Laptop Mag Verdict
The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station is a tank that not only provides four 4K extended displays, but the means to connect them either with HDMI or DisplayPort inputs. But a lack of Thunderbolt 4 and a hefty price tag hold it back.
Strong port selection
100W Power Delivery
Chunky, tank-like design
No SD card readers
No Thunderbolt 4
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Ports: 4 x DisplayPort 1.2++ (3840 x 2160), 4 x HDMI 2.0 (3840 x 2160), 4 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm audio/mic jack
Supports: Devices running Windows, macOS and Chrome OS.
Docking stations give our laptops the extra edge to become the desktop replacements we always knew they could be. The latest and greatest docks deliver external monitor support with 4K resolution capabilities, and companies such as Satechi are even bringing 8K resolution into the fold. But Targus, well-known for its plethora of laptop accessories, now offers a different angle: Quad 4K potential.
The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station, also known as the Four Head 4K Dock, doesn’t just offer the standard two or three video outputs to transform your laptop into a multi-screen setup, but eight different ports. With four DisplayPort 1.2 on top of another four HDMI 2.0 outputs, the docking station can support a single 5K and four 4K displays — plus your laptop screen.
Targus’ screen hoarder also comes with a mix of noteworthy USB-A 3.2 and USB-C 3.2 ports to connect all the peripherals any laptop user would need and charge other devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack and Ethernet slot for good measure. What it doesn’t offer is the latest generation of connectivity, Thunderbolt 4, along with a worthwhile price tag. For $482.99/£429.99, we’d at least expect an SD card reader, too. Regardless, if you’re after maximum screen real estate, Targus’s docking station delivers the plots of visual land.
Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station price and availability
Priced at $482.99/£429.99, the USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station is a pricey venture. It’s considerably more expensive than the $299.99 Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station and $289.99 Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 docking station, which offer Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and up to a single 8K and dual 4K resolution. However, what you’re paying for is the amount of HDMI and DisplayPort connections at your disposal.
While Targus doesn’t supply any HDMI or DisplayPort cables in the box, like the IOGEAR 4K USB-C and DisplayPort KVMP Switch, displays should already come with these essential cords so this isn’t an issue. Targus packs in a 180W AC power adapter, along with different power tips to connect to any laptop's power port and USB-C to USB-A cable to connect your laptop. These are handy, but seeing as it already delivers 100W Power Delivery through a USB-C connection, the power tips will, more often than not, go unused.
You could get the best laptop for under $500 or even the best Chromebook on the market today for that kind of money, and if you’re already splashed a considerable amount of cash on four 4K monitors, an extra $482 will put a big dent in many customer’s wallets.
Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station design
Make room on your desks, people. Targus’ USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station is a hefty unit that requires ample space to function, but at least its port setup is neatly placed.
A majority of its ports are along the rear, with the HDMI and DisplayPort outputs uniformly stacked so there’s enough room to plug in every cable without it looking like a muddled mess. The other half of the back is used to connect peripherals — preferably wireless — such as a mouse, keyboard and USB sticks or external drives. Port placement is key for any docking station, and the Four Head Dock allows for easy cable management.
There are also a few handy ports placed along either side of the docking station, namely a USB-A 3.2 port that can be easily accessed to plug and charge your phone, along with a USB-C 3.2 port and the 3.5mm audio jack. It would have been nice to see the power button placed on the front instead of having to reach around the back to turn it on or off, but otherwise, don’t expect to see a mishmash of cables on your desk with this dock managing them.
As for the docking station itself, it’s a plain, chunky gray slab that won’t do much to spice up your personalized desk setup. There’s a questionable rubberized grip placed on top of the device, which may be Targus’ way of inviting owners to place more flavorful objects on top of it (like this Stormtrooper). Otherwise, it’s a magnet for specs of dust that can’t be brushed off, and the crevices along the edge will quickly become a home for even more dust.
