Thunderbolt docks have never been too popular, but there’s nothing wrong with having more options. The latest competitor to Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock and the handful of others on the market is Thunderbolt Laptop Docking Station ($280) from StarTech.com. Coming in at $20 less than Belkin’s dock, it offers almost all of the same functionality and includes a meter-long cable, plus an extra port the Belkin dock lacks.
The lineup of inputs and outputs on StarTech.com’s dock includes two Thunderbolt ports, three USB 3.0 ports, two audio ports, and one Ethernet port There’s no FireWire, but an HDMI port allows for direct video output. Most people will probably find that totally acceptable, considering the prevalence of HDMI displays and monitors over FireWire accessories. The fact that the Thunderbolt cable comes with the dock is certainly appreciated; the cables are expensive enough on their own.