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Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock review: A competitive price and sleek design aren't enough to put it ahead of other high-end docks

Accell's sleek Thunderbolt 4 dock swaps one of its downstream Thunderbolt 4 port for native DisplayPort 1.4.

Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock
(Image: © Windows Central)

Our Verdict

Accell's Thunderbolt 4 dock provides up to 96W of power to the host laptop and offers a native DisplayPort 1.4 hookup in place of a third downstream TB4 port. Otherwise, it doesn't really set itself apart from the competition, at least unless you're looking for a darker color scheme to match your other hardware. It's priced competitively, but you'll want to check out the top competing devices before making a final decision.

For

  • Detachable TB4 host cable
  • Up to 96W of charging power to host
  • 11 total ports with host input
  • Competitive pricing

Against

  • Plastic construction not as premium as aluminum
  • One-year limited warranty
  • Slow SD card reader

Accell is no stranger to docking stations, offering up a wide variety of USB-A, USB-C, and Thunderbolt 3 devices to expand your laptop's selection of ports. Its Thunderbolt 4 dock was released at the start of 2022, and it's the first from the company to sport the latest technology, going up against the likes of CalDigit, Kensington, Razer, and OWC — all with hardware in our collection of the overall best Thunderbolt 4 docking stations

The Accell Thunderbolt 4 dock has a horizontal orientation, 11 ports including the host input, and support for dual 4K display at a 60Hz refresh rate. I've been using it as a centerpiece for my workflow for the last couple of weeks to see how well it actually performs and, ultimately, whether or not it's worth your money.

Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock: Price and availability

Accell provided Windows Central with a review unit of its Thunderbolt 4 Dock. It's widely available at most major online retailers, including Amazon, Dell, Newegg, Walmart, and the official Accell website.

Amazon currently has it listed for the most reasonable price at $300, though that's with a 9% discount that could end anytime. Newegg has the dock listed at $330 (the same as Amazon without the discount), while Accell's site and Walmart have it listed at $349. The most expensive option is buying from Dell, which has the dock pegged at $373.

This dock is intended for laptops with a Thunderbolt 4 port, though it also seems to work fine with a laptop using USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 thanks to the backwards compatibility of the latest Thunderbolt standard. I tested the dock primarily using a Thunderbolt 4 laptop.

Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock: What I like

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Accell's Thunderbolt 4 dock is made primarily from plastic, with a horizontal orientation that doesn't allow for a vertical setup. You'll need to reserve a bit more space on your desk compared to some other great TB4 docks; nevertheless, the Accell dock is slim and doesn't stand out thanks to the dark color scheme. There's a bit of a wedge shape toward the front, and the bottom of the dock is covered (almost) entirely with a rubber non-slip pad. The dock doesn't move around much, even with a lot of connected accessories being used.

Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock

OS: Windows 10, Windows 11
Connection:
Thunderbolt 4
Detachable
Ports:
Thunderbolt 4 (Host)
Two Thunderbolt 4 (Downstream)
Three USB-A 3.1 (Gen 2)
Gigabit Ethernet
DisplayPort 1.4
USB-A 2.0
3.5mm audio
UHS-II SD 4.0 card reader
Power:
Up to 96W to host
Max display res.
Dual 4K@60Hz, Single 8K@30Hz
Color:
Black, silver
Material:
Plastic
Warranty:
One year

The front of the dock includes the host Thunderbolt 4 port. A detachable cable included with the dock connects to your laptop here, giving you access to the 10 extra ports and up to 96W of power delivery to the host laptop. A small LED next to the host input glows amber when the dock has power, blue when a laptop is successfully connected.

Otherwise, the front edge includes a 3.5mm audio jack, USB-A 2.0, and an SD 4.0 UHS-II card reader. The back of the dock holds the majority of ports, including two downstream Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort 1.4, three USB-A 3.1 (Gen 2), and Gigabit Ethernet. 

This is essentially the same port selection as the Kensington SD5700T dock I reviewed, though the Kensington model ditches the DP 1.4 port and adds a third downstream Thunderbolt 4 port. Razer's Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma I reviewed is also in the same arena, though it lacks the single USB-A 2.0 port and adds a third downstream TB4 instead of DP 1.4. This makes the Accell dock a more flexible option, especially for those who like sticking with native DisplayPort for their external display.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

The Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock can handle up to a single 8K display at a 30Hz refresh rate, but most people aren't going to be using this sort of a setup. It will also handle dual 4K displays, each with a 60Hz refresh rate. To achieve the dual-display setup, you'll need to use the DP 1.4 and a downstream TB4 port, or both downstream TB4 ports. Testing with one 4K and one 3K Ultrawide display didn't seem to pose any problems for the Accell dock in my testing.

