The Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station (With 98W Charging) is a reputation so lengthy and arduous to jot down that I really feel sorry you needed to learn it. So, any longer, we’ll name it by its shorter and by some means equally as unflattering product title, the TBT4-UDZ.
The Plugable TBT4-UDZ provides a staggering quantity of ports and energy to your setup. Not all of its energy is reserved solely for the host machine both, because it additionally sports activities a ton of USB cost ports. If you happen to’ve acquired a budding want for a decked-out workstation or gaming setup, that is the sort of management heart you need on the coronary heart of it.
Plugable’s docking stations have routinely impressed us right here at Laptop computer Magazine, and the TBT4-UDZ doesn’t disappoint both. If you happen to’re ceaselessly quick on ports or in a pinch for energy this can line up as one of many finest laptop computer docking stations in the marketplace at the moment.
If you happen to’re extra of a tech nomad than a desk jockey, save your self the effort of lugging one thing as huge as Plugable’s Thunderbolt 4 dock round and check out our finest USB Sort-C hubs. Nonetheless, for now, let’s dive into Plugable’s newest dock providing.
Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station worth and availability
Pricing of a docking station is usually a jaded affair, however Plugable has blindsided me with critical worth for cash. The TBT4-UDZ has an MSRP of $419, however is at present on sale at simply $299 from Amazon, Newegg, and CDW.
That’s nice worth for cash when in comparison with similarly-specced choices like Targus’ $442.99 USB-C Common Quad 4K Docking Station, and CalDigit’s $399 Thunderbolt Station 4.
In truth, it’s solely $20 lower than the TBT4’s religious predecessor — Plugable’s USB-C Triple 4K Show Docking Station, whereas packing a ton of premium-tier upgrades.
Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station design
Plugable’s Thunderbolt 4 docking station doesn’t break new floor on the design entrance. It seems to be just about precisely like each different Plugable dock, solely extra premium with its anodized aluminum chassis.
This won’t be flashy or distinctive, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a substantial improve from the model’s all-plastic USB-C Triple 4K Show Docking Station which we lavished with reward and a 5 star evaluation again in 2022.
The chassis provides the dock a substantial heft of ~4lbs, 400g of which comes solely from the dock’s base stand. That’s proper, not solely have Plugable given this dock a full premium construct, nevertheless it may also be stood horizontally or laid vertically. One other a lot requested characteristic lacking from its predecessor.
The dock’s weight and base stand make it virtually unmovable within the face of day-to-day knocks and nudges when stood up, however its lack of any floor grip alongside the perimeters means it’s vulnerable to touring when laid flat. It’s not a deal breaker by any means, however a wierd oversight for an in any other case immaculately thought out dock.
You’ll discover ports organized throughout the back and front, reserving nearly all of the I/O you’re much less more likely to want entry to for the rear, whereas holding issues like card readers and some of the sooner, greater cost ports on the entrance.
I’m an enormous proponent of rear dealing with host ports. I like as few wires as attainable on present always, and those that do present? I need them neat. (Don’t fear, I’m getting assist for my points.) So I’m not an enormous fan of the TBT4-UDZ’s front-facing host port. Irrespective of how or the place I put the dock, I used to be left with a stray cable coiling round my desk. However I’m positive, it’s OK, I’m positive. I simply want to recollect to breathe by means of this. It’s positive. Actually.
Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station ports and connectivity
Plugable’s Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station options, unsurprisingly, a mixture of Thunderbolt 4, USB4, and 4 video ports. Surprising. In fact, there are extra ports accessible, 16 to be actual (15 as soon as the Thunderbolt host connection is established).
Fortunately somebody working at Plugable managed to cease the advertising workforce earlier than they regurgitated “Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Legacy Port SD Card Reader Headset Ethernet Docking Station.”
Check out the entrance of the dock and also you’ll be met with a useful energy button, a Thunderbolt 4 (40Gbps) host port with 98W of Energy Supply, a single 3.5mm combo audio jack, a USB 2.0 Sort-A (5Gbps, 7.5W cost) port, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps, 4.5W cost) port alongside a Micro SD and SD card reader.
