Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock: lightning fast (review)

By connecting a desk full of bandwidth-consuming peripherals with a single cable, the Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock satisfies the need for speed.

Even before the pandemic forced us all to work from home, a dock was a convenient way to move a notebook computer between desks without having to unplug a whole tangle of cables. The dock sits on your desk and is connected to everything from your monitor, keyboard and mouse to your desktop printer, external storage, Ethernet cable and AC power. Simply connect the dock to your notebook with a single cable and you’re ready to work or play.

With the rise of the “hybrid office,” as people move from home to the office during the week, a desktop dock is more useful than ever. Wherever you are, just plug in the single cable and you’re good to go.

USB docks have been around for years and initially only support simple devices like keyboards and mice. Upgrades to faster connection standards allow them to support more concurrent devices. Thunderbolt 4 is today’s speed king: Using a USB-C plug, it offers 40 Gbps bi-directional bandwidth and PCIe data transfer rates of 32 Gbps. In other words, it’s the only connection to master them all – you can connect everything except the sink and it won’t skip a beat.

Review: Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock

Australian website here
Price $429 MSRP
Guarantee 3 years
Other You can read other GadgetGuy Dynabook news and reviews here

First impression

The Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock takes up some space on your desk, although that’s to be expected when it packs in so many ports. The sleek black design means it won’t look too out of place and there’s a security lock on the side to ensure it stays in place while you’re elsewhere.

The fact that everything connects to your notebook with a single cable definitely helps reduce the cable clutter on your desk. The upstream Thunderbolt 4 port is located on the back to keep cables out of sight.

While there are a plethora of ports on the back, you’ll also find USB-A, USB-C and audio ports on the front, along with an SD card slot. This makes life a lot easier when you have to connect extra devices.

The dock also comes with a hefty AC power adapter, which you should get out of the way. Thanks to the AC adapter, the dock can supply up to 90 watts of power to the connected notebook, which depending on the notebook may be enough to support fast charging.

The trade-off is that, unlike some USB-C hubs, the dock relies entirely on AC power. It’s not a passive hub, and you can’t even plug the upstream Thunderbolt 4 port into an AC adapter instead of the included AC adapter. That’s not unreasonable, considering it’s a bit hefty to throw in your travel bag.

As a Thunderbolt 4 device, it is compatible with Windows and Mac. Thunderbolt 4 connectors are available in high-end notebooks and desktops from a range of brands, including Apple’s 2021 MacBook Pro and 2022 Mac Studio. Thunderbolt 4 uses a standard USB-C port and is backwards compatible with older USB standards.

Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock Specifications

Thunderbolt ports Thunderbolt 4 USB-C x2 – 1 downstream (DFP) and 1 upstream (UFP)
USB ports USB-A 3.2 x4, USB-C 3.2 x2
Multimedia ports SD card reader, combo 3.5mm audio jack
Network ports Gigabit LAN
Video ports HDMI 2.0 x2, DisplayPort 1.4 x2
Video resolution up to 8K
Supported Displays up to 4
Power supplied up to 90 W
Dimensions 245mm x 85mm x 30mm

Functions

You really are spoiled for choice when it comes to connectivity. For starters, there are upstream and downstream Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports on the back that allow you to daisy-chain other Thunderbolt devices. Depending on the number of Thunderbolt devices on your desk, you may be disappointed that there is only one downstream port.

Dynabook includes a nice long 75cm Thunderbolt 4 compatible cable in the box, making it easier to tuck the dock away while still having access to a notebook on your desk.

There are also three USB-A 3.2 ports on the back and one on the front, accompanied by two USB-C 3.2 ports on the front. Meanwhile, Gigabit LAN automatically brings you online. Combined, they should support the needs of even the most complicated desktop configuration.

If you work with multimedia, you’ll appreciate the easy access to the front SD card slot and combo audio jack.

The standout feature is, of course, all those video ports: two HDMI 2.0 ports and two DisplayPort 1.4 ports. You can mix and match to connect up to four monitors, supporting up to 8K resolution. The additional bandwidth of Thunderbolt 4 supports up to 60 Hz refresh rates at 4K.

It is worth noting that the configuration for connecting external displays differs between Windows and Mac. To connect two external displays, some Mac users have to rely on one HDMI port and the downstream Thunderbolt 4 port, which doesn’t leave that port free for other tasks. Even then, it depends on which Mac you have, so it’s important to do your homework.

If you use the Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock in the office, your IT team will appreciate the ability to better manage devices thanks to Wake-on-LAN and PXE Boot, although the latter is only supported on Dynabook laptops.

GadgetGuy’s take

The Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock is one with a lot, but to be honest, it’s overkill for most people’s needs. It’s not cheap, and to justify the cost you need to make the most of Thunderbolt 4 speeds, which probably means using more than one monitor with a resolution of 4K or higher.

If you don’t need all those video ports, you might prefer a dock with more Thunderbolt 4 ports. If you want to put all those video ports to good use, with an array of 4K and 8K monitors on your desk, this might be the Thunderbolt 4 dock you’re looking for.

Would I buy it?

Yes, but only if I really needed all those video ports and I was sure my notebook would be able to use them.

Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock: lightning fast (review)

With blazing-fast connection speeds and a wealth of video ports, the Dynabook Thunderbolt 4 Dock would be the perfect addition to some desks.

Positives

Lightning strike 4

USB air conditioner 3.2

Supports up to four monitors

negatives

Expensive

Only one downstream Thunderbolt 4 port

Needs AC power