CalDigit has just introduced an update to its popular TS3 docking station: the Thunderbolt Station 4. This new version features Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and gives you access to no less than 18 additional ports via one cable, including 8 USB ports, a DisplayPort, an SD and microSD card reader, as well as a 2.5G Ethernet port. Let’s take a closer look at it!
Thunderbolt 4 is the successor of Thunderbolt 3, and manufacturers are slowly adopting it. This new standard has a maximum bandwidth of 40Gbps, similar to the Thunderbolt 3. However, the main advantage of Thunderbolt 4 is that it’s backward compatible with Thunderbolt 3, USB4, and USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 for maximum user flexibility and performance.
Last year, CalDigit already released a portable Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 dock. This time, the American company is back with a studio dock for users looking at an all-in-one solution: the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4.
CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 features
The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 is a fairly compact studio dock with dimensions of only 11.3 x 4.2 x 14.1cm / 4.46″ x 1.65″ x 5.55″ for a weight of 640g/1.41lbs.
This dock is not powered by your computer and therefore needs to be connected to mains power. As a previous CalDigit TS3 owner, I can tell you that the power brick that comes with the unit is relatively big and heavy. However, it’s not a dealbreaker as the dock power supply usually lays on the ground or behind your desk. In addition, the TS4 is made out of aluminum which significantly helps with heat dissipation.
The Thunderbolt Station 4 connects to your Windows/Mac/ iPad Pro device via one included Thunderbolt 4 cable. As I mentioned previously, you can also connect it to a Thunderbolt 3/USB4/USB-C 3.2 Gen 2×2 device without a problem. In addition, this port supports up to 98W charging, so it should charge most laptops on the market.
Ports and connectivity
At the front of the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4, you’ll find:
- One 3.5mm headphone jack
- Two USB 3.2 Gen2 (10Gb/s) ports including one with up to 20W/1.5A charging capabilities
- A USB-A 3.2 Gen2 port (7.5W/1.5A)
- One SD 4.0 UHS-II and one microSD 4.0 UHS-II memory card ports.
All these front-facing ports are helpful as you’ll not have to reach behind the dock in your daily life to connect most of your devices or offload your footage. But there is more at the back of the unit.
At the back of the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4, there are:
- One Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 upstream port with 98W charging capabilities
- Two Thunderbolt/USB 4 downstream ports
- A DisplayPort 1.4 port
- Four USB-A and one USB-C port
- A 3.5mm microphone input and 3.5mm headphone output
- One 2.5GbE port to easily connect to your wired network
- The DC input port to power the TS4
As you can tell, most of the ports you’ll ever need are already there. However, when it comes to connecting one or two external displays to the TS4, there are some things you need to know.
If you wish to connect a single monitor to the Thunderbolt Station 4, it’s pretty easy, and you can connect it to the DisplayPort connector or one of the spare Thunderbolt 4 ports. If you wish to connect an HDMI monitor, you can either use an Active DisplayPort to HDMI Adapter or a USB-C to HDMI Adapter. However, the maximum resolution and refresh rate of the monitor you can use with the TS4 depends significantly on your computer/connectivity. Below is a tab made by CalDigit so you can get a better idea.
If you want a dual monitor setup, macOS users on M1 Pro, M1 Max, or Intel-based Macs can connect up to two displays. The same goes for Windows PC Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 users. However, M1-based Macs do not support dual monitors through their Thunderbolt ports.
Price and availability
The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 4 is theoretically available now, but it is already sold out worldwide. Or it’s just another victim of the global supply chain problems, we’re not sure. Anyway, the TS4 should be back in stock next month for $359.95.
For more information, please visit CalDigit’s website here.
What do you think about this new Thunderbolt 4 dock? Does it feature all the input/output ports you need as a content creator? Did you upgrade to Thunderbolt 4 or USB 4 yet? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments down below!