Kensington's $350 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Features 'Zero Footprint' Mounting, Security Lock Slot

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We've already taken a look at several of the Thunderbolt 3 docks all coming to the market right around the same time, and popular enterprise accessory company Kensington is getting into the mix today with the launch of the SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, the company's first foray into Thunderbolt peripherals. Priced at $349.99, Kensington's dock is similar to many of the other options on the market with a horizontal design and an array of ports, as well as a full 85 watts of charging power to support even the 15-inch MacBook Pro over a single-cable connection.


The SD5000T offers a number of port options, including dual Thunderbolt 3 ports to enable pass-through connections, a DisplayPort port for additional display connectivity, separate audio in and out ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. With the DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 ports and any necessary adapters such as for HDMI or DVI, the SD5000T supports up to dual 4K external displays.


As for USB, the dock includes one Type-A and one Type-C port on the front and one Type-A port on the rear, all running at 5 Gbps. We'd like to see a couple more USB ports on there for greater expansion possibilities, but three is pretty standard for these types of docks. The USB ports also do not support standalone charging, so a connected computer will need to be on in order for peripherals to charge via the dock. The front USB Type-A port does, however, support up to 2.1 amps for fast charging, while the USB Type-C port offers up to 15 watts of power to drive bus-powered peripherals.


Kensington is famous for its ubiquitous security cables to help keep expensive electronics from walking away, and so it's probably unsurprising that even the company's Thunderbolt 3 dock includes a lock slot to accommodate a security cable. It's a unique feature that should appeal to corporate customers looking to secure their employees' accessories around the workplace.

VESA mounting position options

In another nice touch, the SD5000T supports optional "Zero Footprint Mounting," which uses a mounting accessory (sold separately) to attach the dock to the rear of 75 mm or 100 mm VESA-compatible external displays. The mounting system gets the dock up and out of the way from the user's desk, and while it makes it a bit more difficult to connect and disconnect accessories in some orientations, once you have your setup in place it should help keep things looking neater.


While Kensington is targeting its existing primary enterprise user base with the SD5000T, the company tells MacRumors that given the popularity of docking stations across all users it is also looking to appeal to consumers, with retailers like Amazon and B&H Photo stocking the dock.

The SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is launching today, and Kensington says it will begin shipping out orders later this week.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and B&H and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.

Article Link: Kensington's $350 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Features 'Zero Footprint' Mounting, Security Lock Slot
 

KernelG

macrumors member
Feb 8, 2008
38
83
SF Bay Area, CA
The CalDigit TB3 has finally shipped, and it seems better in just about every way, including price.

Sadly, the OWC TB3 Dock is still sitting in limbo.
 

theluggage

macrumors 601
Jul 29, 2011
4,651
3,475
Nice way to add another $350 to the price of your brand new Mac
If you just want charging + ports for your "legacy" (as they're called inside the Apple reality distortion field) devices and a single standard-res display then a USB-C dock/hub at half the price (or less) will probably meet your requirements.

However, the wheels start to come off those when you want to use dual screens, 4k or 5k displays - dual display over USB-C doesn't work on Mac, 4k@60Hz only leaves enough bandwidth for USB 2 devices and 5k is a non-starter under USB-C at the moment. That's when you need to fork out for a TB3 dock.

Or, suffer the indignity of having to plug in two cables...
 

dmylrea

macrumors 68030
Sep 27, 2005
2,910
3,607
Seems like either there is copy-cat pricing amongst these tethered TB dock manufacturers or it is Apple-association price gouging. I think I had read that the TB royalty cost had been eliminated making it cheaper for TB docks, yet these prices for a dock are ridiculous. Take away the TB capability and you have a normal USB 3.0 dock which you can get from Dell for $199 ($140 on Amazon).

Price gouging, pure and simple.
 

RMo

macrumors 65816
Aug 7, 2007
1,219
215
Iowa, USA
Seems like either there is copy-cat pricing amongst these tethered TB dock manufacturers or it is Apple-association price gouging. I think I had read that the TB royalty cost had been eliminated making it cheaper for TB docks, yet these prices for a dock are ridiculous. Take away the TB capability and you have a normal USB 3.0 dock which you can get from Dell for $199 ($140 on Amazon).

