OWC Thunderbolt Dock review – 14-port Thunderbolt 4 docking station


Now that Thunderbolt 4 is right here and beginning to send on top rate laptops, it’s necessary that your docking station is qualified to this newest connection usual.

OWC’s Thunderbolt Dock is absolutely qualified for Thunderbolt 4 and its shut cousin USB4, and boasts 11 further ports on your hooked up laptop.

Specs and lines

OWC Thunderbolt Dock Ports

  • One Thunderbolt 4 upstream port (40Gbps, 90W)
  • Three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports (40Gbps, 15W)
  • Up to 2 exterior shows (4K at 60Hz)
  • Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)
  • One USB-A port (480Mbps, 7.5W)
  • SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Front-facing 3.5mm Audio In & Out port
  • 135W energy provide

The OWC Thunderbolt Dock loves Thunderbolt 4 such a lot that it comprises 4 40Gbps TB4 ports; one upstream port to hook up with the host laptop and 3 downstream ports to hook up with different USB-C/TB3/TB4 gadgets and shows.

This is the utmost collection of TB4 ports anybody tool can fortify. Thunderbolt 3 was once restricted to simply two, so even TB3 customers will desire the brand new connector in the event that they require a couple of Thunderbolt or USB-C gadgets.

Unlike with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks, there aren’t any DisplayPort or HDMI ports at the Thunderbolt Dock. Instead, OWC will provide you with the selection of show connector. USB-C displays can also be hooked up without delay, however you’ll want a USB-C-to-HDMI or USB-C-to-DisplayPort adapter for non-USB-C shows.

This may imply further expense, however it does come up with extra flexibility than having to discover a docking station with whichever DisplayPort/HDMI port your track has, and is if truth be told higher in case you have two displays every with its personal show sort.

An selection means is observed with the Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Dock, which has only one downstream TB4 port however two HDMI 2.0 ports for direct show connections.

You can upload as much as two 4K shows at 60Hz or a unmarried 5K/6K/8K track. Remember, regardless that, that Apple’s M1 MacBooks can connect with only one exterior show; even supposing the later M1 Pro and M1 Max 14in and 16in MacBook Pros aren’t as restricted.

One of the large benefits of Thunderbolt 4 is its skill to create “branches” of hooked up gadgets relatively than dependent daisy chains. This approach you’ll disconnect gadgets with out affecting the entire others within the chain.

OWC comprises 4 outdated-college USB-A ports – 3 of that are at a quick 10Gbps, even supposing be offering little (4.5W) in the best way of tool charging. The USB-A port at the entrance is the weaker USB 2.0 selection so beautiful deficient at information switch (480MBps) however in a position sufficient at charging at 7.5W.

The 3 downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports can rate hooked up gadgets at 15W every.

The upstream Thunderbolt 4 port can rate a hooked up computer at as much as 90W, which will have to be lots for even massive laptops.

The total energy provide to the dock is 135W, which is round moderate for TB4 docking stations.

The Gigabit Ethernet port frees you from patchy Wi-Fi with forged stressed Internet get entry to.

There’s an SD Card reader (at speedy 320MBps UHS-II velocity) however no microSD possibility, even supposing maximum microSD playing cards include an adapter that matches them into an SD Card reader.

This extremely-moveable garage structure approach you’ll inexpensively upload speedy backup garage for your computer or different laptop, as much as 1TB. 256GB of garage can price round £30/$30.

OWC Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Design and construct

OWC makes forged, just right-taking a look docking stations, and the Thunderbolt Dock is not any exception.

OWC has located the upstream TB4 port at the entrance of the dock, which is commonplace on docks however no longer one thing we approve of because it makes the desktop setup messier than it must be. Why no longer have this cable hidden away on the again with the ability provide and Ethernet port?

That stated, we’ve observed just one TB4 hub that doesn’t dedicate this sin: the Caldigit Thunderbolt 4 Element Hub locates its upstream port on the aspect. And each TB4 dock we’ve examined has its upstream port on the entrance.

Price

The OWC Thunderbolt Dock prices $279 in the United States.

To purchase from the United Kingdom, you want to head thru OWC’s EU retailer, the place it prices €247 plus round €9 transport, which fits out round £220.

It’s additionally to be had on Amazon, even supposing significantly costlier for UK consumers.

This is superb price for an absolutely fledged docking station, with some smaller hubs costing round the similar worth. See our roundup of the most productive Thunderbolt 4 docks.

Verdict

While its title hides its 4-ness, the OWC Thunderbolt Dock is certainly absolutely qualified for the brand new connection usual. It doesn’t skimp at the older USB-A typical both, boasting 3 at a quick 10Gbps.

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