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Microsoft today announced the new Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock, a $300 multi-purpose accessory that fulfills laptop and computer users' desires to connect to virtually any office-essential port -- so long as SD card slot, DisplayPort, and HDMI are not on that list.
Also: Your MacBook Air needs this slim, lightweight hub
The 8-in-1 dock features two USB-A (3.1 Gen 2), two USB-C (Thunderbolt 4), one Ethernet (2.5Gbps), one 3.5mm audio jack, and one security lock (Kensington compatible) on the rear, and USB-A (3.1 Gen 2) and USB-C (Thunderbolt 4) ports on the front. That means users can quickly plug in a flash drive, USB dongle, or smartphone without needing to crawl behind their workstations and risk pulling a muscle (just me?).
Thanks to the Thunderbolt 4 support, the dock can simultaneously charge both your computer (up to 96W) and its connected peripherals with the 165W power supply. It gives users the ability to connect their systems with up to two 4K monitors at 60Hz, too.
One important change with the new accessory is the removal of the Surface Connect Port, a proprietary charging connector on Surface computers since 2014. This means that, theoretically, one can charge and use the dock with non-Microsoft systems like the MacBook Air or any other laptop designed with the idea that two USB ports are all that's needed to survive the hybrid era of work.
Also: This pocket-sized dock transforms your laptop into an entire workstation
The Surface Thunderbolt 4 Dock costs $300, which is not cheap for an extension hub, but only if you're comparing it to ones that don't support the latest USB-C technology. Compared to similar-functioning alternatives by Anker and Accell, the Microsoft hub is similarly priced and another fanciful option for users who value more ports and connections.