Brydge Stone Pro TB4 Dual View Platform Review – Great for Mac, Windows and Chrome OS

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review Did you call in your prepared office at home or at work? I seem to be constantly messing with both. Sometimes it’s because there’s something new to review, but usually it’s because I’m trying to improve planning for how I work at a given time. A key component since the introduction of Thunderbolt MacBooks has been a powerful performance dock for connecting monitors and accessories. Brydge has updated its Stone Pro model to support dual monitors via Thunderbolt 4. Could this be the solution?

What is that?

The Brydge Stone Pro TB4 Dual Display Dock is a multi-port dock that can charge your laptop (up to 90W) while adding support for dual monitors, USB-A and C ports as well as an SD card reader and an Ethernet port. All this in a tilting design that can double as a laptop jack.

What’s in the box?

  • 1 x Stone Pro TB4 Docking Station
  • 1 x Vertical Stand
  • 1 x User Manual and Information Card
  • 1 x Thunderbolt 4 cable
  • 1 x Power Adapter + US & International Type I Cables

Hardware Specifications

Compatibility:
macOS: 11.0 or later | 2020 MacBook Air and M1 MacBook Pro Limited to One Screen
Windows: version 10 and 11
Surface Pro: Surface Pro 7 – Single Display via USB-C | Surface Pro 8 – Dual Monitors via USB4
Chrome OS:
display support: Via Thunderbolt 4 – Single @ 8K / 30 Hz or Dual @ 4K / 60 Hz
Energy: 135W power supply | Passes 90W of power to charge the connected computer
ports:
3 Thunderboltâ„¢ 4
1 x USB-A (2.0 5V / 1.5A)
3 x USB-A (3.3 Gen 2 10 Gb/s)
1 x Thunderboltâ„¢ 4 PD 3.0 90W
1 x SD Card (SD4.0UHS-II)
1 x Ethernet (Gigabit)
1 x Audio/Microphone
1 x dock
Dimensions: 198 x 75 x 131 mm | 338 grams

Design and Features

Who said that expansion tubs have to be ugly or square in shape? Bridge certainly doesn’t think so.

The Stone Pro TB4 has a sloping top surface along with a card reader, USB-A port, audio ports, a Thunderbolt connection to the laptop, and a power button on the front edge.

On the back side there are connections for AC power, 3 Thunderbolt 4 devices, Ethernet, and 3 other USB-A devices.

The underside of the Brydge Stone Pro TB4 Dual Display Stand has a full footbed to provide traction on your desktop.

If you don’t have a lot of desktop real estate, they also include a vertical stand to reduce the footprint.

Set up

Communication is easy and direct. Find out if you want the Stone Pro flat or vertical (with the stand) and then if all the cables will go to your devices. Next, connect the power adapter to the docking station and the appropriate wall plug cable to the power adapter before connecting it to the power on the wall.

We’ll tackle the external screen (or two) next. It’s worth noting that all the monitor connections on the docking station are Thunderbolt, so you’ll have to get some new cables (Thunderbolt to DisplayPort or Thunderbolt to HDMI) or Thunderbolt adapters to work with the cables you have. You’ll connect it to any of the three Thunderbolt ports on the back of the dock.

You can now connect a wired data Ethernet cable and any USB-A devices you have to the remaining ports.

Finally, connect your computer via a Thunderbolt 4 cable to the port on the front of the Stone Pro Dock. Press the button to turn on the dock and you should be ready to go.

Since your computer is now connected to your displays through a new device, you may need to take a minute and change any display settings and/or extended desktop layouts.

performance

I jumped into the 2020 MacBook M1 as my work computer before I realized that it originally only supported one external display. It ended up being a good thing for me, but it did cause some annoying issues when bouncing between that and my personal 2017 Intel-based MacBook Pro that supports dual external displays. I’ll dive into this a little more in a moment.

When you have the dock fully equipped with the cables attached, you’ll notice two things. One, depending on your cables and the amount of connector cases, dock space grows quite a bit. It’s not just a backlight because connecting to your laptop is in the foreground. The photo appears on the front of the box just as much. It can also spoil stability as heavy cables can begin to lift the front of the dock off your desk. The vertical rack provides a solution in this scenario, but I found that the dock fit in the rack was loose and when the dock was run vertically, the cables looked messy.

After trying a few different settings, I landed on keeping the dock flat and centered under my screen. Most days, I place the laptop on an inclined surface with the lid closed like this.

The only perk I had to offer was to run the front TB4 cable around the right side of the dock, around the back and left side of my laptop so it wouldn’t interfere with where the laptop’s front edge would be placed. on the desk. When I need more viewing space, I can raise my monitor up and open the monitor on my laptop underneath. If you power your computer to the left of the screen, and only have the left side ports, you may need to buy a longer TB4 cable as a result of putting it in the dock.

I connect a lot of things to my laptop. Usually about 6 USB devices connected; Keyboard, microphone, webcam, speakers, streaming platform, and Lightning cable. Stone Pro can handle it all if you choose to connect a single monitor and move your webcam and Lightning cable to USB-C connections. Otherwise, I’d be serialized to a USB-A hub in my monitor which isn’t the best case scenario, but it hasn’t caused a problem yet.

Overall, the Stone Pro has worked and still works very well and looks on the desk as far as I’m concerned. I only encountered one problem. With two monitors connected, the MacBook Pro 2017 works great. I use the built-in LCD as well as both external monitors. However, when I plug in my 2020 M1 MacBook Pro, it doesn’t know what to do. Both external screens remain black and I have to physically remove one of the cables from the back of the Stone Pro so my MacBook can turn it on and display on the remaining connected screen. This is not a docking issue as far as I can tell it looks like the MacBook should be able to ignore the second connected monitor. Instead, it’s as if he has stage fright and just shuts down.

Brydge states that the Stone Pro TB4 has 12 ports. I deal with this number. It’s a powered dock as you’d expect, and it has to be connected to a computer in order to work, so I’ll claim the power connector and Thunderbolt 4 to the computer don’t count. I also think the card reader, while incredibly useful is not an outlet per se. Regardless, that doesn’t make the dock any less functional, not only is it not fully pluggable as it might appear on reading when you see the number 12. More like 9.

One last thing is the 2020 M1 compatibility issue. It is fully compatible in that the dock works as intended, and cannot support two external monitors which is a limitation of the computer, not the docking. Brydge did mention this in two areas on the product page, but not on the packaging I saw. Not all MacBook users are aware of the limitations of their hardware, so I think this can be called more explicitly.

what I like

  • Durable construction with a relatively compact footprint
  • Angled design doubles as a laptop
  • The included stand allows the dock to be vertical instead

What I would like to change

  • Move the position of the computer port TB4. The central front is weird.
  • Clear the call on the packaging that dual screens are not supported in 2020 M1 MacBooks.

last thoughts

The Brydge Stone Pro TB4 is a killer expansion dock for modern laptops. I appreciate being able to keep the base on my desk, but it’s hidden under my laptop in case I need to plug in something new, or unplug/reconnect to troubleshoot a problem of my own making. If you haven’t gotten into the TB4 dock yet, this is a great one. It should be on sale very soon.

price: $349.99
Where do I buy?: Brydge and B&H Photo
source: This product sample was provided by Brydge.

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