not a bad dock. It has a nice finish that is shiny, but unobtrusive – nothing that stands out on your desk or turns your head in the office. With a weight of 0.435 kg and 7.68 x 2.95 x 1.18 inches (195 x 75 x 30 mm), it is also easy to take with you if you need to move the work area. You can put it in your bag or backpack without any problems (although 180W bricks are a bit bulky).

You can pre-order the Kensington SD5700T now and it will ship in the second week of January.

Photos by Monica Chin / The Verge

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