Elgato’s dabbled in Thunderbolt before with its Thunderbolt SSD and Thunderbolt Drive+, but now it’s taking a stab at docking stations with the aptly named Thunderbolt Dock ($230). Much like other docks we’ve seen, this unit is made to offer extra ports while only requiring a single connection back to the Mac. Something like this is especially useful for those using a MacBook Air. Read on for hands-on impressions.
Thunderbolt Dock includes nine ports, plus one for the 12V power adapter. There are two Thunderbolt ports—one is input, the other can be used for daisy chaining extra peripherals—an HDMI port, an Ethernet port, three USB 3.0 ports with support for bus-powered devices, an audio input port, and one for audio out. That’s comparable to Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock which we’ve tried and liked, although this one includes HDMI rather than FireWire 800, and comes with a Thunderbolt cable.
Much like Belkin’s dock, there aren’t a lot of surprises here. Plug everything in, and it just works, as it should. The HDMI port is a notable feature, although pretty much any machine with Thunderbolt should be able to AirPlay to Apple TV, which is a less expensive solution. We look forward to the day when a power cord is no longer needed, but at this point, Elgato’s dock is as good as any other solution we’ve seen.