Using a single cable to plug in nearly unlimited accessories has been the dream of laptop users for a long time. Kensington’s SD2000P USB-C dock tries to accomplish that, but compromises in form factor and usability spoil the fantasy.
Between a huge and cumbersome power adapter, mounting and locking options that require separate purchases, and serious issues with the USB-C video output in our testing, we simply can’t recommend this dock to anyone.
Is That a Power Adapter, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?
When you open the package for the SD2000P, you might be confused as to which piece is the dock and which is the power adapter. Marketing and promotional images show a tiny, unobtrusive square, less than four inches on its longest side, and indeed, the dock itself is small and feather-light. But it’s accompanied by a massive power adapter, six inches by two, that weighs more than a pound.
This is such an anachronistic inclusion in a small dock meant for USB-C laptops, especially since the maximum power output is just sixty watts, so I took a closer look. There are no Kensington markings on the power adapter, they’re all from generic suppliers, and it’s an identical unit to one supplied with the much larger and more capable LD4650P docking station I also have in for review. In short, it’s an inclusion of convenience on Kensington’s part, not one that actually complements the product or its intended use. Considering that 60-watt adapters can be found that are about the size of a deck of cards, this is a big miss.
Elsewhere in the package, you’ll find a capable and heavy-duty USB-C cable, and…that’s it. Despite the high price and the advertisement of compatibility with a Kensington laptop lock, there’s no lock in the package. And though the dock can be mounted to the back of a VESA-compatible monitor, you’ll need to spend an extra $10 on a steel plate for mounting.
Monitor Options Disappoint
But all those complaints are relatively superficial. After all, the giant, heavy power brick is only really a problem if you intend to travel with a dock. (Which, you know, a laptop user might occasionally want to do. But I’m digressing again.) How does the dock perform on its own?
Not very well, I’m afraid. I used the dock with my Chromebook, the only full “desktop” OS device I have that can output video to USB-C. I was excited to see how Chrome handled two external monitors and its internal screen at once. But I couldn’t, because the Kensington dock couldn’t output to more than one screen at a time, despite its claims of up to 4K resolution support and featuring both a DisplayPort and HDMI port on its side. (To be clear: you can still your laptop’s internal display as a secondary alongside any external monitor.)
Now, to be fair, Kensington never claims that the SD2000P is capable of a dual-monitor function. And it worked well enough in either HDMI or DisplayPort mode, showing no dramatic image quality errors and reaching the maximum refresh rates of my monitors. But still, for a product at this price with multiple video outputs, I expected it to be able to do this relatively simple task.
What about the other functions? The two USB 3.1 Type A ports performed within expected parameters, ditto for the gigabit Ethernet port. But the second USB-C port on the dock, despite handling data fine, can only output a maximum of five watts—that’s compared to 60 watts for the primary USB-C connection. With an adapter that has over 100 watts of juice available, I would have expected the secondary USB-C cable to be able to fast charge phones and tablets at the very least. No dice.
Value is Lacking
Let’s talk about price. Kensington wants $130 for the SD2000P, which is in line with comparable models from the likes of Pluggable, Lenovo, and Dell. But given the miserly lack of lock or mounting options and the poor usability issues I’ve run into, I don’t think I can recommend it over similar models, or even those that are a little more expensive.
Even if you’re only planning to use a single monitor to augment your setup, there’s no reason to limit yourself to a single output in this price range; after all, you might want to expand later. Between the monitor shortcomings, the fast charging limitations, and the massive power brick, there’s just not a lot to like in the SD2000P.
Here’s What We Like
- Small and lightweight
- 4K resolution support
And What We Don't
- No dual monitor functionality
- Huge, heavy power adapter
- VESA adapter is a separate purchase