Folks looking for some extra connectivity for their Thunderbolt-equipped laptop might just get it with Razer’s new dock, and it comes packing colours, too.
If you own a recent laptop, there’s a good chance you’re missing a large assortment of ports, because new laptops are made to be slimmer.
These days, it’s not unusual for a laptop to come with two or three ports, but skip out on a greater majority, likely including the reversible USB Type C ports for charging, data, and video, but often missing out on the USB Type A standard rectangular port most of us regard as USB. That’s just how it goes these days, because laptops are made to be slim, and cutting back on the ports helps them stay slim.
It’s the way it is for many computers, and it’s a situation that is solved in much the same way for every computer that comes with this potential problem: a dock.
A computer dock, formerly known as a port replicator, is one way of dealing with a lack of ports on a laptop, and allows many of them to come back through one plug. The idea is simple enough, with a gadget supporting extra ports plugged into your computer to one port, basically adding support for those extra ports through the one cable, and possibly even charging your laptop through the one cable.
It’s very much the way docks have worked in the past, and something you can see in docks by the likes of Brydge and Belkin, and Razer is joining in for the newly released Thunderbolt 4 standard shortly, as well, launching the Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma.
At the moment, Thunderbolt 4 is still a little rare, though it’s something that will grow in number. Take the recent M1 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro, neither of which come with Thunderbolt 4, even though the technology launched in July of last year. However you can find it in recent laptops, including the Dynabook Portege that launched in Australia recently, so you can expect to see it in new computers shortly.
Thunderbolt 4 is also backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 3, so it should work across older laptops without Thunderbolt 4, as the technology isn’t dramatically different, improving speeds slightly while delivering support for 8K screens.
Razer’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma has that thrown in, but will support Thunderbolt 3 and USB, with four Thunderbolt 4 connections that also work on USB Type C, plus three rectangular old school USB Type A ports, an SD card reader, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 3.5mm headset port. It’s built to be plugged into a wall to take 135 watts of power, and it can use the single Thunderbolt connector to a laptop to keep it charged, delivering as much as 90 watts to a laptop, making it ideal for even the big laptops, such as the 16 inch MacBook Pro.
There’s also a colourful light strip on the bottom of the dock, something that’s particularly on-brand for Razer, though the Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma does come with a price tag that puts it above practically every other dock we’ve seen. At $639 in Australia, Razer’s Thunderbolt 4 dock is not cheap, even if it is highly spec’d.
It’s not the only port replicator of sorts Razer has coming, though, with an aluminium laptop stand with ports and a colourful strip of lights at the bottom on the way as well.
That’s coming in the Razer Laptop Stand Chroma V2, which is a stand to hold up a laptop complete with one USB Type C port for power delivery, one USB Type C to add an extra port, two rectangular USB Type A ports, and an HDMI 2.0 port that can handle 4K and 5K resolutions.
At a little over a third the price of the Razer Dock, it might be the more economical take of the two, with the Razer Laptop Stand Chrome V2 heading to select stores alongside the Thunderbolt 4 Dock Chroma for $249 in Australia.