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As we expect new Thunderbolt 4 laptops to start shipping later this month, here are our top Thunderbolt 4 docking stations to take advantage of the Thunderbolt 4 port. Thunderbolt is one of the best things that has ever happened to laptops. Bringing lighting 40Gbps speeds, charging, and video on the same port allows you to get high performance from your thin and light ultrabook. And Thunderbolt 4 is here to make your experience even better.
While Thunderbolt 4 won’t be faster than Thunderbolt 3, it brings some long-overdue enhancements to the current specification, which improves performance and user experience. One of the areas that benefit significantly from the new Thunderbolt 4 specification is docking stations.The new Thunderbolt 4 docking stations now have a much smaller physical footprint and more ports than Thunderbolt 3 docks.
For the first time, you can find more than two Thunderbolt ports on a docking station. These new docks can provide up to four Thunderbolt 4 ports, enough for your host laptop and other accessories. For instance, you can connect your Thunderbolt 4 laptop, two 4K displays, and still have an additional port for external drives or other peripherals.
If you’re a multi-tasker or enthusiast, pairing your new ultraportable laptop with a Thunderbolt 4 docking station can help you reach new levels of productivity.
Besides the multi-port architecture, Thunderbolt 4 docking stations support Wake-on-LAN, enabling you to wake your laptop from sleep by touching a keyboard or mouse connected to the dock. And with power delivery, you don’t need chargers for your PC. Intel requires all Thunderbolt 4 laptops to support charging from a docking station, so you can have a clean and clutter-free workspace.
Without further ado, here are the best Thunderbolt 4 docking stations in the market. For now, only Other World Computing (OWC) has released a Thunderbolt 4 docking station, and it’s available for pre-order on MacSales.
The Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations
|OWC Thunderbolt Hub||TB4 Ports: 4|
External Display: 2x 4K60, 1x 8K60
Power Delivery: 60W
1. OWC Thunderbolt Hub – Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station
OWC released the first Thunderbolt 4 docking station, OWC Thunderbolt Hub, which lets you turn a single Thunderbolt 4 port into several to expand your connection possibilities. It’s a small, compact dock with all the features to transform your ultraportable laptop into a powerhouse.
The docking station comes with four Thunderbolt 4 ports and one USB 3.2 Type-A port for legacy USB devices. One Thunderbolt 4 port connects to the host laptop and the remaining three ports to other Thunderbolt peripherals, including monitors, external storage, audio interfaces, and more compatible devices. With a full 40Gbps bandwidth, you connected accessories to deliver the same performance as when they’re plugged directly to a computer giving you desktop-class performance from your thin and light notebook.
The OWC Thunderbolt Hub supports dual 4K displays or a single 5K/6K/8K display, giving you more screen real estate for multitasking and superb image quality for creative work. Whether you’re a business professional or content creator, having multiple ultra HD displays lets you expand your workflow and multitask like a pro.
The previous Thunderbolt specifications required you to place bus-powered devices like external storage devices at the end of the chain. And it could only support one bus-powered device per chain, meaning you couldn’t daisy-chain multiple external storage devices, and the read/write speeds were much lower than connecting directly to the PC.
Thunderbolt 4 solves all these limitations by supporting daisy-chaining of multiple bus-powered devices and allowing you to place them at the front of the chain for the most reliable performance.
The OWC Thunderbolt Hub provides 60W power for charging the host laptop. And with each Thunderbolt 4 laptop supporting charging, you can have a clean setup with less clutter and power adapters. However, 60W may not be ideal for most power-hungry laptops that demand more than 60W. It can still charge them but much slower than usual.
- 4x Thunderbolt 4
- 1x USB 3.2 Type-A (10Gbps)
- 1x Kensington Lock
- Small and portable design
- Four Thunderbolt 4 ports
- Supports multiple bus-powered devices in a daisy-chain
- 60W power output for charging
- Adjustable LED indicator
- Not enough power for demanding laptops
Best Thunderbolt 4 Docking Stations Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What does a Thunderbolt docking station do?
A Thunderbolt docking station docking stations turn a single port on your PC into multiple ports to connect more accessories. It’s a great solution to add legacy USB-A ports to your ultraportable Thunderbolt 4 laptop.
Can a Thunderbolt 4 docking station charge my latpop?
Yes. You can charge your Thunderbolt 4 laptop using a Thunderbolt 4 docking station. However, the output power differs on different docks, while some don’t support charging.
Do Thunderbolt 4 docking stations support daisy chaining?
All Thunderbolt 4 docks with at least two Thunderbolt 4 ports support daisy-chaining of multiple devices. You can now connect several bus-powered devices in a daisy-chain for improved performance and reliability.