Laptop Mag Verdict
The Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock is a fantastic travel companion for professionals looking to expand their laptop setup, although it’s lacking a port or two
USB-C pass-through power
Could use more ports
Awkward port placement
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Price: Around £71.99
Ports: 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen1, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen, 1 x HDMI v1.4, 1 x HD VGA, Gigabit Ethernet Port
Supports: USB-C laptops, Windows, macOS, and Chrome OS
Is it a docking station? Is it a USB Type-C hub? What exactly is Kensington’s SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock? That question has been pointlessly rattling around in my head while writing this review. Put simply, it’s a hybrid of the two, and Kensington pulls it off well.
The SD1600P is a special device capable of expanding the number of ports on your laptop while traveling, or providing pass-through power via a USB-C power adapter to charge your laptop and other accessories while stationary. Seeing as it boasts 4K HDMI output, the SD1600P can transform your laptop into a desktop setup, too.
While it could certainly do with an extra port or two, Kensington’s SD1600P mobile dock effectively turns a USB-C hub into an easily portable docking station, even though its execution may not be on the stylish side. Either way, professionals constantly on the move will no doubt appreciate this device, especially at its reasonable price point.
Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock price and availability
The SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock is available at multiple retailers. While it isn’t sold on Kensington’s website it does give you a list of retailers where the dock is available. You’ll find that Amazon offers the lowest price, at $89/£71.
This is reasonably priced compared to other USB-C hubs, and compared to most other docking stations, it’s a bargain.
It’s important to note that your laptop will need to support DisplayPort Alt mode over USB-C in order for the mobile dock to connect to external monitors.
Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock design
The SD1600P is as basic as it gets when it comes with USB-C hubs. It’s small, black and has rounded edges. There is nothing glamorous here, which is perfectly suited for professional settings.
What it lacks in style, it makes up for in size and weight. It comes in at a lightweight 110g, which might as well be a feather when packing it away in your backpack. What’s more, it has a size of 16 x 77.5 x 135.5 millimeters/ 0.62 x 3 x 5.3-inches, making it small enough to easily pick up, move around, and place anywhere you want on your desk. Well, anywhere within its 8-inch USB-C cable.
Don’t fret, the cable doesn’t hang out of the device at all times, as it can conveniently be stored within the dock. However, what I don’t enjoy is the port placement. While USB-C hubs and docking stations expand your laptop setup, they are also fantastic for cable management for a clean desk setup. But that isn’t the case with the SD1600P.
You’ll have a USB-C cable coming out of one end, an HDMI and Ethernet cable on the other, along with a power adapter and two USB-A cables on another side — all in close proximity to your laptop. It looks like a bundle of cables coming out of a hard drive once everything is plugged in.
The mobile dock is made out of a black PC/ABS material, which feels cheap and flimsy. Of course, this is what keeps it lightweight, but I did feel the need to be delicate when placing it in a backpack.
Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock ports
If you’re constantly hopping from one workstation setup to another — something we’re seeing more of now that working from home and at an office is normal — the SD1600P has all the essential ports you need.
On its front, you’ll find one HD VGA port capable of 2048 x 1152-pixel resolution at 60Hz, one HDMI v1.4 that can deliver 3840 x 2160-pixel output at 60Hz, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack.
On the rear, there are two USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports with 5V/2.4A (the fastest standard charging speed) and one USB-C 3.2 Gen1 port. The real kicker? That USB-C port can be used as a pass-through power supply for your laptop, supporting up to 60W of laptop charging.
Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock performance
In practice, the SD1600P Mobile Dock works effortlessly, which is impressive for a small, portable piece of equipment. Working from my Dell Latitude 5410, I loved the ability to simply plug in the mobile dock into my laptop’s USB-C power output and see charging while only using the power adapter for the dock.
Having enough ports to plug it into an external 4K monitor, as well as connect my Razer Naga Pro mouse and Corsair K65 RGB Mini keyboard meant I was free to use all of my laptop’s ports for other things.
The SD1600P also has a built-in charging hub that allows it to power devices when not being used as a docking station. Plug it into a power adapter or pull power from the laptop and charge away. I did find that the mobile dock gets hot when everything is used at once, but it was never concerningly toasty.
Since Apple MackBooks lack ports, USB-C hubs make for the perfect laptop accessory. With this in mind, it’s unfortunate that the mobile dock’s power pass-through functionality doesn’t work on the 16-inch MacBook Pro (2020). It works with Apple's recent line of M1 Macbook models, but only supports a single video output.
It does, however, have Samsung DeX support, which is a nifty feature. It means you can plug in your Samsung smartphone and turn it into a desktop-like experience, which is a nice added feature for the mobile dock even though it can only extend to one monitor.
While I wish it had a DisplayPort ++ instead of the HD VGA port (it even looks like there is enough room for one more port), the hub effectively extended the port options on my laptop. Better yet, I can easily take it along with me wherever I go.
The Kensington SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock is unique as it acts as a viable docking station and an excellent USB-C hub for laptop users on the move. Its USB-C passthrough power supply and additional ports will free up all your other laptop inputs while charging your laptop and any other devices connected to it. Don’t need a power supply? That’s fine, as it can also be powered by your laptop.
While Kensington labels the SD1600P USB-C Mobile Dock as a docking station on the device’s listing page, it also claims it can use a laptop’s battery when traveling — which is, by the company’s definition, a USB-C hub. In truth, it simply brings the best of both worlds. If you can excuse the awkward port placement and don’t have a 16-inch MacBook Pro (2020), this mobile dock is a solid purchase for traveling professionals.
Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.