Thunderbolt is really starting to take over the computing world. Most laptops and even some desktops now, use Thunderbolt via a USB-C port. Allowing it to do more than just data transfer and charging. This allows a laptop to connect to a monitor, using a single cable, which is really nice. And you can also get much faster transfer speeds with Thunderbolt, so it’s becoming more and more popular.
Satechi has it’s own Thunderbolt 4 dock, which has a pretty plain name – Thunderbolt 4 Dock – it’s a $299 dock with plenty of ports. But there is one port that’s missing – or actually two. That’s HDMI and/or a DisplayPort. The rest of this dock, I absolutely love. As it does have a SD card slot on the front, making it easy to put my Sony camera’s SD card in and start editing photos. But the fact that there’s no way to plug in a monitor that’s not USB-C, is rather frustrating.
Most of the ports you’d want
This Thunderbolt 4 Dock from Satechi has almost all of the ports that you’d want. On the back, there’s plenty. That includes three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an Ethernet and three USB-A (3.2) ports available for older peripherals. On the front, there’s even more. That includes another Thunderbolt 4 port, which can do up to 96W charging, as well as a headphone jack, USB-A (2.0) port and a SD card reader.
Like I said, plenty of ports here. And it works with everything I use everyday, with my MacBook Air M2. But there’s one thing missing. A way to plug in my LG Ultrawide monitor. It’s a little older, so it doesn’t have a USB-C or Thunderbolt connection. Luckily, this works with just a single USB-C port on my MacBook Air, so the other can use another dongle that has HDMI available.
But the real question is, who is this for? Desktop people? Probably. You see, even if you have a monitor that has USB-C, why would you need this dock? Sure you might want a few extra USB-C and Thunderbolt ports, or some USB-A ports, but you can find those on docks and dongles that are far less expensive. And if you have a desktop, you likely really need some additional ports. But for laptop people like myself, this dock doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Small, sleek and beautiful
Normally, I’d be of the mindset that the design of a dock does not matter. But it is something that sits on your desk and that you look at everyday. So the design does kind of matter. And Satechi has never been one to put out ugly products. So the Thunderbolt 4 Dock here is a really good looking one.
The dock is enclosed in aluminum and has a plastic chassis. Which makes it a bit heavier, but that means it’s less likely to move around. While also looking nice and sleek. It is a pretty small dock, all things considered. Coming in at a 7.5-inches long by 3.5-inches deep. Though there’s no vertical stand or mounting option, something that even Anker offers on its docks. There is a 135W power brick that allows you to charge your laptop off of this dock. So it does need power, but you can run power from it to your laptop, so you’re still using a single outlet for it. There is a Thunderbolt 4 cable that comes in the box, which can be used for charging.
Satechi does offer a nice LED light on the front to see that the dock is powered on. Though there’s no power button. Something that Thunderbolt docks in this price range should really have, to keep from shorting out your devices during a power surge or outage.
Should you buy the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock?
I’m honestly really struggling to see who this dock is for. It’s a great looking dock, with plenty of ports, but arguably the most important ports are not even here. For someone like me that uses HDMI and SD Card slots all the time, not having both of those makes it a major dealbreaker for myself. But that might not be the case for others.
So if you do need a Thunderbolt 4 dock with four Thunderbolt ports and plenty of USB-A ports, then this is a really good option. Expensive, but a good option.