Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Station reviewon February 22, 2023 at 07:04 Tech Advisor

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At a glance

Expert’s Rating

Pros

12 ports, inc 3 display portsTwo 30W, 10Gbps USB-C portsUp to four external 4K displays at 60HzPower button

Cons

ExpensiveJust one downstream Thunderbolt 4 portLow-charge USB-A portsNo card reader slots or audio portNot for Macs

Our Verdict

Impressive four-display support for Windows, and two mighty 30W USB-C ports impress but this dock is found lacking elsewhere.

Price When Reviewed

£379.99

Best Prices Today: Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Station (12-in-1, Thunderbolt 4)

Retailer
Price
£379.99
Anker
£379.99

Anker’s latest laptop dock doesn’t expressly label itself as “Thunderbolt 4” because it is backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and USB4 devices (and even USB-C laptops), too. But rest assured that the Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Station is very much a fully certified full-steam ahead 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 dock.

A tough, almost foreboding design shows this docking station means business. All black, with an almost brutalist server-rack aesthetic, it stands out among the competition.

This Thunderbolt 4 dock is aimed at the Windows user looking to connect multiple external displays. It offers just one downstream 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 (TB4) port but three displays ports (one HDMI and two DisplayPort).

Specs and features

The Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Station has 12 ports, one of which (the upstream 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 port) is used for the single-cable connection to the computer.

One upstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 100W)One downstream Thunderbolt 4 port (40Gbps, 15W)Two DisplayPort 1.4 video portsOne HDMI 2.1 portTwo USB-C ports (10Gbps, 30W)Two USB-A ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)Two USB-A ports (480Mbps, 2.5W)Gigabit Ethernet180W power supply

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

The inclusion of three display ports shows who this docking station is aimed at: users who want to add multiple external displays to their computer.

Windows users can connect up to four 4K displays at 60Hz. If you want a fewer but higher resolution screens you need to use that single downstream TB4 port that supports a 6K display at 60Hz.

Mac users should avoid the Anker 778, however. Plain M1 and M2 Macs are simply not supported and superior M1/M2 Pro or Max MacBooks can only have two external displays in Mirrored rather than Extended mode using this dock. We’d instead recommend Mac users looks to the Caldigit TS4 or Kensington SD5700T docking stations.

Mac or Windows, if you want to attach numerous Thunderbolt devices, you might be better off with a dock that boasts three downstream TB4 ports, such as the Kensington SD5700T or the Alogic Thunderbolt 4 Blaze. Or consider a Thunderbolt 4 hub that will lack most of the other connectors to focus just on the 40Gbps ports. See our reviews of the best Thunderbolt 4 docks and hubs.

As it is, you can daisy-chain up to six Thunderbolt devices to the sole Thunderbolt 4 port on the Anker 778.

Dominik Tomaszewski / Foundry

USB mixed bag

There are a total of six USB ports: two fast 10Gbps USB-C ports that each offer a very generous 30W of device-charging power; two 5Gbps USB-A ports; and another two USB-A ports that are rated at the slow 480Mbps USB 2.0 standard.

Anker expects people to use the USB 2.0 ports to connect a keyboard and mouse (there’s even icons above them to suggest this), although these are mostly wireless these days.

None of the USB-A ports offers any real device-charging function (either 4.5W or 2.5W), which seems a missed opportunity and is not as useful as some of the other Thunderbolt 4 docks we have reviewed.

That said, full marks for the 30W charging capacity of the USB-C slots, which is seriously impressive and beats any other dock we have tested.

The upstream TB4 port can charge a connected computer at up to 100W, enough for most large laptops.

Wired Internet access is via Gigabit Ethernet. Some new docks are boasting 2.5Gb Ethernet but most of us reside within 1Gb networks, so the Anker 778 fits in well as standard if not incredible network speeds.

What’s missing? Despite the 11 downstream ports, quite a lot, although the lack of some ports might not bother you.

There are no card reader slots, where most docks include either an SD card reader or MicroSD card reader, or both. Such tiny, portable cards can be a great way of adding inexpensive, swappable storage to your system. If you never use them, don’t worry.

There’s also no 3.5mm audio port for headphones or mic, which you’ll find on most competing docks. You could add in and out audio devices via one of the USB ports and use wireless headphones instead.

The side-mounted upstream ports helps keep the dock’s front clear of cables

IDG

Design

The horizontal Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Station has a take-no-prisoners look, all black and industrial.

We like that Anker has positioned the upstream Thunderbolt 4 port on one of the sides rather than at the front like most manufacturers do. This hides the trailing cable away from your desk space, and keeps the front clear for those two fast, powerful USB-C ports.

The power button on the front is also appreciated, as it means you are assured that your laptop’s battery isn’t being constantly kept at 100% charge while you’re away. With most other docks, you need to disconnect the upstream cable to have this peace of mind that you are not doing long-term harm to the laptop’s battery.

On the opposite side to the upstream TB4 port is a Kensington security lock.

Price

The Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Station is priced at $379.99 / £379.99, which is at the top end of the pricing scale for Thunderbolt 4 docks.

The $299 Plugable Thunderbolt 4 & USB4 Quad Display Docking Station also supports four 4K 60Hz displays and four more ports; although offers no downstream TB4 port at all.

Verdict

The industrial look shouts power, and the Anker 778 Thunderbolt Docking Stations lives up to this with its 12 ports that include two might, front-facing 10Gbps USB-C ports that can each charge devices at up to 30W.

If you want to add multiple external displays, the dock will support up to four 4K monitors at 60Hz—seriously impressive but expensive when compared to similarly specced docking stations.

The dock lacks any card readers or USB-A charging ports, which might put off some, but if you can live without these, the 778 is a great dock for adding more screens than anyone really needs.

Although macOS compatible, we wouldn’t recommend the Anker 778 dock for Mac users due to its lack of extended display support for Macs.

Computer Accessories, Laptop Accessories

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