Is that this the last word Home windows docking station? Meet the Accell Thunderbolt 4


Picture: Accell

In case you’ve by no means used a docking station like Accell’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock, you are lacking out. A great deal of us use a single, usually work-provided, laptop computer after we’re on the go and dealing from dwelling. The effort of swapping between these two eventualities means we regularly discover ourselves struggling to get work finished on a tiny laptop computer show with nothing however its built-in keyboard and touchpad. In any case, who appears like connecting and disconnecting six or seven cables a number of instances a day to make the most of exterior screens and peripherals? 

Now, think about in case you may full all the similar hook-ups, even energy, by connecting one, single cable. On this new world of distributed work eventualities we now dwell in, that form of comfort can revolutionize your workflow. 

Extra: Which is best, USB-C 3.1 gen 2 or Thunderbolt?

The primary, most essential factor you possibly can know concerning the Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock is its expansive port choice. This is likely one of the two predominant differentiators between the numerous Thunderbolt docks in the marketplace. We’ll cowl the opposite a bit additional down. 

Discovering the correct docking station boils all the way down to your wants, together with what peripherals you need to use, what number of of every you personal, and what connections your screens and peripherals require. It will decide if this mannequin is best for you, or if one other would higher fit your setup. To make this simple for you, I’ve included bulleted lists beneath. 

Frontside ports

Front of Accell's Thunderbolt 4 dock

All ports are listed beneath, left to proper. The tiny dot on the acute proper is an indicator LED

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

  • SD 4.0 UHS-II card reader slot
  • USB 2.0 Kind A port
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Upstream / Supply Thunderbolt 4 port with 96W of energy supply (PD) – That is the place you may plug in your laptop computer

Bottom ports

Rear view of Accell's Thunderbolt 4 dock

The ports are properly spaced to forestall bigger connectors and dongles from interfering with adjoining inputs

Michael Gariffo

  • Energy in (from provided energy brick, proven beneath)
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • DisplayPort 1.4 port
  • 3 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Kind A ports
  • Gigabit Ethernet port

This does not signify the widest port choice out there at this value level, however it ought to cowl the overwhelming majority of customers’ wants. That is very true if one of many shows you may be connecting helps video over Thunderbolt, as both of the included Thunderbolt 4 ports can output your PC’s video to exterior shows.

Extra: Finest monitor 2022: Deal with your self with a beautiful display

The 96W of supported energy supply means this tiny dock also needs to be capable of high up all however probably the most power-hungry laptop computer, so long as they help charging by way of Thunderbolt. 

Accessories included with Accell's Thunderbolt 4 dock

Left to proper: energy adapter (that energy brick’s almost as huge as, and heavier than, the dock itself), Euro Plug energy cable, US energy cable, and Thunderbolt 4 cable

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

This all implies that you can join a laptop computer to a triple-monitor setup (together with the laptop computer’s personal show), with an exterior keyboard and mouse, and nonetheless have sufficient room for issues like USB-connected printers or webcams, in addition to analog audio gear…all by plugging in that single, included Thunderbolt 4 cable. 

I examined this situation utilizing a late mannequin Lenovo ThinkPad and an older mannequin Alienware gaming laptop computer. All screens, peripherals, and linked gear functioned completely and took solely seconds to completely join. The setup additionally included two 4K shows, one linked by way of DisplayPort and the opposite by way of Thunderbolt cable. The Accell dock helps a single 8K (at 30Hz) show, however I did not have one useful to check this with. 

Extra: The 5 finest 8K TVs: Future-proof your own home theater

There is a catch

In brief, all of it “simply works,” and works nicely…so long as you are utilizing a Home windows-based PC. To be clear, every little thing however show outputs labored completely nicely on Macs too. However, there is a caveat relating to exterior screens. That is the place the second of the large issues I would advise you to research when looking for a Thunderbolt dock is available in: whether or not or not it helps DisplayLink. 

The DisplayLink logo

Docks that help DisplayLink will typically both present this brand someplace of their help literature, or will particularly word it on the system itself

DisplayLink

You’ll be able to consider DisplayLink as a method so as to add additional exterior shows to a PC by making a software-based GPU, or video card. This virtualized {hardware} makes it doable to exceed the utmost variety of shows your PC may usually help. 

This has turn into so essential just lately due to Apple. The corporate’s M1 and M2-based MacBooks solely help a single exterior show. In case you join the Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock, you possibly can nonetheless use a single DisplayPort OR Thunderbolt 4 show. Nonetheless, trying so as to add a second monitor will disable the primary. 

Extra: The right way to join a second Thunderbolt monitor to your M1 Mac Mini

This, to be clear, is a limitation of Apple’s {hardware}, not Accell’s. Nonetheless, there are comparably priced Thunderbolt docks that do supply DisplayPort and can assist you to add a couple of exterior show to an M1 or M2-based MacBook. This dock, sadly, is not going to. Accell itself notes this in its tech specs.

In fact, In case you’re a Home windows PC person DisplayLink is much less very important. Additionally, in case you personal a MacBook utilizing an M1 Professional or M1 Max chip (which helps two and 4 exterior shows, respectively), it’ll doubtless be pointless. However, given the huge recognition of the M1 and M2 MacBook air fashions, it is one thing all Thunderbolt dock customers ought to learn about.

Backside line

In the end, the Accell Thunderbolt 4 dock is a high-quality possibility for customers with the correct working system and wishes, however it’s not one thing I can advocate for all customers, and I would advise MacBook house owners to go for one thing else. For them, cheaper, DisplayLink-equipped choices would doubtless be a more sensible choice. 

Shopping for data: If the Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock appears like a great answer in your state of affairs and the specifical peripherals you utilize, you should buy it at Amazon.com for $300 proper now

Extra: The 13 finest laptop computer docking stations of 2022



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