Price (RRP): $Arounhd 400
The Kensington SD4800P is a Windows 10 USB-C dock that supports up to three monitors, 60W USB PD and a massive 135W charger.
Kensington is a PC/Mac accessory maker, and its range of docks are impressive. Normally these work with Mac or PC but the SD4800P uses tech only found in the Windows supports Multi-Stream Transport (MST). It does not require drivers or display software.
Why a dock?
Most modern PC laptops now come with USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (5Gbps), some have USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps), and more recent ones have Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps).
This interface transmits data, audio, video (called altDP) and power (called Power Delivery) in the one cable. As it is USB-C, the cable is 1m instead of the usual .5m passive Thunderbolt cable.
A dock remains on your desk allowing monitors, mice, keyboards, phone charge cables and flash drives to remain connected when you remove the laptop.
Review: Kensington SD4800P USB-C dock
Its unique selling proposition is that it supports up to three monitors – and it can. But there are a few caveats – no deal breakers.
- Single monitor: 3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz (it supports a single [email protected] in 4-lane mode) off the HDMI 2.0 port
- Dual monitors: 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz (it supports dual UW 2560 x 1440 or [email protected] and one UW in 4-lane mode) using the dual DisplayPorts
- Triple monitors: 1600 x 900 (it supports three [email protected] in 4-lane mode)
You do need to be careful as most Intel CPU/Graphics chipsets only support three monitors, and some cannot sustain bandwidth. That may mean you need to close the lid on a laptop.
Four-lane versus two-lane – video boost
There is a switch under the dock that allows you to select 2 or 4 lane. As best as we can figure out 2-lane is it can take bandwidth from the Gigabit Ethernet Port to 100Mbps and lower USB-A 3.1 speeds from 5GBps to USB 2.0 480Mbps. As all the dock ports share the source bandwidth, this makes sense.
In practice, we experienced no issues driving 2 x [email protected] monitors off the dual DisplayPort 1.3 in 2-lane mode.
The power brock supplies 20V/6.75A (135) as follows
- USB-C 60W upstream PD 3.0 (50-20V/3A) which supports many ultralight and laptops
- Four rear USB-A 3.0 5Gbps ports 5V/.9A
- One front USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps port 5V/2.4A
- One front USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps port 5V/3A
We tested using a Huawei MateX Pro that has both a Thunderbolt 3 and a USB-C Gen 2 port.
We tested using an external USB-C SATA6 SSD and a variety of USB-A devices. Throughput was as good as using these on a Thunderbolt 3 dock – there were no bottlenecks.
It is impressive to have 5V/3A to also power external devices like a portable hard disk, and a video capture dongle.
Ethernet was rock solid at 996Mbps and in 4-lane mode at 100Mbps.