Review Kensington SD5700T 3 Port Thunderbolt Hub / Dock – 90 Watts PD & Docking Features

hey everybody it’s lon seiben and a few weeks ago we took a look at a new class of thunderbolt product basically a thunderbolt hub this one was something we looked at from owc and what you do is you plug one end into your thunderbolt equipped computer and you get three thunderbolt ports out the other side that we found to be fully functional you can plug in displays and additional thunderbolt devices basically it makes one port three ports and that can be very very useful especially if you’ve got a bunch of different thunderbolt devices that you want to attach and today we’re going to take a look at a docking station version of this concept from kensington this is their 5700 t and in addition to getting that thunderbolt hub functionality you get a bunch of other ports and a card reader so i thought we’d take a look at this and see how it performs and what you can do with a device like this now before we get to the review here i do want to give you my usual disclosure and this one’s a little different than some of the other ones that we do because for many years i have been doing instructional videos for kensington i’ve been a customer of theirs probably for the last 30 years or so i’ve got an old trackball back there from my mac that i bought back in like 1988 i’ve been very familiar with this company over the course of three decades they have good warranties good quality

products and they did send me this to do one of my product overview videos for them however this one’s interesting enough based on what i saw from viewership on the dock here that i thought you all might find this of interest because it does address some of the issues that you were looking for in the other product so we’re going to review it here and they are not paying for this review nor are they reviewing or approving what you’re about to see before it gets uploaded all of the opinions you’re about to hear are my own and they had no input into what we cover in this review now the price point on the dock at the time i’m recording the video is 329 now it’s important to note about this doc is that it will work with any mac that has a thunderbolt 3 port on board and you have to make sure that you’re running the latest version of mac os 11 big sur for the hub portion of this to work so if you’re on the latest version of mac os and you’ve got a thunderbolt 3 port on your mac this will work with any mac that has that port on the pc side it’s a little more complicated like the docking station we looked at a few weeks ago this will only work with a thunderbolt 4 equipped windows pc so if you have a thunderbolt 3 pc this will not work even though the port is the same so thunderbolt 4 only on the pc but any thunderbolt 3 equipped mac will work again with big sur let’s take a look at the ports on this dock though because it does have more than the hub that we looked at has the first thing you’ll see here is an sd card reader this is a uhs2 reader so it will work with those faster sd cards and we’ll do a little benchmark of that in a minute you have a usb 2.0 port right here that will also charge your devices when your computer is unplugged that’s what that little battery icon means there now i would not suggest plugging in hard drives and other storage devices on the front usb port here this is a usb 2 port it’s running slower than the usb 3

ports on the back so this is best for your printers and keyboards and mice and that sort of stuff next to it you’ve got your headphone microphone jack here for audio input and output if you do a lot of zoom calls you can just leave your headset plugged into that port and then pop it on when you’re about to hop on your latest meeting right here you’ve got the cable connection to go to your pc or mac the dock provides 90 watts of power so the little hub here that we looked at a few weeks ago did 60 watts so you’ll get 30 more watts out of this one which is good enough for the macbook pro and some windows computers that need a little bit more power now you do have quite a large power adapter that goes with this and this is kind of par for the course with these docking stations because you need a pretty big power budget for everything on this dock you need 90 watts for the pc and then you need enough power for each of these ports watts including piece for each of the three thunderbolt ports on the back so you can usually put this on the floor there’s a long enough cable to extend up to the monitor you have two lights here one indicates power for the dock the other indicates a link to your computer and you have a power button here to actually turn the whole thing off which is something we don’t typically see on a docking station so that’s pretty handy right there on the bottom here you’ve got some visa slots here kensington sells a kit where you can mount this to the back of a monitor or hang it off the side of a desk or whatever and you can plug in those mounting kits to those two screw holes on the bottom now on the back we’ve got your power input for the power adapter we’ve got those three thunderbolt ports here on the back and we’ll do

