The new calendar year is right here, and everyone’s fired up to get back again to operate. But if you’ve ordered a new Thunderbolt 3 equipped laptop, this sort of as just one of the new M1 Macbook Execs, or one particular of the handful of Thunderbolt 4 geared up laptops, these as the existing crop of Lenovo and Dell versions, you’ve got most likely recognized you are missing in USB-C and also Ethernet ports. And, probably, you also need to travel many displays, as nicely as exterior keyboards and mice.

The new SD5700T docking station ($319.99), just introduced for Kensington, seeks to make daily life easier for all all those notebook buyers that, till now, have experienced to contend with port-deprived, jury-rigged desktop setups. I myself, for the very last two years, have been 1 of these consumers, obtaining migrated to the 2018-2019 16-inch MacBook Professional and needing to hook up two exterior 4K displays, in addition to numerous other USB peripherals as properly as a tough-wired gigabit Ethernet relationship. 

Like all other MacBook Professional users, I speedily learned the four Thunderbolt 3 ports on the laptop were insufficient. Sure, I could drive two screens with twin Thunderbolt to DisplayPort cables (MST isn’t really supported you can not “daisy-chain” DisplayPort gadgets on a Mac, as you can with Windows and Linux units), but that leaves just just one port no cost simply because a single has to be taken up by an external electrical power offer.

My past option to this was the CalDigit TS3 Furthermore ($249), which is a similar Thunderbolt 3 merchandise that supports twin exterior 4K monitors (just one with DisplayPort and one with Thunderbolt), as nicely as 5 excess USB ports, Ethernet, and several audio ports. 

The SD5700T is unquestionably a phase up from the CalDigit, at the very least for my use. With a single Thunderbolt cable coming out of the MacBook Professional (leaving a few of the ports cost-free for other use), I am in a position to power/demand the notebook working with the 90W USB PD link and travel twin 27-inch 4K Samsung monitors with a devoted Ethernet port, with place to plug in USB-C and USB-A products. 

The run dock has the following attributes if you want to drive the envelope with peripheral connectivity:

  • Connect up to 3 Thunderbolt equipment (variation 3 or 4) right or up to 6 in an MST daisy-chain (Home windows or Linux) applying 4 Thunderbolt 4 ports.
  • 4 USB-A ports (solitary 5V/1.5A in entrance, 3 Gen2 10Gbps in rear)
  • UHS-II SD 4. card reader
  • Headphone micro-jack
  • Transfer speeds up to 40Gbps
  • Dual 4K 60Hz video clip output (or single 8K 30Hz)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • 90W USB Electricity Shipping (PD) by means of integrated external ability connector and block

The SD5700T docking station from Kensington enables you to join all these peripherals with just a one Thunderbolt connection to your laptop computer.


Jason Perlow/ZDNet

The only draw back to using this configuration is the identical I have experienced with the CalDigit: Occasionally, the get in which the external monitors electricity up and instantiate on their own isn’t the way I want (the a person on the right will get swapped for the one on the remaining, and it necessitates likely into Process Choices > Displays > Arrangement to repair it). I believe that this to be a MacOS-precise issue and not the dock components. Nevertheless, it can be some thing you can expect to most likely will need to offer with a couple times a week when your laptop computer goes to snooze — in MacOS 11. You can also go into Program Choices > Battery > Ability Adapter and click on “Avert laptop or computer from sleeping mechanically when the show is off,” but that will chew up much more electricity.

General, I think the SD5700T is a wonderful alternative for port-constrained home-primarily based and office employees who want to get additional connectivity with their Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 laptops.