Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


This 12-in-1 Thunderbolt dock has a surprise power feature for Windows users

The Orico 12-in-1 Thunderbolt dock is geared for professionals and power users, with just about every port you can think of.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Orico 12-in-one Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Orico 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • The Orico 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock is available on Amazon for $340.
  • This fully-featured certified Thunderbolt 4 dock offers 8K support for Windows users, and every port a professional could want.
  • The dock turns down the volume on the host computer, which might not be what everyone wants, and the required power adapter is huge.

The switch to USB-C ports in modern laptop and desktop computer systems serves about 90% of users well. These individuals primarily use USB-C devices and have little need for HDMI or Ethernet ports. For professionals who require connections to a wired network, multiple displays, and a broad array of devices and storage options, however, relying on a couple of USB-C ports isn't enough.

Also: The best laptop docking stations you can buy

This is precisely where a high-end professional Thunderbolt 4 dock, like the Orico 12-in-1 dock, proves invaluable. Such a dock bridges the gap, offering the extensive connectivity professionals demand and ensuring seamless integration of all necessary peripherals and networks.

View at Amazon

Orico 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station tech specs

  • Transfer Rate: 40Gbps
  • Outputs:
    1 x USB-C PD 85W
    1 x USB-C PD 15W with daisy chain support
    1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps
    1 x USB-A 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps
    2 x USB-A 2.0 480Mbps
    1 x Gigabit Ethernet
    1 x SD card/microSD slot
    1 x 3.5mm combo jack
    1 x DisplayPort 8K3@30Hz/4K@60Hz
    1 x HDMI 8K@30Hz/4K@60Hz
  • OS Compatibility: Windows/macOS
  • Cable: USB-C to USB-C, 1 meter
  • Color: Silver
  • Material: Aluminum alloy and ABS 
  • Size: 180 x 87 x 26mm
  • Power: DC 20V 6.5A 130W

To properly test the dock, one must look beyond the spec sheet and verify whether everything performs as claimed. A significant part of my job is to ensure manufacturers remain truthful and to prevent them from exaggerating their marketing claims.

Also: What is Thunderbolt, and how is it different from USB-C?

I'm pleased to report that this dock passed with flying colors. The ports all offer the speeds and screen resolutions they promise, the dock is stable in use, and it remains pleasantly cool, even under heavy loads.

This dock, like every other one I review, undergoes extensive testing to make sure it delivers on what it promises

This dock, like every other one I review, undergoes extensive testing to make sure it delivers on what it promises.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

In many ways, I knew that I didn't need to test any of this because this is a certified Thunderbolt 4 dock. Anything that carries the Thunderbolt logo has been rigorously tested. However, as the old saying goes -- trust, but verify.

Ports on the front of the Orico 12-in-one Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports on the front of the Orico 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 dock

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Note that although this hardware supports dual displays through an HDMI port and a DisplayPort, Mac users equipped with the base M1/M2/M3 processors, as well as iPad Pro users, are limited to extending a single display. This restriction stems from Apple's limitations, rather than any constraints imposed by the Thunderbolt dock.

Also: The best network-attached storage devices you can buy

There are a couple of downsides to this dock. The first is that its power supply is massive. In fact, it's bigger and heavier than the dock itself, which essentially rules out its use as a portable dock.

Ports on the rear of the Orico 12-in-one Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Ports on the rear of the Orico 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 dock

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Another issue I encountered is that connecting the dock to a device automatically turns the volume down to zero. While I've come across docks that mute the audio when headphones are plugged in, it's unusual for this to happen consistently, regardless of the circumstances. Moreover, it's peculiar that it seems to lower the volume by actually turning it down, showing the on-screen prompt for volume adjustment every time you connect the dock to your system. Furthermore, if you try to turn the audio up, the dock will fight you and turn it down again.

The first couple of times that I connected this dock to my system, I was left wondering, "Hey, why is my volume low?" 

This is definitely not a deal breaker, but it's something worth knowing about.

ZDNET's buying advice

Most people will never need a dock, and of those who do, only a select few will require a Thunderbolt-certified dock. Those in pursuit of hardware that consistently delivers on its promises, however, investing in a high-end -- and that unfortunately means high-priced -- piece of equipment makes sense. 

For professionals such as photographers, videographers, 3D modelers, or audio engineers, opting for a certified piece of hardware is logical. In this context, the Orico 12-in-one Thunderbolt 4 dock stands out as an option that will not disappoint.

Editorial standards