Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock (2013)
It’s been over a year since we last wrote about Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock ($300), an accessory that had already delayed following its initial September 2011 (!) announcement. After plenty of changes, it has become a real product, so you can hit the order button on Belkin’s website to have one shipped your way. Just as originally promised, the finished unit adds a number of ports to your Mac, making it most attractive to users who need to use lots of peripherals.
The Thunderbolt Express Dock’s back now features a total of ten ports. From left to right, you have Ethernet, FireWire 800, two Thunderbolt ports, audio in and out, three USB 3.0 ports, and a power input. Gone is the HDMI port that was previously expected, and even today, the Dock doesn’t include the necessary Thunderbolt cable for connection to your Mac. Be ready to pony up $29 or $39 for that, too.
Updated: Having tested the Thunderbolt Express Dock for an extended period of time, the biggest comment we can make about it is that it works pretty much exactly as expected. Much like a multi-port USB hub, the most significant thing you hope for from a product like this is reliability, and in all of our testing with various Thunderbolt, USB, and FireWire devices, it achieves the basic goal of plugging a whole bunch of stuff into the back of a station and then connecting it to a Mac with one Thunderbolt cable. To the extent that the cable pokes through the front of the Dock, it makes sense for how the average person would use it, enabling most cables and the significant included power supply to dangle behind it.
From a performance standpoint, we were expecting to see hiccups—but didn’t during typical testing. While it is possible to saturate the data pipeline, and the USB 3.0 ports are limited to half the peak output of USB, most users connecting a large number of devices won’t be using them all at once or testing their speeds. Given the Thunderbolt Express Dock’s prolonged development period, ultra speed-conscious users may well seek out newer Thunderbolt 2-specific options; Belkin calls this “Thunderbolt 2 compatible,” but doesn’t promise faster speeds. Everyone else will be satisfied with this model’s solid performance, and at its now reduced MSRP of $200, less likely to have problems with the price.
- Apple takes 15 percent of subscription fees for Apple TV signups
- Apple takes 15 percent of subscription fee for Apple TV signups
- Security change in iOS 8.3 limits some file manager and transfer apps
- Apple Watch Sport, 42mm case and black Sport band top pre-sale estimates
- Report: Apple Watch Sport comes with three band pieces, not two separate bands
- iLounge Weekly coming out Monday, subscribe now
- Apple vying for artist exclusives for streaming music service; family plan?
- Report: Apple has spent $38 million on Apple Watch TV ads
- Apple Watch bands also experiencing delayed shipping times
- Apple Watch models sell out quickly, shipping estimates now 4-6 weeks or later
- Scosche MagicMount XL Dash/Window
- Theo Power Jump + Power Jump Wireless for iPhone 6
- VERT Wearable Fitness Monitor
- OORT SmartFinder, SmartLED + SmartSocket
- RooCase Exec Tough for iPhone 6 Plus
- Pronto Smart Remote System
- iWalk Extreme Spartan
- EnerPlex Surfr for iPhone 6
- IK Multimedia iRig 2 Guitar Interface
- PowerSkin Pop’n 3 for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
- How do I share one iCloud Photo Library within a family?
- Can I turn off the app icons that appear in the bottom corner on the lock screen?
- Why do I have two separate conversations with the same person in Messages?
- Can I transfer the existing version of an app to my new iPhone?
- How do I quickly erase all of the contacts on my old iPhone?
- How do I disassociate my phone number from iMessage?
- How do I stop Siri from randomly waking up?
- How do I cancel a print job on iOS?
- How do I make my camera LED flash when my iPhone rings?
- How do I re-sync contacts to my vehicle after switching to a new iPhone?