Kensington makes a lot of quality PC accessories, including docking stations like the SD7000 Surface Pro dock that we absolutely loved. For a less specific usage scenario, there is the Kensington SD4700P, which connects to a PC or Mac with USB-C or USB-A to deliver dual 2K display support and a ton of ports for hooking up accessories and Ethernet. I've been using the SD4700P for a couple of weeks to see how well it works and whether or not it's worth being your next dock.
USB-C or USB-A docking station
Bottom line: If your laptop doesn't have Thunderbolt 3, but you'd like to add five USB-A, HDMI, DisplayPort, and Ethernet connections, the Kensington SD4700P will get the job done. There's no 4K display support, but it will handle dual 2K displays at 60Hz, and it comes with a three-year warranty to protect your investment.
- Up to 60W charging through USB-C
- Generous port selection
- Detachable host cable
- Three-year warranty
- VESA mountable
- No verticality
- No 4K support
- Large footprint
What you'll love about the Kensington SD4700P
The Kensington SD4700P is made primarily of plastic, and compared to some other docking stations we've tested — like the all-metal CalDigit TS3 Plus — it does feel a bit vulnerable. However, it put up with regular use in my own testing without as much as a scratch. The front side has a glossy finish and encompasses a blue status LED, a 3.5mm audio jack, a single USB-A 3.0 port that offers 5V and 2.1A of charging, and a USB-C 3.1 (Gen 2) with 5V and 3A charging power. From the front, it's a sleek dock despite its relatively large size.
|Ports||Two USB-C 3.1 (one for laptop connection)
Five USB-A 3.0
Kensington lock slot
|Max display resolution||2560x1600 @ 60Hz (single)
2048x1152 @ 60Hz (dual)
|Dimensions||7.75 inches x 3.5 inches x 1.5 inches
(196.85mm x 88.9mm x 38.1mm)
|Weight||0.6 pounds (0.27kg)|
|OS||Windows 7 or newer
macOS 10.14 or newer
On the left side of the dock is a Kensington lock slot to keep your hardware secure in an office setting, and on the back is where things get interesting. There's a total of four more USB-A 3.0 ports with 5V and 0.9A charging, a Gigabit Ethernet hookup, HDMI 1.3, DisplayPort 1.1, and a USB-C port that is reserved for a connection to the host laptop. If you have one or two external displays that are not 4K (the dock maxes out at 2K) you'll be able to connect both and enjoy a 60Hz refresh rate. The five USB-A ports make it easy to hook up a mouse, keyboard, external storage drive, and other accessories, turning your laptop into a veritable workstation.
The host USB-C port offers up to 60W charging back to the connected laptop, which is more than enough to keep my LG gram 15 topped up and ready for when I hit the road. Testing with my voltage and amperage meter, I saw about 19.6V and 2.5A heading into my laptop. If you have a laptop that needs considerably more power — something perhaps with a dedicated GPU — you'll no doubt see different performance, though most standard Ultrabooks should fare well.
The SD4700P delivers up to 60W of power back to your laptop and offers a ton of ports, allowing you to connect dual 2K displays and all accessories needed for a complete workstation.
Included with the dock is a 39-inch (3.25 feet) host cable with USB-C at both ends. To make it compatible with laptops with only USB-A ports, an adapter is clipped onto the end of the cable, ready to turn USB-C into USB-A. This cable is completely detachable from the dock, meaning you won't run into any issues where the cable becomes damaged and you have to replace the entire dock. Remember, you're only going to see host laptop charging if connected with USB-C; if your laptop only has USB-A to connect to the dock, you will still have to plug in your laptop with its usual AC adapter.
As an additional perk, the SD4700P has two holes on the bottom that can be used with a compatible VESA mount to attach the dock to the back of a monitor that also supports VESA mounting. This process does require purchasing an extra mounting plate from Kensington, but at only about $10 it's a worthwhile investment if you'd like to keep the docking station off of your desk. Finally, the SD4700P comes with a substantial three-year warranty to protect your investment in case anything goes wrong.
What you'll dislike about the Kensington SD4700P
Aside from not offering 4K support — which some other USB-C docking stations do offer — it would be nice to see a vertical orientation option for those who do not go in for the extra VESA mount to get it off of the desktop. The dock has a rather large footprint, and if space is limited, it may quickly get in the way. Plugable's similar USB-C docking station, for example. comes with a built-in vertical stand, no doubt making it a superior option for those with a small workspace.
There's also the size of the AC adapter for the dock, which is almost again as large as the dock itself. It's true that once set up you no doubt won't be carrying this dock around with you most of the time, but it is something to keep in mind.
Should you buy the Kensington SD4700P?
After using the SD4700P on my desktop for a couple of weeks to connect a display, keyboard, mouse, and Ethernet, I can safely say you shouldn't be disappointed with this dock. You'll get the most out of it if your laptop has a USB-C port that supports Power Delivery, but it will also work with laptops that only offer USB-A. It won't handle 4K, and it's a shame there's no vertical stand option to go along with the clever VESA mounting option, which would help with the footprint the SD4700P commands on your desktop.
If you're looking for a USB-C docking station that can handle 4K, something like the Dell D6000 may be better suited, though its host cable is non-detachable, unlike the SD4700P. And if your laptop does have a Thunderbolt 3 port, you can spend more money on a dock that will take full advantage of the technology.
Overall, though, you're getting an outstanding three-year warranty here that trumps most other docks, and enough ports to turn a regular laptop into a desktop workstation. The 60W of charging back to the host removes the worry of keeping your laptop's battery charged, and the optional VESA mount is a clever way to hide the dock and free up space on your desk.
USB-C or USB-A docking station
A great dock for those without 4K displays
The Kensington SD4700P brings five USB-A ports, USB-C, HDMI, DisplayPort, Ethernet, and a 3.5mm audio jack, plus delivers up to 60W of charging power back to a host laptop connected with USB-C. If your laptop doesn't have Thunderbolt 3 and you're not using 4K displays, it should make a great docking solution.
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