Price gouging, pure and simple.
No, Intel will drop licensing costs next year, according to their press release: "...next year Intel plans to make the Thunderbolt protocol specification available to the industry under a nonexclusive, royalty-free license." I'm not sure if anyone has reported that it suddenly happened just now, but if sloppy reporting gave you that impression, it was not correct. I can't find any details on how much the licensing is, and I imagine it adds at least a little to the price, but I think it's important to note that Thunderbolt is more complicated than USB and will likely never be quite as cheap (though they're also working on that by integrating more into the processor rather than requiring a separate component as it does now, in addition to changing the licensing).

If a USB 3.x dock meets your needs (whether it uses a USB-C cable or otherwise), that's fine, but Thunderbolt docks can do more than is possible over even USB 3.x protocols.
 

Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
4,057
2,118
If you just want charging + ports for your "legacy" (as they're called inside the Apple reality distortion field) devices and a single standard-res display then a USB-C dock/hub at half the price (or less) will probably meet your requirements.

However, the wheels start to come off those when you want to use dual screens, 4k or 5k displays - dual display over USB-C doesn't work on Mac, 4k@60Hz only leaves enough bandwidth for USB 2 devices and 5k is a non-starter under USB-C at the moment. That's when you need to fork out for a TB3 dock.

Or, suffer the indignity of having to plug in two cables...
Anybody with a lot of legacy devices should check out the Thunderbolt 2 from OWC.
When on sale about $ 299.00.

I own 2 and these have been and still are great! Make sure to set preferences of energy saver properly to avoid wake up issues.
 

RMo

macrumors 65816
Aug 7, 2007
1,219
215
Iowa, USA
Anybody with a lot of legacy devices should check out the Thunderbolt 2 from OWC.
When on sale about $ 299.00.

I own 2 and these have been and still are great! Make sure to set preferences of energy saver properly to avoid wake up issues.
Please tell me more about how great they are; I got one in late 2015 and it kept randomly disconnecting and they seem to keep insisting it was it was the customers' (e.g., cables) or the Mac's fault, but luckily they have a two-year warranty. Mine hadn't expired yet so I contacted them a second time and they arranged for a replacement, which has been working well for me so far--but the old one would also appear to work well for small periods of time, I want to make sure I'm not alone here. :)

Assuming it continues to behave and I ever buy a TB3-only Mac, I hope it continues to work with the adapter. Otherwise, I hope TB3 docks are better than this one was for me at first.
 

Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
4,057
2,118
Please tell me more about how great they are; I got one in late 2015 and it kept randomly disconnecting and they seem to keep insisting it was it was the customers' (e.g., cables) or the Mac's fault, but luckily they have a two-year warranty. Mine hadn't expired yet so I contacted them a second time and they arranged for a replacement, which has been working well for me so far--but the old one would also appear to work well for small periods of time, I want to make sure I'm not alone here. :)

Assuming it continues to behave and I ever buy a TB3-only Mac, I hope it continues to work with the adapter. Otherwise, I hope TB3 docks are better than this one was for me at first.
My units have been very good . I like that OWC responds relatively fast to customer inquiries and keep trying if the problems are not resolved. Got a free cable replacement too, just in case that was the issue.
Important to always have the latest firmware updates installed.

I do have one issue trying to print US labels on a Mac via a Zebra printer, but the convoluted way UPS has this set up is probably at fault. Run Safari in Unsafe mode and trust, but that setting doesn't stick.
I have to switch the Zebra Printer off and on to print.
 

itsamacthing

macrumors 6502a
Sep 26, 2011
859
475
Bangkok
Unfortunately the OWC dock only charges at 65W, which they do not advertise and is a mega flaw as far as I can concerned. The docks that are correctly designed will charge at 85W.. like the Kensington.

I want to get a 34/38 inch ultra wide monitor to go along with my 2017 MBP, since it's hard to find the dream one with Thunderbolt 3 and legacy ports built in, I think I might get this dock and the Dell U3415W. It's a well respected monitor, has vesa mount for this dock and I get all my boxes ticked...
 
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