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One thing that every creative professional seems to be craving is more ports. They want to kit out their system with a plethora of ports so they can have multiple displays, SD and microSD card readers, Ethernet, and so many USB-A and USB-C ports that they'll never need to hot-swap a device.
This is where docks come into play, and Satechi makes some of the best docks available.
A dock that I've been very eager to test is the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro. This dock has its own power supply and a wide array of ports. It's also been designed with creative professionals in mind.
For instance, I've seen docks suffering network dropouts, display issues, and device disconnections when they're pushed hard. I've even had some crash and require disconnection from power to bring them back to life.
Given the pro-grade claims made by Satechi, along with the pro-grade price, I was keen to see how the Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro performed under a heavy load.
Here's a dock that works just as well with one device attached as it does with a dozen. I connected monitors, external drives, and dongles, all while pushing a lot of data through the Ethernet port, and it didn't break a sweat.
And it could sustain this sort of workload for hours.
This dock has the capacity to run up to four displays at 4K 60Hz. But just because the dock can, doesn't mean you should, as there are some caveats.
Now, that "up to" is important because it does come with limitations. Windows PCs support up to four screens in extended mode because it has support for Multi-Stream Transport (MST).
For Mac users, things are a little more limited. Macs that support Single Stream Transport (SST) can output video in extended mode to two screens and mirror the other two. M1 and M2 Macs only support one external monitor, meaning only one single video group can be used at a time with output to one screen in extended mode and one screen in mirror mode.
Another feature I like about this dock is that it sits nicely on a desk. A lot of docks are lightweight, and while this itself isn't a sign of poor quality, I find that once you have a bunch of cables and devices attached, the dock no longer sits on the desk. It's either levitating oddly, held up by the stiffness of the cables, or being dragged around.
This Satechi dock has a lot of gravity to it, and its 1.5 pounds of weight combined with the rubber feet keep it planted on the desk. I also like that its power is supplied by a power adapter rather than a mains cord because mains cables can be thick and unyielding.
Also, having the power supply separate keeps the unit running cooler. This is a bonus because it not only stops the dock from roasting your desktop but also helps prevent unnecessary thermal wear and tear and instabilities that overheating causes.
At $350, the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro is a dock for professionals needing pro-grade hardware, and it's hardware that lives up to that "pro" tag. Home users can get away with the more modest Satechi Slim Multiport Adapter (which is 30% off right now) but if you rely on your dock and need something that's going to perform reliably no matter what you throw at it, this is the dock for you.
The more I use this dock, the more I feel that it belongs on every creative professional's desk.