Kingston Workflow Station full review

The Kingston Workflow Station is a different kind of USB-C dock, focussed on enabling fast file transfers from connected cameras, Flash storage and USB sticks.

It’s aimed at professional photographers and videographers on 4K/8K multi-cam shoots with portable audio recorders or filming B-Roll with recording drones and GoPros and action cameras.

The dock doesn’t feature video ports for connecting external displays or other slots you’ll find on standard USB-C docking stations. This one is dedicated to multiple and simultaneous file offloads from SD and microSD cards.

The Workflow Station connects to your computer via USB-C at a speedy 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance, where many USB-C docks max out at Gen 1's 5Gbps USB-C speed.

Of course, Thunderbolt 3 at 40Gbps is even faster, but, for the features on the Workflow Station, 10Gbps is enough to increase standard USB-C transfer speeds.

Kingston Workflow Station and miniHubs

The modular Workflow Station dock itself has four top-mounted USB-C slots, which is where you place special miniHubs that boast the required connections - for example, for SD cards or microSD cards.

The miniHub connection is USB 3.2 Gen 1, so 5Gbps, but the link from the dock to the computer is Gen 2, so can handle 10Gbps - enough to take on half of the potential eight cards or USB sticks in the miniHubs at full speed.

The dock comes with a miniHub that has a USB-A port and a USB-C port for memory sticks and other storage devices.

You can also purchase a miniHub with two SD card slots and another with two microSD card slots - so you can customise your setup as it suits your storage format needs.

The card slots are in UHS-II format (backwards compatible with UHS-I), so each capable of 312MBps transfer. See our roundup of the best microSD cards.

In tests, the read and write speeds exceeded those in a standard Thunderbolt 3 dock with SD card reader.

There’s potential for up to eight card or USB slots in the dock. To use all eight simultaneously would require a 20Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2x2  connection (8 x 312MBs = 2,500MBs = 20Gbps) bandwidth, but 4 x 312MBs = 1,250MBs = 10Gbps.

Of course, the host computer needs to be capable of that speed, too. Laptops or PCs with 10Gbps USB-C are not the standard, so we’re really looking at Thunderbolt 3 computers as the required host having the files transferred to.

Even better, the miniHubs (weighing 30g) can work independently of the dock, so can be used out and about with you, and can connect straight to your laptop.

That said, the dock itself is light (292g) and reasonably compact (16-x-70-x-56cm) so is pretty portable itself, although its power adapter (xg) takes up space.

Kingston Workflow Station dock

The dock and miniHubs are light because they are made from plastic, which makes them much more portable for photographers than heavier metal cases, but don't expect a cool brushed aluminium finish.

The power adapter does ship with four country converters (US, UK, EU and AU/NZ) so can travel without the need for separate plug adapters.

Price

The Kingston Workflow Station costs £134.95 or US$135.20, with miniHubs priced at £32 or $35.95. 

Verdict

Aimed at pro photographers, the Workflow Station offers fast, simultaneous file transfers in a modular and customisable form, with portability and speed at its core.

For maximum transfer speed, a USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (20Gbps) or Thunderbolt connection would be required, but the ability to tun four memory cards at full speed is still a significant improvement on standard docks with card readers.

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