some experiments with those in a minute right here you’ve got gigabit ethernet so you can leave your network permanently connected and then when you attach your laptop you’re on the wired network and everything lights up for you and then you’ve got three usb 3 ports and these support the faster gen 2 standard so you get 10 gigabits per second out of the usb ports here on the back i just know though that the ethernet and the usb share their own usb bus so you don’t get 10 gigabits per port you get a maximum of 10 gigabits across all of these ports here on the back now i did run into an issue with some of my high performance usbc ssds and the usb a ports here on the back of the dock most of these drives come with a usbc to usb a connector cable that allows you to use these drives with older usb ports and while the drive connected up and was able to mount fine and copy files back and forth i did notice that some of my high performance usb c drives were dropping off in the course of running benchmarks on them and i think it might be due to the power requirements of these drives versus what the dock provides over those usb ports everything worked fine when connected to the usbc port here but again it was kind of hit or miss on some of these higher performance drives on these usb a ports i was though able to get flash drives and a bunch of other usb devices to work properly including a number of external ssds but the drives here like the sandisk extremes the new ones along with some of the usbc to nvme enclosures that i work with here tended to be a little bit more problematic on those usb a ports but they were fine on the usbc thunderbolt port and then on the other side here you’ve got two different kensington lock slots which fit with some of the locking mechanisms that kensington is known for so let’s

connect up my macbook air now to the dock this is one of the new m1 max but it has two thunderbolt ports on the side here and what we’re going to do is grab the thunderbolt cable and connect that to the front of the dock here and i’m going to connect the other end to one of the thunderbolt ports on the mac so we’ve got a single cable here going into the mac and you’ll hear it start charging here in a second that ding indicates that we’ve got a good charge now on the back remember we’ve got three of these thunderbolt ports and the first thing i’m going to connect here once i reconnect the display cable is an hdmi to usbc adapter and what’s neat about these ports is that they behave like a native thunderbolt port would on the computer but now we’ve got three of them so when i connect the display up here this 4k 60hz display will light up and we’ll have the mac desktop available to us there as you can see it’s running just fine you can get up to two 4k 60 displays attached through the dock and you’ll still have an extra port available just know that the m1 max here only support one display output per port at the time i’m recording this video but the older macs with intel chips can do two as can the windows computers now i’m going to connect up a thunderbolt hard drive here that should mount itself on the desktop here momentarily and then i also have a usbc hard drive and i have a choice about where i can connect this one to so i can connect it to one of the thunderbolt ports here in the back which i’ll do right now but i could also plug it into one of the usb ports here on the side and what i want to do now is show you how that thunderbolt drive performs connected to the dock i’m pretty much getting the same performance that i get when it’s directly connected about a gigabyte per second on writes and i’m reading off that drive at about two and a half gigabytes per second so as you can

see we were able to get thunderbolt performance here out of the dock but note at the time we were running that test that this was the only device we were really pushing over the dock here so if for example i was writing data to this drive at the same time i was running the test on this one you would see them having to share the bandwidth and the performance of both drives would decrease of course so you need to think a little strategically about what you might plug into your dock to get the best performance out of your thunderbolt devices intel has a great document that they put together that details how thunderbolt divvies up the bandwidth on a thunderbolt connection so coming out of your computer each of your thunderbolt ports will deliver 22 gigabits of usable bandwidth on the upstream and on the downstream but if you have two 4k 60 hertz displays connected for example you might see only about eight gigabits of available bandwidth on the upstream yet still get 22 gigabits per second on the downstream and that’s because everything going over one of these thunderbolt cables here to the computer has to share the bandwidth and so i would recommend plugging things into your dock that are devices that you might not be using all the time like a hard drive that you might write or read data to on an intermittent basis or the network adapter or something along those lines i think if you’ve got something like an external gpu which does work on this hub you might want to plug that directly into one of the free thunderbolt ports on your computer because that device is going to need dedicated bandwidth and it will share the bandwidth but you’ll see

