Kingston Workflow Station: A Dock With Its Own Docking Docklets

Never lose your SD card reader again

Key Takeaways

  • The Kingston Workflow Station is a dock with plugin modules for SD card readers, and other USB gadgets.
  • The modules can be used standalone by adding a USB-C cable.
  • The dock runs at fast USB 3.2 Gen. 1 speeds—up to 5Gbps.
The Kingston Workflow Station dock.
Kingston

The Kingston Workflow Station is USB-C dock, into which you plug more little docks.

At first glance, it seems like a pointless way to complicate a simple desktop dock, but if we ever get to leave our homes again, it’s going to be quite a clever way to organize and use your peripherals. Then again, maybe a dock that docks into a dock has a few too many connections?

"I actually don’t like it for reliability reasons," UI designer and photographer Ian Tindale told Lifewire via Twitter. "The chain of connections is maximized, not minimized, which most likely equates to a comparatively short useful life."

Kingston Workflow Station

The name might sound like the name of a Jamaican sound system, but the Kingston Workflow Station is a desktop dock for people working with audio, video, and photos. The main dock, which connects to a computer via USB-C, has four slots in the top, like an undersized toaster.

Into these slots you push modules. There are three modules available; a USB miniHub, with USB-C and USB-A ports; an SD-card reading hub, with two slots; and a two-slot microSD hub. The main unit comes with the USB miniHub.

Why is this any better than just a regular hub, or just plugging SD card readers into the computer directly? Well, it’s not, really.

The Kingston Workflow Station
 Kingston

You can achieve the same effect with the stuff you already have. But it does make stuff neater, and you can customize the dock to do exactly what you want. Need eight microSD card readers? No problem.

Mobile And Desktop

The feature that tips this over the edge is that the individual units can be used alone, just by connecting a USB-C cable. So, instead of having a desktop dock, plus a bunch of portable card readers to take out on a shoot, you can use the same reader in both places.

And instead of losing, say, your SD card readers in the back of a drawer during a year-long pandemic (for instance), you know exactly where they are (on your desk. No, over there, under the candy wrappers). This is a clear advantage, but as Tindale points out, USB is notoriously intolerant of daisy-chain connections like this.

The Kingston Workflow Station miniHub sliding into a backpack pocket.

The final spec that’s worth mentioning is the connection speed. This connects at USB 3.2 Gen. 1 speed, which is 5Gbps, or half the 10Gbps maximum you get from USB 3.2 Gen. 2. That’s enough for simultaneous transfer, although if you’re hooking up an external SSD for editing video footage, you might want something faster. 

I can see this being useful at a professional fashion photoshoot, for example. Big shoots have an assistant whose sole task is to safely back up the cards from the camera ASAP, and a modular setup like this would help to keep things organized.

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