An Affordable Workflow Station?
Kingston Workflow Station and USB mini-Hub is a convenient package for content creators and for users relying on USB-based storage. The dock provides a single point of communication for multiple sources whereas sources are pocket-friendly in size for on-the-go requirement and consolidation later on.
Build Quality - 8/10
Features - 9/10
Performance - 9/10
Value - 8/10
- Up to 4x Readers can be connected
- USB 3.2 Gen 2 Interface
- Dedicated Power
- Universal Adapter
- Convenient and Stylish Docking Solution
- Somewhat loose connection between the station and the reader
- 5Gbps limit on the reader
- Plastic Material
Docks play a pivotal role for content creators and particularly for the on-the-go persons who are traveling and want to transfer their data involving heavy images and videos to their storage drives. There are different solutions to this particular requirement from various manufacturers. I have a key interest in docks and have tested quite a few on another media site but using a different platform, i.e., Thunderbolt connectivity. This time around, I am testing something unique, something that stands out from the competition given its form, function, and versatility. Kingston Workflow Station and Readers is quite unique implementation of fast storage for on-the-go users, and we can see why and how this content is all about it.
- Transfer video, photos, and audio from multiple sources at once
- Use only the hub and readers that fit your setup
- Use the card readers on the go via their included USB-C cables
- Workflow Station products support USB 3.2 speeds, which get you to edit quicker
So, what is the concept here? We have readers, and we have a station. What is the connection, and how are they related? These are important questions. There are essentially 3 different readers:
- USB miniHub [Provided with the Workflow Station by default]
- SD Reader
- microSD Reader
Each of these readers serves a different functionality, as the names indicate. What does miniHub do? It provides two USB ports for connectivity. We will cover this reader in this article later. These readers are small products that you can easily carry in your pocket, along with a USB C cable. This is convenience at its best. Why a dock or station? Simple, let’s say you have taken pictures on a microSD card, and you have video on an SD card. In addition, you have your regular flash drives holding your data.
Now you are back at home or your workplace and want to dump all this data on your main drive. Would you connect three cables to your PC? Would it not be convenient to just connect one cable and let it handle all the connectivity? Indeed it is, and this is exactly what the Kingston Workflow Station does. You can connect up to 4x readers to a single dock, and this dock is connected to your PC using a single USB C cable. That is simple and convenient! I hope by now you would have grasped the concept.
Packaging and Unboxing
The product is shipped inside a packing box that is made of a cardboard box. Capture, Connect, and Create are the three main words signifying and highlighting the philosophy of this product. The workflow station is using a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, which is a good move, though I would have loved to see a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface.
There is a picture of a station with 3x readers installed and one reader placed in front of it. This shows the robustness and flexibility of the unit in terms of handling and connectivity. Package content is also listed here.
That was the overlay. There is another box inside that overlay, highlighting the same philosophy.
Now we have opened the box. On the side, there is a USB miniHub. We can see a USB C cable in the main compartment. This cable is placed over the station.
There are a total of two boxes inside. One has a station and USB C cable, whereas the other has a power adapter and plugs.
It is time to take a look at the main unit and included USB miniHub. But first, take a look at what Kingston is saying about this product. “Kingston’s Workflow Station and Readers provides a flexible system to transfer video, photos, and audio from multiple sources at once. Expedite your post-production workflow and create a file offload setup that fits your needs. The Workflow Station Dock is customizable, so you can use only the USB miniHub, SD readers, or microSD readers that your shoot requires.
Whether you’re on a 4K/8K multi-cam shoot with portable audio recorders for each host or filming B-Roll with drones and GoPros, you can connect up to four readers to the dock simultaneously and transfer footage quickly. The Workflow Station and Readers support USB 3.2 speeds, which get you to your post-production process faster than ever. For added flexibility, the card readers can be used on the go. When you need to shoot on location simply drop the hub or readers you need into your bag and connect them to your laptop using the included USB-C® cable.”
The salient features of the product are:
- Offload Files Quicker
- Flexible Workflow System
- Portable Versatility
- Incredible Performance
- Dock supports up to four Workflow Readers simultaneously
- USB miniHub supports USB-A and USB-C connected devices
- Workflow Station Dock supports USB 3.2 Gen 2 speeds
The dock is mainly made of plastic material. There is an external housing that seems to be made of aluminum material, and it has a Kingston branding in black color. This black and silver combination is quite appealing. The dimension of this unit is 160.27×70.27×55.77mm.
