Forward-looking: Multi-monitor users unwilling to compromise on resolution or refresh rate have two new docking options from Plugable and Kensington. Both devices include plenty of high-bandwidth ports, including dual HDMI 2.1 outputs, that should offer generous flexibility for businesses and home offices.
Newly released USB-4 docks from Plugable and Kensington allow two simultaneous 4K 120Hz monitor feeds. They also sport impressive arrays of DisplayPort, USB-C, USB-A, and ethernet connections to provide users with diverse options. Plugable’s device is the more robust and expensive of the two.
The dual 4K 120Hz capability in Plugable’s UD-4VPD and the Kensington MD125U4 come thanks to two HDMI 2.1 ports. Plugable’s offering also enables this functionality through two Thunderbolt 4-powered DisplayPort 1.4 connections. Meanwhile, Kensington’s store page mentions DisplayPort compatibility without specifying its range of resolutions and refresh rates. Each dock also supports a single 8K connection, although the UD-4VPD reaches 60Hz at that resolution while the MD125U4 maxes out at 30.
Additional USB-C ports on both products offer plentiful bandwidth and charging capabilities for connected portable devices. While the Kensington includes a single 10Gbps/100W connection, Plugable’s device uses a 40Gbps/100W and a 10Gbps/20W port. Both docks feature two 10Gbps USB-A ports, while the Plugable adds a third 5Gbps outlet.
Unsurprisingly, ethernet connectivity is identical between the two, offering 2.5 gigabit throughput. The UD-4VPD includes an SD card port and a 3.5mm bi-directional audio jack.
While both docks support any Windows 10 or 11 system, Kensington designed the MD125U4 with Surface devices specifically in mind. Plugable’s offering has Mac support but only for one external monitor. However, Plugable introduced a dock last year that enables mainstream Apple Silicon devices to connect to up to four monitors – a functionality that official Apple solutions reserved exclusively for Mac Pros. Kensington doesn’t mention Apple support at all.
Plugable’s dock costs $40 more than Kensington’s at $200 but gives users extra ports, USB-C bandwidth, and basic Mac support. Kensington’s option is $160 but offers more portability, with a footprint about half the length of its competitor.
While dual 4K 120Hz wired connections are impressive, a dock Synaptics unveiled last year achieved an equally remarkable feat – dual 4K 60Hz wireless feeds through WiFi 6E. This option, called Gemini, might be more useful for those who need to frequently use the same notebook on docking stations in multiple locations.