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This 16-port dream dock belongs on every creative pro's desk

Does Satechi's Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro dock live up to the hype? Yes, yes it does.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro Dock
Adrian Kingsley-HughesZDNET

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.

Also: This is the first app I install on every new Mac

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.

How many ports? 16 in all, that's how many. 

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Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro Dock specs

  • 2x DisplayPort
  • 2x HDMI 2.1
  • 1x Thunderbolt 4 to host
  • 1x USB-C 3.2 10Gbps
  • 5x USB-A 3.2 (3x 10Gbps, 2x 5Gbps)
  • 1x USB 2.0 for charging up to 7.5W
  • SD and microSD card slots
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack In/Out
  • Ethernet 2.5Gbps
  • Kensington Lock
  • DC 20V main power (included)
  • Size: 195 x 105 x 47mm
  • Weight: 693 grams 

I've been eager to get my hands on this dock and test it because I come across a lot of these high-end docks that look good on paper, but fall short when you push them hard.

I've seen docks that seem to work well when you test the ports singly, but performance drops through the floor when you attach multiple devices to it.

Also: The best laptop docking stations to upgrade your work-from-home setup

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. 

Front ports on the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro

Front ports on the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

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.

It performed flawlessly.

Also: Traveling soon? Take this 6-port charger with you

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. 

Rear ports on the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro

Rear ports on the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

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. 

Also: If 'everything but the kitchen sink' was a laptop accessory, this would be it

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.

Hand on Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro

The weight of the Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Multimedia Pro works to its advantage.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

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.

Also: This 3-in-1 MagSafe dock will charge your Apple devices while keeping them cool

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.

It really is the dock of my dreams. 

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