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Satechi USB-C Slim Dock For 24-Inch iMac Review: A Most Mac-A-Like Accessory

Apple's enforced port minimalism has its drawbacks, but here's one style-matching way to expand.

Satechi USB-C Slim Dock for iMac sits between the iMac monitor and keyboard.
Satechi USB-C Slim Dock for iMac sits atop of iMac's foot.
Dan Ackerman/CNET

The current flagship Apple all-in-one desktop is the 24-inch M1 iMac. It's a great update to the iMac line in terms of style, design and power, but it also leaves little flexibility for ports and connections. The iMac includes either two or four USB-C ports depending on the configuration. Even with the four-port version, only two are Thunderbolt (faster transfer) ports. 

Yes, it's easy to hook up a USB-C dock with extra ports, but adding a simple dongle-connected box breaks the clean symmetry of the iMac's design. There's got to be a better way. And according to accessory maker Satechi, it's the Satechi USB-C Slim Dock. 

8.0

Satechi USB-C Slim Dock For 24-Inch iMac

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Like

  • Matches the look and feel of an iMac
  • Includes M.2 and SD card support
  • Excellent integration with the iMac's foot

Don't Like

  • Expensive for a USB-C dock
  • Only two color options
  • Doesn't support video output

Read more: Apple iMac 24-inch Review

This add-on dock includes USB-A and USB-C ports, plus slots for both micro and regular-size SD cards and an internal slot for an M.2 storage drive. Here's the complete breakdown:

  • 1 Type-C Upstream Port 
  • 2 USB 2.0 Ports (480Mbps)
  • 1 Micro SD Slot (UHS-I)
  • 1 SD Card Slot (UHS-I)
  • 1 USB-A (10Gbps, data only)
  • 1 M.2 SSD Slot 
  • 1 USB-C (10Gbps, data only)

That's a reasonable collection of ports, but by itself it's not what anyone would pay $149 for. What makes the Satechi dock potentially worth such a hefty investment is that it's designed to fit seamlessly onto the iMac, blending in as if it were part of the original hardware. I'd call it a Mac-a-like design. 

Satechi USB-C Slim Dock for iMac

The dock slides right over the iMac's metal foot. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The aluminum body is color-matched to the blue and silver iMacs, and it has a cutout on the bottom that slots perfectly over the 24-inch iMac's metal foot. Just slide the dock over the foot and it looks like a built-in part of the system -- if you have a blue or silver iMac. I've got an orange one, so there's a not-unattractive contrast there. 

That said, I'd much rather have this product available in every iMac color, especially considering the high price. 

The 11-inch wide dock also has the exact footprint as the iMac's color-matched keyboard, so that can sit on top of the dock/foot combo when not being used, which is a nice bit of decluttering. 

Depending on your work needs or equipment signal chain, the dock's weaknesses might never come up, or might be deal-breakers. The ports don't do video output, and Satechi says the USB-A ports don't support charging, although they charged my iPhone just fine. You also have to eat up one of the USB-C ports on the back of the iMac to connect it.  

Satechi USB-C Slim Dock for iMac
Dan Ackerman/CNET

One of the biggest wins for me was the inclusion of an internal M.2 drive slot, which is accessed through a panel on the bottom of the dock. Satechi says it supports up to 10Gbps speeds and capacities up to 2TB. That's valuable because the iMac starts at 256GB of storage, and upgrading to 2TB is an extra $800. Meanwhile, you can pick up a 2TB M.2 drive for around $200

My other favorite features are the SD and microSD card slots. These cards don't get used a ton anymore by everyday web surfers, but photographers and other creative types still use them, and gamers use them for the Nintendo Switch and the Valve Steam Deck. I use them for transferring files to a 3D printer, as many 3D printers lack Wi-Fi and instead use either full-size SD or microSD cards. 

Read more: Best 3D Printer for 2022

The Satechi USB-C Slim Dock doesn't do everything, only comes in a couple of colors and costs $149. And you can find perfectly serviceable USB-C hubs for $50 to $100. But if you love the idea of a dock merging perfectly with the iMac's body, or especially need the SD card or M.2 drive features, I can see that justifying the cost. 

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