Brydge is finally entering the ever-competitive Thunderbolt 4 dock market with its very first offering. Looking to stay competitive, the brand is employing a unique vertical design to go alongside 11 ports and 5K 60Hz display output support. But is it worth choosing over other models on the market? Our latest Tested with 9to5Toys review is unboxing the Brydge Stone Pro TB4 for a closer look.
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Hands-on with Brydge’s new Stone Pro TB4 dock
At the beginning of the month, Brydge expanded its stable of Apple accessories with its very first Thunderbolt 4 dock. Delivering an 11-port design, the new accessory is its most capable yet with a versatile array of I/O for future-proof and legacy workstations alike.
Headlined by three Thunderbolt 4 ports, the new Brydge Stone Pro TB4 dock is then supplemented by three USB-A 3.3 Gen 2 slots and Gigabit Ethernet on the back. As well as some slots up on the front for less permanent installations like flash drives or headphones thanks to an SD card reader, standard USB-A, and 3.5mm jack. Throw in support for 5K 60Hz display output and 90W power delivery, and you have quite the compelling package. But does that mean the brand’s first Thunderbolt 4 dock is worth its $329.99 price tag? Let’s take a closer look.
Here’s a closer look at the spec sheet:
- POWERFUL: 12 ports – 3 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-A (2.0 5V/1.5A), 3 x USB-A (3.3 Gen 2 10 Gb/s), 1 x Thunderbolt 4 PD 3.0 90W, 1 x SD Card (SD4.0UHS-II), 1 x Ethernet (Gigabit), 1 x Audio/Mic, 1 x Dock Power.
- BEAUTIFUL: Our Stone range is where power & design meet to create a range of highly functional products with a minimalistic design to complement your desktop.
- FLEXIBLE: Our USB docking station includes a vertical stand for seamless integration on your desk surface.
- CHARGING: 130 watts of total power, 90 watts dedicated for laptop charging via USB-C pass thru power delivery.
Since Thunderbolt 4 docks begin hitting the scene last year, I’ve become something of a connoisseur of the versatile workstation upgrades. For the latest model I’m taking a look at, Brydge sent over one of its just-released Stone Pro TB4 docks which on paper looks to give all of the other models I’ve spent time with in a past a run for their money. So let’s see how it actually performs.
Right off the bat, the port selection is going to be a main draw for many, and Brydge really doesn’t mess around. You’ll find 11 slots in total, with a single Thunderbolt 4 slot on the front for connecting to the host device. It’s a fairly standard assortment that offers plenty of flexibility, but the one highlight is really the fact that this supports 5K 60Hz display outputs. Other models in the same price range (like Satechi’s offering) only support 4K, and so it’s the biggest standout on the feature front.
Then there’s the design. There’s really only so much you can do to pack 11 ports into a desktop form-factor, and Brydge’s new Stone Pro TB4 dock largely sticks to what we’ve come to expect. The elongated build is covered in a metal shell with a soft touch rubber on the bottom for staying in place. Along the back is the main assortment of I/O, though there are those quick access ports on the front.
One area, and quite a meaningful one at that, where Brydge does deviate from the norm is by including an external stand. The weighted base allows you to turn the Stone Pro TB4 dock on its side to take up less space with a vertical orientation. Sure there aren’t any real limitations that prevent other docks from being turned on their side, but they’re always prone to being knocked over. The Brydge Stone Pro TB4 and its external dock easily solves that and is a much better offering for cramped spaces because of it.
On the flip side, the only issue I have with the design and overall experience at large, is the forward facing Thunderbolt port for connecting to your machine. This choice is clearly made for those who plan on connecting in a MacBook or portable machine, rather than a desktop, but I still wish there was the flexibility to use one of the slots on the back. Not only would it tidy up my workstation, but would offer easier access to one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports for plugging in drives or other accessories that may not be a permanent fixture in one’s workstation. Still, the Stone Pro TB4 is hardly the only device designed this way, so I won’t hold it too hardly against Brydge.
All told, $330 is definitely into the more expensive side of a Mac accessory, but I really do feel like Brydge provides the value to make Stone Pro TB4 worth it. The dock is certainly priced competitively and offers a little extra in the features department for those who want to step up from some of the other options out there. The bottom line for me is whether or not the vertical design and 5K output are worth it to you. If so, it’s an easy recommendation to your Mac workstation.