With dimensions of 8.2 x 3.5 x 1.7 inches and weighing 1.5 pounds, you’ll want to leave enough room on your desk for Targus’ docking station, and hope you’ll never have to relocate. Compared to other sizeable docking stations, Targus’ miniature tank eclipses the Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station ( 7.3 x 2.9 x 1.3 inches, 1 pounds) and Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 docking station (7.1 x 3 x 1.2-inches, 0.9 pounds). However, these don’t offer eight different video outputs along with other ports, so it’s understandable why Universal Quad 4K Docking Station is as big as it is.
Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station ports
The USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station may as well be called an Eight Head 4K Dock with the number of video outputs it boasts, and the additional USB-A and USB-C ports are just the icing on the cake. It’s a shame there isn’t a Thunderbolt 4 port in sight, but the level of connectivity customers are getting is enough to bring out the extra potential in their laptops.
Along the rear, the first half of the device is taken up by four DisplayPort 1.2++ (3840 x 2160) outputs placed on top of four HDMI 2.0 (3840 x 2160) outputs. Users can use a combination of the two video outputs to make up the four displays, and it also supports viewing modes for two and three monitors. The other half is equipped with three USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 ports, a USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 host port with 100W Power Delivery to connect your laptop to, a Gigabit Ethernet slot, and power in/power out outlets.
On the left side, there’s a handy 3.5mm audio/mic jack and another USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, while the right side sports a single USB 3.2 Gen 1 port mainly used to charge other devices. However, all the USB-A ports support fast charging, which is nice to see considering many docking stations throw in a previous-gen USB-A 2.0 port.
Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station performance
The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station offers the snappy performance you’d expect from a $483 accessory, leaving me impressed with the amount of peripherals and devices I could utilize without having to think about charging or the connections I needed. It made my work setup easy to play around with.
Whatever I wanted to be powered, from my iPhone SE (2020) to my iPad Air (2020), I could easily connect to either one of the USB-A ports or USB-C port and quickly give them a boost in charge — all while accessing their files. Another major bonus is switching my whole setup on the fly thanks to the single USB-C connection. All I had to do was plug out my Dell Latitude laptop in exchange for my more demanding Asus ROG Strix 17 (2021) and all my other connections were still in place.
As you might expect, the Four Head Dock powered the laptop without a sweat. I had my Corsair K65 RGB Mini keyboard, HyperX Cloud II Wireless headphones via USB-A stick, and Razer Naga Pro mouse plugged in while beating monsters to a pulp in Monster Hunter Rise on an external monitor. Don’t forget, my smartphone and tablet were charging via the USB-C/USB-A port at fast speeds, too.
Trying to find the monitors to make the most of Targus' docking station was tricky, but I stole my colleague’s three Asus monitor setup to test out the many video outputs the dock offers. Lo and behold, I changed my laptop into a three monitor desktop setup, with my laptop adding an additional screen. Unsurprisingly, both the DisplayPort and HDMI outputs worked like a charm.
While I transferred files via the docking station post-haste thanks to its Thunderbolt 3 compatibility, the lack of Thunderbolt 4 means you shouldn’t expect the 40Gbps transfer speeds the latest generation of connectivity boasts. Another shortcoming is the lack of any SD card readers, which means professionals that need to transfer data or store photos on an SD card will have to purchase another accessory; unless there’s already an SD card reader fitted into their laptop.
The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station is the only dock out there that not only provides four 4K extended displays, but also the means to connect them either with HDMI or DisplayPort inputs. That, along with the ability to easily connect and charge a plethora of peripherals and other devices, makes this one of the best laptop docking stations on the market — but you’ll be paying a hefty price for an even heftier dock.
Docking stations are jumping to having Thunderbolt 4 connectivity as standard, meaning Targus’ Four Head Dock does fall behind its competition. With a $482.99 price tag, those who own or are planning to buy four 4K displays will have a hard time mustering up the extra cash (especially seeing how 4K displays are already an expensive investment. However, if you’re in need of an all-in-one accessory to make the most out of your laptop, four monitors or less, this USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station will do the job.
For those looking for something much smaller with 4K display capabilities, check out Kensington’s SD1650P USB-C 4K Portable Docking Station. Plus, to find out the real differences between a docking station and a USB-C hub, we’ve got you covered.
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.