the performance decline if you start hitting your hard drive so for example if you were playing a game and that game was really conducting a lot of disk activity that might impact the performance of your gpu because again it’s got to share the bandwidth here over a single cable so let’s take a look and see how some of the onboard devices work here on the dock we’ll start off with an internet speed test i’ve got multi-gigabit internet now at the house and i’m able to push my gigabit speeds pretty well here so it’s working as i expected it to work i also did an iperf test a little bit earlier over the local network and i was getting gigabit speeds in both directions of note here is that when you are running a disk speed test for example off one of the thunderbolt ports you’re not going to really notice any real performance degradation in your day-to-day work if you measure it you probably would see some variation here when you’re pushing data to multiple devices at the same time but i think for most real world applications here like writing to a drive and doing some network traffic it’s really all going to work pretty seamlessly and of course you get the benefit of getting a lot of port extension out of a single thunderbolt connector let’s take a look now at the card reader and see how it does so i have the fastest card in my repertoire here this is my sony tough card and as you can see it is a uhs2 card because it has additional pins here at the bottom what’s neat about the uh s2 standard is that it will also work on older devices that support sd cards so for example my video camera that i use for field shoots doesn’t support uh s2 but this card is completely compatible with it and then when i get home and plug it into a uh s2 reader i can get the data read off the card at full

speed pretty neat stuff so we’re going to take the card here and plug it into the card reader now and that should mount up on our max screen here like any other drive and you can see that that is showing up there as tough 32 we’re going to run that speed test on here and just see how well it does so we’ll select that and hit start and as you can see here of course this is not as fast as our thunderbolt drive is but we’re able to write to the card at 200 megabytes per second and we’re able to read from that card at about the same rate of speed here so we’re definitely getting uh s2 performance out of the card reader built into the dock all right one last thing to check out and that is how well the usb drive here performs we’ve got it again plugged into one of the thunderbolt ports there on the back so let’s jump over to our speed test again and execute that and as you can see we’re getting about 800 megabytes per second on writes on that drive again operating in usb mode and just under a gigabyte per second on reads and this is generally what i see out of this drive when it’s directly connected to the mac here so all together it looks like we’re getting pretty consistent performance across the board out of the dock now a little bit earlier i did connect up a few usb devices that were working properly on the usb a ports and i saw no difference in performance between being on these ports and directly connected to my computer but again if you’ve got some of those higher performing usbc drives i would suggest you plug those directly into one of the thunderbolt ports here for the best results now my use case for this is going to be upstairs in my secondary office i have a display on my desk there and i have a 10 gigabit thunderbolt ethernet adapter that i use to get the most out of my internet connection i’ve got two gigabit symmetrical through that comcast gigabit pro thing we talked about a little while back so i need a faster ethernet connection than what the dock has and what’s

nice about this is that i’ll have my display in here i’ll have the ethernet here and i still have a port available on the dock i’m going to have power going back to my mac i’ll have a second port available to plug stuff in on the mac as well and it’s really providing a lot of flexibility in addition to that kind of flexibility you can actually run multiple chains of thunderbolt devices off of each port just know that you have again that limited bandwidth back to the computer but there’s just an infinite amount of flexibility with something like this versus a dock that has fixed ports and if you’re constantly unplugging and plugging in devices and hooking up all sorts of different stuff throughout the course of your day something like this will provide a lot of flexibility because you’ll always have the port that you need and sometimes you might just have to plug a dongle in to get it but it’s here on this dock versus others that don’t have that so it’s nice to see the 90 watts of power delivery on this that should work well for most laptops and it’s also good to have a few extra ports here including that super fast card reader there on the front so i’m pretty happy with this one it’s going to help solve some problems in my workflow upstairs and that is going to do it for now until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters brian parker jim peter tom albrecht frank lewandowski mark bollinger and chris allegretta if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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