While Apple has implemented more ports on its latest devices, there are still many devices that aren’t supported. Apple added two more Thunderbolt ports, taking the total to four, and an HDMI port. But there are no SD card readers or USB-A ports on the new MacBook Pros.
Docking stations are among the best options for users who want to improve their connectivity or add older devices with legacy ports to M1 Pro and M1 Max laptops. These devices connect to MacBook Pros with a single cable and act as a hub to connect other devices.
These are the best docking stations for M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros.
Best overall docking station for MacBook M1 Pro and MacBook Pro M1 Max
As its name suggests, Anker’s Apex 12-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Dock gives users 12 different ports and is compatible with the latest Thunderbolt 4 standard. It’s one of the best choices for those who want to add more ports to their MacBook.
Users get a wide variety of ports to suit most needs. The Anker Apex 12-in-1 has a rectangular shape, and the ports are distributed on either side. One side has the DC-IN port with a pair of 4K HDMI ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB-A ports, and a single Thunderbolt 4 port. There are two more Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card reader, and a 3.5-millimeter audio port on the opposite side.
Having so many ports allows the Anker docking station to charge multiple devices simultaneously. Included is a single 40GBps upstream Thunderbolt 4 port capable of charging the MacBook Pro with up to 90 watts of power. There’s also a further 30 watts available to charge mobile phones and other devices connected to the USB ports. Users can even connect their mice and keyboards to the docking station instead of the laptop.
Another standout feature of the Anker docking station is its design. It has a metallic look that matches the color of the MacBook Pro and a dedicated power button so it can be switched off when not in use. In its standard form, the Anker docking station sits on the desk horizontally, but it’s worth it for most users to buy the bundle that includes the stand to mount it vertically so that it takes up less space.
While the Anker docking station offers impressive capabilities, it’s also quite bulky, and the price reflects its utility. On the other hand, the size is understandable when considering how many ports it accommodates. This docking station is also pricey because of its Thunderbolt 4 capabilities, but it still offers some of the best connectivity possible.
Best build quality docking station for MacBook M1 Pro and MacBook Pro M1 Max
Razer’s Thunderbolt 4 Dock Mercury Edition emulates the Anker docking station’s silver appearance and Thunderbolt 4 capabilities. While it doesn’t offer as many ports, it features sturdier build quality with a solid aluminum housing.
Most of the ports on the Thunderbolt 4 Dock Mercury Edition are geared towards Apple compatibility. There are no HDMI ports like on the Anker docking station, but the Thunderbolt 4 ports can support up to two 4K monitors or a single 8K monitor. In total, there are four Thunderbolt 4 ports, with one upstream to the laptop and three for connecting other devices. Other ports include three USB-A 3.2 Gen 2 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, and an SD card reader.
The Razer Thunderbolt 4 Dock Mercury Edition can almost pass for an Apple product with its silver aluminum construction and minimalist design. One of the only giveaways that it is a Razer product is the silver triple-headed snake logo on the top.
Razer products are known for their build quality, and the Thunderbolt 4 docking station is no different. It has a sleek and sturdy aluminum design that complements Apple laptops and an adequate number of ports. It’s a bit disappointing that there are no HDMI ports since users can only connect their monitors using the Thunderbolt ports.
Best compact docking station for MacBook M1 Pro and MacBook Pro M1 Max
Users looking for functionality in a more compact package might consider Moshi’s Symbus Q USB C Hub. This docking station costs around half the price of the Anker and Razer options, but it’s compatible with Thunderbolt 3 instead of Thunderbolt 4.
Due to its compact size, the Symbus has a limited range of ports. There are two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an HDMI port, and a gigabit LAN port. The only Thunderbolt port is the upstream connection to the PC.
A feature not found on any of the other docking stations on this list is the wireless charging capability. Users can place Android or Apple mobile phones on the top of the docking station to charge wirelessly. The Qi-certified charger offers fast-charging capability and provides 7.5 watts of power to iPhones, 9 watts to Samsungs, and up to 12 watts to Google phones.
Despite its limited ports, the Symbus is still a worthwhile option for users. It’s compact enough to fit in most travel bags, and it’s inexpensive compared to the other options listed so far. The wireless charging capability is another selling point and makes it convenient for users to charge their phones on the go.
Best mid-range docking station for MacBook M1 Pro and MacBook Pro M1 Max
Users looking for the functionality of the Anker docking station without paying the high price might consider the Corsair TBT100. This docking station has numerous ports to support most connections, but its price is lower than the Anker and Razer options due to its Thunderbolt 3 speeds.
There are many ports on the TBT100 to expand the functionality of M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pros. On one side of the docking station, there’s an SD card reader, a USB-C port, and a 3.5-millimeter port. The other side has another USB-C port with two HDMI 2.0 ports, two USB-A 3.1 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet port.
Like other docking stations on this list, the TBT100 has a silver exterior. It differs from the all-silver alternatives mentioned so far with its black sides that break up the color. The TBT100 matches the Anker docking station by having a rectangular shape and a bulky size to house all of the ports.
Corsair’s TBT100 adds more ports to the MacBook Pros to enhance its connectivity. It includes most commonly-used ports while costing less than many of its rivals. The only drawback of the TBT100 is its lacks Thunderbolt 4 compatibility, which might be a problem for some users who want to take full advantage of the newest MacBooks.
Best budget docking station for MacBook M1 Pro and MacBook Pro M1 Max
Kensington’s K33972US costs a fraction of the other docking stations on this list and is a practical choice for users with previous-generation hardware.
The main reason for its lower price is the limited types of ports. This docking station lacks an SD card reader and USB-C ports. While it works with macOS, it requires a USB-C to USB-A cable to work.
Despite its drawbacks, the K33972US has many redeeming qualities. It’s the only docking station listed here with a DVI port to connect older monitors. Kensington includes an adapter to connect VGA monitors to the DVI port and a second adapter to connect HDMI monitors. Other ports on the K33972US include four USB-A 2.0 ports, two USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet port. It also has a pair of 3.5-millimeter audio ports and an HDMI 1.2 port.
There’s no doubt that the K33972US lags behind the other docking stations on this list when it comes to modern ports. It’s still a worthy choice for users who want to connect their previous-generation equipment to modern MacBook Pros.
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