Next I turned to testing ports for power delivery and transfer speed. The front USB-A 2.0 port isn't particularly speedy for transferring documents, but it delivers between 7W and 8W of power to any connected accessories. CalDigit's Tuff nano external SSD managed just 40 MB/s read and 35 MB/s write on the USB-A 2.0 port. The three rear USB-A 3.1 (Gen 2) ports hit the same speeds as the 2.0 port and delivered the same 7W to 8W of power on Thunderbolt 4 and USB4 laptops.

Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock: What I don't like

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Accell's Thunderbolt 4 Dock is a straightforward piece of hardware that you can unpack, plug in, and start using with no extra hassle. However, there are some drawbacks worth mentioning.

The plastic build of the Accell dock just doesn't compete with the aluminum construction of some of the competing brands. It's not really a device that needs a ton of durability, as it mostly sits on your desk, but something with this high of a price is sort of expected to be a bit more premium. It's a sleek looking dock, but you can go full metal or at least metal shell with plastic faceplates with other docks.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

I tested the UHS-II SD card reader using a Silicon Power Superior Pro 128GB card with tested read speeds up to about 265 MB/s and write speeds up to about 164 MB/s as tested in my review. Unfortunately, the card reader in the Accell dock only managed to hit about 92 MB/s read and 89 MB/s write. I tested with multiple laptops and got a similar result each time; testing with a reader built into one of the same laptops I used for testing revealed the true performance potential of the microSD card.

Finally, the Accell dock comes with just a one-year warranty. That's the same as Razer's Chroma dock, but it falls behind the two-year CalDigit TS4 warranty and especially the three-year Kensington SD5700T warranty.

Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock: Competition

CalDigit TS4 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Our current top pick when it comes to Thunderbolt 4 docking stations is the CalDigit TS4. I reviewed this dock earlier this year, noting its wide array of ports, ample charging abilities, and sturdy aluminum build as positive points. If you want the absolute best TB4 dock right now, this is it. It's listed at $360 at CalDigit's site, with similar prices at third-party retailers Amazon and B&H. Its popularity, unfortunately, has it sold out just about everywhere.

The Kensington SD5700T is another top option that I recently reviewed. It has almost the same port selection as the Accell dock, though it replaces DisplayPort 1.4 with a third downstream Thunderbolt 4 port. It has an aluminum shell with holes drilled for optional mounting brackets, lock slots ideal for an office, a three-year warranty, up to 90W of charging power, and plastic faceplates to house the ports. If you don't need native video out, the three TB4 ports should fit most workflows. The SD5700T costs about $302 at Amazon, putting it in the same price range as the Accell dock. There's also an SD5750T variant that is certified to work with Surface products.

Kensington SD5700T (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma is an option best reserved for gamers due to its customizable RGB lighting. In my review, I noted that "the all-metal construction and RGB lighting puts Razer's Thunderbolt 4 dock well ahead of the competition in terms of design appeal." Like Kensington's SD5700T, it replaces a native video out port with a third downstream Thunderbolt 4 port. There is no USB-A 2.0 port on this dock. It's listed at $330 at Razer's official website, with third-party retailers listing similar prices.

Our roundup of the overall best laptop docking stations has many more options to browse.

Should you buy the Accell Thunderbolt 4 Dock?

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Who it's for ...

  • Those who have a laptop with Thunderbolt 4 port
  • Those who need a native video out port in the form of DP 1.4
  • Those who need more ports than your average hub, fewer ports than the CalDigit TS4

Who it isn't for ...

  • Those who prefer having an extra downstream Thunderbolt 4 port
  • Those who can't spend $300+ on a docking station
  • Those who prefer an aluminum build, wider port selection

Accell's Thunderbolt 4 dock doesn't really do enough to set itself apart from the best of the competition. It doesn't have as many ports or as good of performance as the CalDigit TS4, it doesn't have the customizable RGB lighting that the Razer dock offers, and its warranty, build quality, and extra features don't stand up to what the Kensington SD5700T can offer.

More specifically, the Accell Thunderbolt 4 dock is a lot like the SD5700T in terms of port selection, save for the lack of DP 1.4 to make room for an extra downstream TB4 port on the latter device. They even cost about the same amount of money; however, the SD5700T has a sturdier aluminum shell, mounting brackets to get the dock off your desk, a three-year warranty, and lock slots to secure the dock to a desk. If you don't need the native video out or the extra 6W available for the host laptop that comes with Accell's dock, I recommend sticking with the SD5700T.

If the sleek design with darker color scheme is too much to pass up, you need native DisplayPort 1.4 out, and you don't particularly care about the extra security options and warranty period, the Accell dock is still going to perform well and without hassle. It plugs in, it starts working without any extra software required, and it maintains a reliable connection without any drops.

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.