July 14, 2020

These Kensington docking stations can help overcome the lack-of-ports blues

These Kensington docking stations can help overcome the lack-of-ports blues

If you have a recent Mac laptop, you probably lament the dearth of ports. If so, Kensington has released a couple of new products that can make your life easier.

The US$279.99 SD5300T Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps Dual 4K Dock w/SD Card Reader is my favorite thanks to its plethora of ports. You can connect external monitors, USB drives, NAS, a keyboard, mouse, Gigabit Ethernet, etc. I use a 16-inch MacBook Pro connected to an external monitor, so the SD5500% makes it easy to have a  desktop workstation through a single TB3/USB-C port. 

These Kensington docking stations can help overcome the lack-of-ports blues

As you might guess from its name, it’s a Thunderbolt 3 dock with a SD Card reader that works with macOS 10.14 and later). It supports Dual 4K Ultra HD (4096 x 2160 30-bit color @ 60 Hz) or 5K 60fps to a single monitor.

One Thunderbolt 3 port connects to the laptop. The SD5300T sports one HDMI 2 0 port and one 15W USB-C port and can deliver video to a second monitor using the included USB-C to HDMI Adapter. It also boasts the aforementioned SD 3 0 UHS-I card reader,  five USB-A 3 1 ports, a  Gigabit Ethernet port 3 5mm headphone/speaker and microphone combo jack, as well as a Kensington Lock slot.

The SD5300T’s 135 watt power supply delivers 60W power that can charge your Mac laptop via Power Delivery 3.0. The computer must be designed to support Power Delivery).

If you’re unfamiliar with it, Power Delivery (PD) is a charging standard that allows a charger to output higher currents and higher voltages, allowing you to charge your smartphone or laptop from 0% to 100% in a shorter time. It’s the only charging standard that can charge a laptop.

If you don’t need all those features, or wish for something smaller, there’s the SD2400T Thunderbolt 3 40Gbps Dual 4K Nano Dock. It’s also $279.99, but is more compact than the SD5300T, if that matters to you. It’s a TAA-compliant dock that supports single 5K or dual 4K monitors, provides 85W of power delivery, and incorporates 3 USB-A and one USB-C port.

These Kensington docking stations can help overcome the lack-of-ports blues

(TAA compliance requires that products originate from the U.S.or another approved country. If you’re not providing products for government agencies, this won’t matter too much to you.)

The Nano Dock provides a total bandwidth of 40Gbps for data, video and audio providing a plug and play experience with a single cable. You can mount it to the back of any 75mm or 100mm VESA compatible external display to save some desktop space. Conveniently, you can power the dock on or off with the push of a button.

I prefer the SD5300T as I feel it offers more bang for the buck, but for a lot of folks the Nano Dock will provide a nice measure of power and portability.

DS5300T: Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★★

Nano Dock: Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★★

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