When Apple launched the 2021 MacBook Pro in October we were impressed by (among other things) the array of ports available on these powerful new machines. In our 14-inch MacBook Pro 2021 review we lauded it for offering more than just a few USB-C ports, and with good reason: if your laptop is your primary work machine you need to be able to use all your accessories with it, and most of us hate dealing with adapters and dongles.
If you need more ports than the 2021 MacBook Pros offer, Satechi's got you covered with a new Thunderbolt 4 docking station designed specifically for MacBook Pros. It's available for purchase today alongside a few other Mac adapters from Satechi, a peripheral manufacturer based out of San Diego.
The big headliner is the afore-mentioned Thunderbolt 4 Dock, which is on sale now via Satechi's website (opens in new tab) and retailers like Best Buy (opens in new tab) for $299. That's a significant chunk of change to drop for a docking station, but if you want to make your MacBook Pro the center of a pro-level workstation the Thunderbolt 4 Dock has the ports to help make it happen. Check out the specs:
Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock specs
- 1 x Thunderbolt 4 host port w/ 96W power delivery
- 3 x USB-C/Thunderbolt 4 ports (up to 40 Gbps)
- 3 x USB-A 3.2 ports (up to 10 Gbps)
- 1 x USB-A 2.0 port
- Gigabit Ethernet
- UHS-II SD card reader
- 3.5mm headphone/microphone port
- Kensington lock slot
- Removeable power adapter
- Thunderbolt 4/USB-C cable included
- Price: $299
Compatible with: 2016-2021 MacBook Pros, 2020 MacBook Air, 2018 MacBook Air, 2021 iMac M1, 2019/2017 iMacs, iMac Pro, 2021 iPad Pro, 2020/2018 iPad Pro, 2020 iPad Air.
As you can see, Satechi's Thunderbolt 4 Dock answers one of our chief concerns about the 2021 MacBook Pro: no USB-A ports. Sure, USB-C is the standard now, but so many of us still have USB-A accessories that it's nice when device makers throw in a USB-A port. The Thunderbolt 4 Dock gives you four of them, one USB-A 2.0 (chiefly for charging older USB-A devices) and three faster USB-A 3.2 ports that support data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps.
Still, we would have liked to see Satechi include a UHS-III SD card reader instead of the UHS-II model included here. Obviously if you have an older MacBook the Thunderbolt 4 Dock's SD card reader will be a welcome addition, but the new 2021 MacBook Pros already have SD card readers which support the UHS-II format. The UHS-III format is faster, and admittedly you would need a UHS-III SD card to really take advantage of a UHS-III SD card reader — but that's exactly the kind of equipment that only professional photographers and videographer invest in.
You'll note that there are no HDMI outs on this dock, just Thunderbolt 4 ports, so if you want to use it with an external monitor or two you'll need to use displays that connect via Thunderbolt 4 or USB-C.
If you'd prefer a smaller, cheaper option for expanding your laptop's port options that also offers HDMI, Satechi has two other USB-C adapters also launching today for under $200.
The more expensive one, a USB-C Multiport MX adapter, is available for $179 from Satechi's website (opens in new tab) — though until December 9th you can get 20% off by using the code HUBS20 at checkout. It offers dual HDMI ports capable of outputting at up to 4K (though you'll need to install special software to use both at once), with one offering refresh rates of up to 60Hz and the other 30Hz. It also sports a USB-C port for charging (at up to 100W), another for data transfer (at speeds up to 5 Gbps), and 2 USB-A 3.0 ports with data transfer speeds of up to 5 Gbps.
The USB-C Multiport MX adapter also has a Gigabit Ethernet port, a 3.5mm audio hack and a pair of card readers, one for SD card and the other for microSD cards. However, note that the way they're stacked together makes it impossible to use both card readers at once.
You can also now get the USB-C Multimedia Adapter M1 from Satechi's website (opens in new tab) for $149, though again you can use the code HUBS20 until 12/9 to take 20% off. It also offers dual HDMI ports with 4K support, one supporting 60Hz while the second does just 30Hz. It has the same pair of USB-C ports (one optimized for fast transfers, the other for fast charging) as its more expensive sibling, as well as the same pair of USB-A 3.0 ports. However, with this cheaper adapter you don't get the dual microSD/SD card readers or the Gigabit Ethernet jack, and its USB-C charging port only offers up to 85 W.