Obviously, this station is not for your traveling needs. Rather, it will wait for you in your home or office. You will take the readers for your on-the-go requirements. The station has a stepped design where the two ports on the back have more height compared to the two ports on the front. This gives a bold yet stylish look to this unit.
Looking at the top of the station, we can see a total of 4x ports to which up to 4x readers can be connected. This is the beauty of this design. You don’t need to connect all four readers. Rather, connect as many as you need per your requirement, but the limit is four, and no, you can’t interconnect two stations. The station provides a USB Type-C interface in each port. Each interface is rated for USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type C. What does that mean? This means that you get 10Gbps bandwidth or data transfer rate per port. While this is good thinking, there is a catch. Each reader module is rated for USB 3.2 Gen 1, meaning the data transfer rate per reader is 5Gbps.
This is the bottleneck or limit of this system. While you have a 10Gbps interface at your disposal, you can’t use it because the readers are capped at 5Gbps. I can see the rationale behind this. Connecting 4 readers and using them at a time will take a toll on the overall bandwidth. Hence, providing a total bandwidth of 10Gbps (coming from the station) to all connected readers would make up for some data transfer hit.
We can see that each housing has two studs. Each reader has cutouts or insets on the main housing that align with these studs when installing the reader in the housing. This is done to provide a firm connection. Unfortunately, this design does not work. We have observed that readers wobble once inserted in the housing.
There are two ports on the rear. One is the USB Type C port, which has an interface of USB 3.2 Gen 2. The other is a power port.
Looking at the rear of the station, there is a large-size label. The part number of this station is WFS-U. It is rated for a total of 60W at 12V. It is made in Taiwan. There are two large-size rubber feet as well. These will prevent scratching the surface on which the station will be placed.
There is a black color USB C cable having Type-C to Type-C connectors. It has quite a long length, and this is where Kingston has my praise.
Let’s take a look at the USB mini-Hub (reader) included in the box. It has a dimension of 62.87×16.87x50mm. The complete housing is finished in a silver color. One might take it for an aluminum material, which is not the case as it is made of plastic material. There is a Kingston branding in black color towards the top on the front side.
There are two ports on the top of the USB mini-Hub. These are:
- USB-A (Blue color)
The user can connect up to two USB drives together on these drives.
Looking at the base of this USB mini-Hub, there is a USB Type-C port there. This side makes a connection with the Workflow station. This reader has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface meaning it is rated for up to 5Gbps data transfer rate.
The above picture shows two readers. One is a USB mini-Hub, whereas the other is an SD Card reader that we will cover in the next content along with the SD Card. So, stay tuned for the next exciting article.
The above picture shows both readers installed on the dock.
Kingston has provided a dedicated power adapter with the dock, which is pretty much a standard these days. This is why I mention that the station is not your on-the-go device, but the readers are. There is an LED indicator on the main housing that lights to show the power status.
Looking at the opposite end, we can see that this adapter is universal, meaning it is modular, and any plug can be installed depending on the country’s power grid frequency. It is rated for 100 to 240V with 50/60 Hz at 1.8A. The output is 60W maximum at 12V using 5.0A.
Kingston has provided four power plugs that a user can use depending on the native power grid.
We have used a two-pin EU plug.
Kingston has provided a user guide as well.
The Kingston Workflow Station is ready for some testing.
We have used the following test bench configuration for the testing:
- AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
- GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER
- EKWB Nucleus CR360 Lux D-RGB
- Sabrent Rocket 32GB DDR5 4800MHz
- XPG S50 Lite 1TB NVMe SSD [For OS]
- Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus 2TB NVMe SSD [For Data]
- MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio
- Be Quiet! Straight Power 11 850W Platinum
- Open-Bench Setup
Windows 11 is used with all updates till the date of testing. We have used the following test suites:
- CrystalDiskMark Benchmark
- ATTO Disk Benchmark
- Blackmagic Disk Benchmark
The drives we have used are:
- Kingston Data Traveller Max 512GB
- Sabrent Rocket NANO V2 2TB
As soon as the Workflow Station and readers were set up, our PC detected and displayed the SD card along with the flash drive that we connected.
The above picture shows a close-up view of the connected drives. Please note that actual testing was done later on using different drive configurations, as stated above.
Test Result for Data Traveler Max 512GB
Let’s take a look at the result from Kingston USB 3.2 Gen 2 drive. This drive is capable of doing 10Gbps, but it will be limited to 5Gbps since this is the limitation of the USB mini-Hub that we have connected to the Kingston Workflow Station, and the drive is connected to this reader.
