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My impressions of the Kensington SD5780T Thunderbolt 4 Dual 4K Docking Station (2024)

My thoughts on the Kensington SD5780T: performance, compatibility, warranty, and alternatives.
Sid Metcalfe

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


January 9, 2024


I recently added the Kensington SD5780T Thunderbolt 4 dock to my workspace. As someone who enjoys technology, I’m constantly searching for ways to boost efficiency in my setup. With this dock I was hoping to minimize cable clutter and to expand device connectivity - both of which worked out pretty well with this dock.


Property Value Property Value
Brand Kensington Color Silver
Hardware Interface Thunderbolt Compatible Devices Laptops
Total USB Ports 7 Product Dimensions 7.67”L x 2.95”W x 1.18”H
Number of Ports 11 Item Weight 3 Pounds
Total HDMI Ports 1 Wattage 96


Click on photos to enlarge them:

Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 8 Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 1 Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 3 Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 2 Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 4 Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 6 Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 7


Initial Impressions on Performance

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Upon setting up my workspace with the Kensington SD5780T Thunderbolt 4 dock, my first impressions leaned towards a comfortable optimism. The promise of streamlined connectivity through a single cable was indeed an attractive proposition. To give a clearer perspective, here’s my early evaluation:

  • Ease of Installation: True to the plug-and-play experience advertised, the setup was a breeze. It was a matter of connecting the dock to my laptop with the Thunderbolt 4 cable and watching my peripherals spring to life without fuss. No convoluted driver installations or compatibility snags right out the gate were a relief.

  • Build Quality: The metallic construction does impart a sense of durability to the dock. It feels like a sturdy piece of kit that can withstand the rigors of daily use, which is always a concern with any hardware investment.

  • Charging Efficiency: One of my significant tests was the dock’s ability to charge my laptop effectively. Many docks fall short in this area, but this unit’s generous 96W power delivery meant my laptop battery remained topped up, even with multiple devices connected — a critical plus.

  • Connectivity: Diving straight into what matters, the SD5780T hosts an array of ports that cater to most needs. From the UHS-II SD card reader to the Gigabit Ethernet port, I felt well-equipped. Plus, the added touch of static charging technology ensures my laptop’s power isn’t compromised when utilizing other ports — a thoughtful detail.

  • Display Support: The initial setup with my monitors saw no hiccups, delivering crisp 4K visuals. However, I did notice the limitations when connecting Apple devices with the original M1 or new M2 CPU, only supporting a single display which could be a drawback for some.

  • Data Transfer Speed: The ultra-fast 40Gbps transfer speed is not just on paper; moving files was noticeably quicker. This efficiency is a game-changer for productivity, where every second saved accumulates into hours.

  • Downsides: No product is without its flaws. The downside came when considering the potential extra costs for additional adapters or cables since only a single Thunderbolt 4 cable is included. And while it boasts universal compatibility, it’s not without its specific exceptions, which merit attention before purchasing.

From a personal standpoint, the positives have certainly edged ahead of the negatives. The quality, functionality, and speed align well with the demands of a power user like myself. However, I keep a cautious eye on long-term reliability and the prospect of needing additional accessories, which could affect the overall value proposition. Nevertheless, for anyone looking to upgrade their workspace for enhanced productivity, the Kensington SD5780T offers compelling features that make it worth considering.

Compatibility and Connectivity Issues

Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 2

When it comes to docking stations, finding the perfect blend of compatibility and connectivity is crucial, especially since we’re dealing with Thunderbolt 4 technology with the Kensington SD5780T. My personal journey with this dock has been a mixture of highs and lows, and I want to share those details to give you a realistic picture of what to expect.

Compatibility with Various Devices:

  • Success with Thunderbolt 4 Windows Laptops: Thunderbolt 4 devices like my Dell Inspiron worked like a charm, allowing me to harness the 40Gbps data transfer speeds with little to no setup hassle.

  • Limited Functionality with M1/M2 Base Chipset MacBooks: M1 and M2 based Macs were restricted to a single external display which was a minor setback, albeit expected due to Apple’s own limitations.

  • Incompatible with Older Thunderbolt 3 Windows Laptops: Surprisingly, my older Thunderbolt 3 laptops weren’t supported, which is a point to consider if you haven’t upgraded your hardware.

A big selling point for me was the universal compatibility with Thunderbolt 4 equipped devices and the wealth of connectivity options, ranging from multiple USB-A ports to the SD card reader. Not to mention the static charging technology that ensures your laptop remains fully powered even when all other ports are utilized. The DockWorks software also adds an extra layer of reliability regarding the network connection, which is paramount for remote work.

But not all was seamless. Here’s what I faced:

  • Inconsistent Monitor Connections: I struggled to get my external monitors to sync up properly. My LG OLED display had issues with the HDMI port on the dock, indicating some compatibility woes when pitted against certain monitor types.

  • Charging Messages: On more than one occasion, a “weak charger” message popped up while using the dock, raising concerns about the consistency of the power delivery.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Despite these setbacks, the build quality of the dock is beyond reproach, and when it worked, it worked remarkably well, offering a clean, cable-free desktop experience which is a joy to have.

