Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4 feature

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Ever since reviewing the Ugreen 9 in 1 USB-C Docking Station I have become a bit obsessed with docking stations and USB cables.

In that review, I expressed my frustration at the lack of premium options that fit my needs.

One of the issues I have with USB-C docks is that they all use gigabit Ethernet when there is an included Ethernet port.

To me, this seems ridiculous when you are spending £150+ on a docking station, considering you can pick up a 2.5Gbps USB-C Ethernet adaptor for as little as £25 from a reputable brand like Anker.

Consider Buying Separate Devices

If you landed on this blog post, you are likely specifically wanting a dock with 2.5gbps Ethernet and not separate products.

One issue with an all-in-one product is that all the recommendations below are very expensive. If you need all the features that they offer, then they may be worth it, but quite likely, it won’t be economical.

For me, I don’t have Thunderbolt on my PC as I am running an AMD-based system, so paying the premium for a Thunderbolt docking station is perhaps not the most logical of ideas. I don’t even have USB4 on my machine, so I can’t make use of the 40Gbps throughput anyway.

Best USB-C Docks with 2.5gbps Ethernet

Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4

Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4

Ports:

  • 18 ports in total
  • One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 98W)
  • Two downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
  • One DisplayPort 1.4 video port
  • Five USB-A ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
  • One USB-C port (10Gbps, 20W)
  • Two USB-C ports (10Gbps, 7.5W)
  • 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
  • UHS-II SD and microSD card readers (320MBps)
  • 3.5mm combo audio jack (front)
  • 3.5mm Audio In and Audio Out ports (back)
  • 230W DC port power supply

This is the most expensive option and also the best. This is very much a desktop docking station. It is a bit too big to take away with you.

With a total of 18 ports, this should cover most people’s needs.

The upstream TB port can do 98W power delivery, so it should be good enough for most devices. Considering the power supply can do 230W, I would have liked to see a higher power output on the two downstream ports, but I guess they left plenty of headroom for all the other devices you may have connected.

For the display output, Windows users can connect a single monitor up to 8K resolution. macOS users can connect a single display up to 6K 60Hz. For anyone looking to add dual displays, Windows users can connect up to dual 4K 60Hz monitors. Users on M1 Pro & M1 Max can connect up to dual 6K 60Hz displays, whilst users on Intel-based Macs can connect up to dual 4K 60Hz displays. Users on original M1 Macs are limited to a single display only.

OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock

OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock

Ports:

  • 11 ports in total
  • One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 90W)
  • Two downstream Thunderbolt 4 ports (40Gbps, 15W)
  • HDMI 2.1 video port
  • Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 10W)
  • One USB-A port (480MBps, 7.5W)
  • One USB-C port (10Gbps, 15W)
  • 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
  • UHS-II SD and microSD card readers (320MBps)
  • 3.5mm combo audio jack (front)
  • 120W power supply (built in, figure of eight cable)

Not much cheaper than the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4, this has fewer ports. The Caldigit padded out its ports with lots of USB-A ports, so if you don’t need loads of them, then this may be suited to your needs.

The main advantage that this dock has is that it has a PSU built in and is a reasonably portable size and shape. So you can commute with it without too much bulk added to your bag.

Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Display Docking Station

No products found.

Plugable Thunderbolt 4

Ports:

  • 12 ports in total
  • One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 98W)
  • Two DisplayPort 1.2 video ports
  • Two HDMI 2.0 video ports
  • Three USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)
  • Two USB-A ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)
  • One USB-A ports (480MBbps, 7.5W)
  • One USB-C port (10Gbps, 7.5W)
  • 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
  • UHS-II SD and microSD card readers (320MBps)
  • 3.5mm combo audio jack (front)
  • 135W power supply

This is the same price as the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4. It is a bit disappointing that there is only one USB-C downstream port and this is limited to 10Gbps. However, this is better equipped for displays with two DisplayPort 1.2 video ports and two HDMI 2.0 video ports, allowing 4x 4K 60Hz screens for Windows machines.

On Mac (Intel, M1 Pro/Max CPU), extend your desktop to 2x screens using any combination of HDMI and/or DisplayPort. Macs with an M1 or M2 CPU only support one external display.

Satechi USB4 Multiport Adapter with 2.5 Ethernet

Satechi USB4

Ports:

  • 7 ports in total
  • One USB-C 4 upstream port
  • One HDMI 2.1 – up to 8K/60Hz (4K/60Hz on Mac)
  • One USB-A 3.2 – up to 10Gbps (No Charging/Video Output)
  • One USB-C 3.2 – up to 10Gbps & 100W PD (No Video Output)
  • One USB-C 3.2 – up to 10Gbps (No Charging/Video Output)
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet

This one is quite unique as it is one of the only USB4 hubs I can find. Everything else is Thunderbolt. This could also be why it is considerably cheaper than the previously mentioned options.

This is also the only option on the list that does not have a dedicated power supply, it will draw power from your PC/laptop, or you can supply power via the 100W USB-C 3.2 input/output port. I am fond of this design as it is ideal for laptops and reduces the cables and adaptors you need to carry around.

Overall

At the moment, the range of options is very limited, which is why I suggested that getting separate devices would be more logical. Plugable and Anker both have 2.5GbE USB-C adaptors for around £30. Cable Matters has one with a 100W PD port for charging for just £38.

That being said, I think the Satechi USB4 Multiport Adapter seems like good value for money. At the time of writing, it was £135, with a 20% off voucher taking it down to £108.

If you have Thunderbolt and want something specifically for desktop docking, then the Caldigit Thunderbolt Station 4 is likely your best option.

Last update on 2024-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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