New docking stations that support Thunderbolt 4 are also flexible hubs: they turn one Thunderbolt connection into three so that three device chains can be used on the docking station instead of just one. Sonnet Technologies’ "Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4 Dock" is designed for Intel and ARM Macs equipped with Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 and Windows PCs equipped with Thunderbolt 4.
Echo 11 also has other useful interfaces. In addition to the three Thunderbolt ports (USB-C), three USB 3.2 ports (USB-A), Gigabit Ethernet, and power supply are all located on the back. On the front there is an SD card slot, audio jack (mini jack) and another USB 2 port for charging other devices and Thunderbolt 4 port through which the docking station is connected to a laptop or desktop computer.
The port on the back of Echo 11 Thunderbolt 4.
Using Intel MacBook, we were able to read data from the UHS-II card in the SD card slot at a speed of 243 MB/s and write data at a speed of 186 MB/s. On a Mac mini equipped with an M1 processor, the speed is 10 MB/s slower, but the speed is still good. Gigabit speed Ethernet is connected to the RJ45 socket. You can plug a headset with a mini jack or an iPhone compatible headset into the audio jack, because it also has a mono input.
We measured a reading speed of 2503 MByte/s on the three Thunderbolt slots; we were able to write data to the G-Drive SSD at a speed of 2074 MB/s. The value on the M1 Mac is slightly higher.
Using the same Type-C connection, we achieved a typical read speed of 852 MB/s and a write speed of 833 MB/s on the USB-C SSD of OWC Gen 2-at least on Intel Macs. Using the M1 Mini, the transfer rate drops to 481 and 587 MB/s. This is a problem with the Apple chip, not a docking station.
3 × Thunderbolt 4, with USB 3.2, 3 × USB-A, with 3.2 Gen2 speed, 1 × USB-A, with 1.5 amp, headset (compatible with iPhone headset), Gigabit Ethernet, SD card (UHS II)
The results of the three Type A ports on the back are similar. On the other hand, the front socket is disappointed with USB 1.1 speeds below 40 MB/s, so it is very suitable for keyboards or mice. At least we can charge the iPad Pro and three Type-C sockets. The three rear USB-A sockets can fit at least one iPhone 12 Pro.
The scope of delivery of the Echo 11 includes a 70 cm long Thunderbolt 4 cable and a 135 watt power supply. Two LEDs on the docking station indicate operation and are linked to the main unit. Thankfully, they didn't blink frantically.
With its various interfaces and the proliferation of Thunderbolt chains, Echo 4 meets many port requirements. Unfortunately, the display lacks HDMI or DisplayPort. In addition, the price is significantly higher than the basically the same Kensington SD5700T.