With fewer ports even on the most high-end laptops, using a docking station becomes inevitable for many people. To meet the needs of users of high-end 8K or 5K monitors, Sonnet has introduced the Echo 11 10-in-1 docking station, which is compatible with Apple’s Mac and Windows-based PCs.
Sonnet’s Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 dock Its host PC has a TB4 input, which can provide up to 90W of power, which is sufficient for high-performance laptops such as Apple’s MacBook Air 16. In addition, the docking station is equipped with a GbE port, three Thunderbolt 4 connectors support two displays and a high-end storage subsystem; three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports; one SD UHS-II 4.0 slot (up to 300MB /s); A 3.5 mm TRRS audio jack for earphones; and a USB 2.0 charging port.
The device has a 20V/6.75A power input (135W), which can charge laptops and peripherals at the same time.
There are docking stations for professionals from various niche markets (requiring traditional devices such as S/P DIF, FireWire, etc.), which have much more ports than Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock.But the main selling point of Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock is its three Thunderbolt 4 connector.
These three Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) ports allow you to use two 4K monitors or one 6K/8K monitor without “wasting” the Thunderbolt connector on the PC itself.This kind of support looks simple on paper, but in fact, it’s slightly more complex (See the table below).
Apple’s latest Mac with M1 SoC does not seem to support dual display output through a single Thunderbolt port (at least according to Sonnet), so for the M1, the Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock can drive a display with a resolution of up to 6K.
All Intel-based Macs can support up to two 4K displays (or one 5K display) via Thunderbolt connection, but some older Macs do not support Apple’s latest 6K Pro Display XDR.
To use an 8K display with Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock, you must use a Windows PC. At the same time, the TB4 cable only supports one 8K display, so you must use the port on the host itself to connect to other displays.
Sonnet has not revealed the pricing of the Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock, but instead recommends that you sign up for notification and receive a $50 discount when the device is shipped.