Spinning Plugable’s dock round reveals an additional treasure trove of ports together with two USB 2.0 Sort-A (5Gbps, 7.5W cost) ports, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps, 4.5W cost) ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Sort-C (10Gbps, with Energy Supply) port, a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, two HDMI 2.0b ports (4K @ 60Hz), two DisplayPort 1.2 (4K @ 60Hz) outputs, and the dock’s DC in port – fueled by a commanding 135W PSU.
That could be a staggering quantity of ports to select from, and all of it however ensures that 99% of individuals’s wants can be met throughout even essentially the most demanding of computing setups. If there’s anybody factor to single out for critique from Plugable’s Thunderbolt docking station, it might be the distinct lack of any further Thunderbolt ports moreover that of the host connection.
That being mentioned, until you’re planning to arrange an eGPU or Thunderbolt-compatible seize gadget there’s a slim want for such issues. Clearly, Plugable has determined to give attention to the ports folks require most, and it has completed so in abundance.
Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station efficiency
All through the week, I did my damnedest to attempt to clog up each final port the TBT4-UDZ needed to supply, and Plugable’s dock chugged alongside as if it was designed for 5 instances the workload. It barely even acquired heat after days of continuous operating. Switch speeds had been top-notch, it saved a slew of gadgets charged, and all of my equipment accessible to me.
Sadly, I don’t have 4 4K screens available, so I couldn’t max out Plugable’s dock and put it to its limits. I do, nonetheless, have a monitor and TV, each 4K appropriate. So, I hooked these up as an alternative.
Naturally, the TBT4-UDZ remained unphased and I used to be granted two further UHD screens value of display screen actual property. I caught up on a few TV exhibits, I performed by means of my Steam library for an hour or two, and the whole lot ran easily. Not a single hitch, occasion of lag, or trace of delay. The Plugable’s docking station capabilities had been flawless.
That’s till you get to the TBT4-UDZ’s MicroSD card slot, which appears to be actively avoiding my finest efforts to feed something into it – like a toddler that’s simply realized the approaching airplane is nothing greater than a spoonful of mashed swede. Swede.
The tightness of the spring-loaded eject slot doesn’t assist issues both as my dainty information depot appears to crunch and grind with each failed try, as if this demonic opening had grown tooth and determined to gnaw away at my MicroSD’s connector pins.
God aid you in case your thumb slips throughout this course of like mine did. I used to be virtually shurikened because the tiny card rocketed again out of the TBT4-UDZ’s SD slot. Ever since then, I’ve been too afraid to go close to it, lest Plugable’s dock chews up my card and spits it again out at velocity – filling me stuffed with extra shrapnel than the underwear of a stripper who accepts suggestions in unfastened change.
Okay, that is likely to be just a little little bit of hyperbole. Sure, I did have points with the dock’s Micro SD reader. However I guarantee you that whereas it is demonic in its nature, it’s fairly toothless. I used to be in a position to keep away from the difficulty solely with an SD card adapter and utilizing the TBT4-UDZ’s utterly faultless SD card reader proper subsequent to the offending slot. I did return to the port, and I used to be in a position to match a card into it will definitely, nevertheless it was at all times a problem. A pointless problem.
It ought to let you know one thing that I needed to riff on one thing so small in stature to level out a weak spot within the in any other case impenetrable armor of Plugable’s dock. I attempted my finest to seek out fault in Plugable’s gadget. Nonetheless, other than right here, I used to be solely met with excellence on the finish of each try.
Plugable’s Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station (With 98W Charging) isn’t a flashy gadget. Its title alone might put extra folks to sleep than counting sheep. Nonetheless, in case you can keep awake, the TBT4-UDZ is definitely probably the greatest docking stations I’ve ever examined.
It excels in port choice, Energy Supply, cable administration, and worth — delivering the whole lot you’re in search of in a dock alongside competitor smashing worth. Final 12 months we awarded the TBT4-UDZ’s predecessor an ideal rating. Since then, Plugable has developed a dock that improves on it in each means attainable.
Nonetheless, recent adjustments go away openings for all-new points, and whereas the TBT4-UDZ has the occasional wrinkle to iron out, I don’t suppose there’s sufficient to take an excessive amount of away from Plugable’s unimaginable efforts.
For that motive, Plugable’s Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Show Docking Station isn’t simply standing on the shoulders of its predecessor, it’s an unimaginable product in and of itself – and finds itself a fraction of a means off of an equally unimaginable 5-star rating on this evaluation.
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