It is clear that Thunderbolt technology is still taking its momentum. As you probably know, Apple worked very closely on development of this high-speed connection, which can really change the IT world. However, it took time until 3rd party manufacturers decide to implement Thunderbolt into peripherals, even though Apple has already taken necessary steps to make this transition easier. One of the initial reasons for slow adoption rate was high price of Thunderbolt cables and chips, but today this situation is changing. It seems that 2013 will be the first year we’ll see may new Thunderbolt printers, displays and other peripherals.
In this article we are going to review Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock, which is using Thunderbolt’s massive capabilities to remove clutter from your desk. As the name says, this dock is used to take over numerous input ports and produce only one cable which leads to your Apple notebook. It is priced at $300, and you should also know that it doesn’t come with the Thunderbolt cable, so in case you’d like to buy one from Belkin, it will cost you $40 more.
First, let’s take a moment to talk about design. It is clear that Belkin made this product to aesthetically complement your Mac, since its outer shell is made of brushed aluminum and resembles other Apple-designed products. This is actually very nice looking dock, which comes with some soft curvatures and looks very elegant. So instead of having numerous cables around your desk, you can have beautifully designed Thunderbolt Express Dock and your notebook, which perfectly fit each other.
Even though design is really important, it is also important to know what ports you will get and if this dock is really worth its price. Well, Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock comes with three USB 3.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Ethernet port, and audio-in and –out ports. There’s also USB charging (power) port. On its front side, there are two Thunderbolt ports. One of those is used to connect this dock with your notebook (and make all those previously connected ports work), while the other one is used to daisy-chain up to 5 Thunderbolt devices which is a very nice addition. Even though $300 seem really expensive, this dock comes with numerous ports and works pretty much automatic, which justifies its price. There’s no software needed, since all you have to do is to connect this dock with your Apple notebook, and all peripherals will work.
It is also nice to mention that you can use this dock to stream HD video to any HDTV, which can be done using Belkin’s “Mini Display Port to Thunderbolt” adapter, which is priced at $40. The same goes for many types of displays.
Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock is currently the best Thunderbolt-powered dock on the market. You can find several similar products, but they can’t compete in terms of design and number of available ports. It is expensive, but it’s also worth the price.