The CystalDiskInfo picked the drive and showed the statistics of the drive, which were fine.
Next, we ran CrystalDiskMark, and indeed, we saw that the drive was operating up to 5Gbps data transfer rate. This is not the limitation of the drive itself but rather a limitation of the reader. The performance in the context of USB 3.2 Gen 1 is good.
Next, we ran the ATTO disk benchmark, and we got a similar result in a sequential read and write result.
Blackmagic is an important benchmark tool that measures not only the bandwidth but also the capability of the given drive to perform under listed formats and at what speeds it can operate on those formats. The Data Traveler Max was operating at half of its rated speeds but still does fair here.
Test Result for Sabrent Rocket NANO V2 2TB
We decided to test the USB 3.2 Gen 2 capability of the Workflow station itself, and for that, we needed a drive that could be connected directly to either port of this dock. The Sabrent came to the rescue, and we were able to complete what we wanted. This drive is capable of doing more than 10Gbps; hence, it is a perfect candidate for this test.
The CrystalDiskInfo picked the Sabrent drive as well and displayed the statistics correctly.
And here we go! We are almost touching that mark of 10Gbps here. The Kingston Workflow station has passed the rated speeds. Even the Random 4K speeds are nice as well.
ATTO Disk Benchmark also tells the same story as the CrystalDiskMark did.
We have impressive numbers in the Blackmagic disk benchmark as well.
Kingston Workflow Station is a docking solution that provides a unique way of catering to your on-the-go requirement of handling data, be it photography, videography, or any other form of content creation, or you are carrying important data with you. Obviously, you can’t carry the station with you, but you can carry its readers. I almost wrote, “its children.” I digress. This is a combo design where we have pocket-size readers with every reader providing a specific function, but at the end, all readers would come to the station.
There are three readers or workers, however, you name them:
- USB mini-Hub (Included in the Workflow Station)
- SD Reader
- Micro SD Reader
One would need to buy the SD Reader and micro SD Reader separately as per the requirement. In case you only need either of these readers, then you can skip the station altogether because these readers can also be connected directly to the PC. We will cover that in our next article.
Coming back to the main topic here, which is the Workflow station itself, this station can house up to 4x readers and provide a single connection with the PC. This is a convenient and effective way of handling all your data coming from various sources (readers). You don’t need to connect all readers separately to the PC, occupying more USB ports; instead, a single port would serve the purpose.
The main station has a dimension of 160.27×70.27×55.77mm. It is mainly made from plastic material. There seems to be what looks like an aluminum material on the outside with Kingston branding in the center. It can house 4x readers using a USB Type-C interface. This station has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface capable of doing up to 10Gbps. However, the reader is capable of doing only 5Gbps (USB 3.2 Gen 1). We have noticed that readers, once inserted in the housing, are not firm; rather, they wobble.
So, caution needs to be exercised. There is a larger length USB Type-C to Type-C cable provided with the station for connection with the PC. The station is powered by a power adapter, which is a universal design. Kingston has provided 4x power plugs, and users can use power plugs according to the frequency of the native grid frequency and power rating. The power adapter is rated for 100 to 240V at 50/60Hz. The output is 60W maximum using 12V at 5A.
There is a USB mini-Hub included with this station. It has two ports, USB-A and USB-C, allowing the users to connect up to two USB drives to a single reader. This can be connected directly to the PC or to the station, depending on how you have set up the Workflow station. This reader has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface; hence, it is capped at 5Gbps.
We have tested the Kingston Workflow Station and mini-Hub using Kingston Data Traveler Max 512GB and Sabrent Rocket NANO V2 2TB drives. These drives have USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interfaces capable of doing 10 Gbps and 20 Gbps, respectively. The Workflow station picked both drives quickly, and both were shown on the PC. In our testing, we have verified the rated speed of the Kingston Workflow Station and USB mini-Hub speeds as well.
The Kingston Workflow Station is listed at USD 87.45 at the time of this writing. It is a convenient and effective docking station that provides the functionality of transferring videos, photos, and audio from various sources at once at high speed.
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[Hardware Reviewer & Editor]
Meet Nauman Siddique, a highly experienced computer science graduate with more than 15 years of knowledge in technology. Nauman is an expert in the field known for his deep understanding of computer hardware.
As a tech tester, insightful reviewer, and skilled hardware editor, Nauman carefully breaks down important parts like motherboards, graphics cards, processors, PC cases, CPU coolers, and more.
- 15+ years of PC Building Experience
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