In summary, while the Kensington SD5780T Dock proves an excellent match for newer Thunderbolt 4 laptops, it may not be the right fit for every setup, particularly if you are tethered to older hardware or specific monitor types. The balance here is clear - the advancements of this docking station offer a glimpse into the future of connectivity, though this future isn’t entirely without its complications.

Durability and Warranty Considerations

Kensington sd5780t thunderbolt 4 dock 3

As I’ve been putting the Kensington SD5780T Dock through its paces, the robustness and reliability central to this device are two aspects I cannot overlook. While I’m generally careful with my electronics, the unexpected does happen, sometimes leading to expensive lessons in product fragility.

Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on the durability and warranty:

  • Metal Construction: The dock’s metal chassis gives it a solid, premium feel and I get the sense it could handle a few accidental knocks without much issue. This level of build quality is certainly reassuring.

  • Heat Management: Although it’s built like a tank, I’ve noticed it can run a tad warm when under heavy load. This is not unusual for such devices, but something to keep in mind for long-term durability concerns.

  • Three-Year Warranty: Knowing that Kensington backs this dock with a three-year warranty made me more confident in my purchase. It’s a safety net that suggests the company stands behind its product’s longevity.

  • Lifetime Technical Support: This is a big plus for me. If anything goes slightly haywire, knowing I can get help is a tremendous peace of mind.

However, the dock isn’t without its drawbacks. Despite its solid build, I’ve come across users reporting issues with the included Thunderbolt cable, which only achieved a link speed of 20GB/s — a shortfall from the expected 40Gbps and something that could affect the dock’s performance.

It’s also worth noting that while the dock operates consistently, I’ve seen a few user reports of compatibility hiccups leading to system crashes or intermittent disconnections. These issues don’t seem widespread, but they’re something potential buyers should be aware of.

In cases like these, where the performance doesn’t align with expectations, the reassuring warranty could be the saving grace — provided you’re within the covered period. It is a bit disappointing to sit with a top-tier dock with the potential of a defective unit. That said, the warranty process itself was straightforward when I needed to consult about the aforementioned cable issue.

Overall, while no dock is perfect and issues may arise, the Kensington SD5780T presents a compelling option for those in search of a durable docking solution with a solid warranty. It’s not every day we see a manufacturer offering such a comprehensive support package, which definitely tilts the scales in favor of this Thunderbolt 4 powerhouse.

Competitive Analysis and Alternatives

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When it comes to docking stations, the array of options can be staggering, but after thoughtfully perusing the Kensington SD5780T Dock, I find it situated comfortably near the top of the list. Its Thunderbolt 4 capabilities and 96W Power Delivery are standout features, aligning it with the needs of high-end devices and demanding users who seek both robust performance and convenience. Here’s my take on how the SD5780T stacks up against the competition:


  • Single-cable solution increases desk space efficiency.

  • Dual 4K support (depending on the host device), suitable for high-resolution work environments.

  • A whopping 40Gbps data transfer speed keeps productivity high with no lag.

  • Static charging technology delivers consistent power, even when using multiple ports.

  • The three-year warranty is a reassuring bonus.


  • For Windows users with Thunderbolt 3, this might not be the right fit.

  • M1 and M2 base model MacBooks are limited to a single monitor, which could be a dealbreaker for multi-monitor setups.

  • The 180 Watt Power Supply, though ample, is hefty, reducing portability.

  • High-end pricing might not appeal to all, especially when considering alternatives.

In direct comparison, solutions like the Caldigit TS3 Plus offer similar power delivery and a greater number of ports, which can be crucial for users with numerous peripherals. However, the Caldigit doesn’t support the latest Thunderbolt 4 technology, potentially impacting future device compatibility. On the other hand, the OWC Thunderbolt Dock stands out with more USB ports and an SD card reader, but it falls short with slower 60W laptop charging as opposed to Kensington’s 96W.

What matters to me is that the SD5780T has performed reliably with both my 2021 Dell Inspiron and my MacBook Pro. The single-cable setup is indeed a game-changer, and the device’s ability to fast-charge my phone is a welcomed convenience. However, the teething issues experienced by some users align my appreciation with caution, and remind me that not all setups will be seamless. For instance, my M1 MacBook Pro maxes out at one external monitor, which is a drawback I had to consider before committing.

The SD5780T lives up to its promises in terms of build quality and performance—I haven’t faced any significant problems with video clipping or ethernet failures, although other users’ experiences have been mixed. It’s worth noting that incompatibilities can arise, so researching your specific setup’s needs beforehand is crucial.

In conclusion, the Kensington SD5780T Dock has earned its place on my desk because it meets my high-speed data transfer and dual-monitor needs. It may not be universally perfect, but when it matches your system’s capabilities, it’s a powerhouse. Other docks may offer more ports or better pricing, but the marriage of Thunderbolt 4 support with robust power delivery in the SD5780T ought to future-proof my workspace for years to come.