Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Thunderbolt 2 docks roundup: The easy way to connect to your Mac laptop

Roman Loyola | May 26, 2015
The major change since I last did a roundup of Thunderbolt docks is that the latest docks use Thunderbolt 2, which makes them aligned with Apple's Thunderbolt 2 implementation in its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air.

If you have an odd-shaped USB flash drive, you might have problems plugging it into the front USB port. The port itself is recessed a bit from the outer aluminum casing, which can get in the way if your USB drive has a built-in connector and a wide case.

While the Belkin dock is a nice, solid product, it's near the top of the price range in this roundup, and it doesn't provide anything unique, like a software utility or different ports.

Kanex Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock

The $250 Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock () also has a brushed aluminum case. It's almost the same size as the Elgato dock.

On the front it has a USB 3 port that can charge your devices, while the back has two unpowered USB 3 ports, a headset port, gigabit ethernet, two Thunderbolt 2 ports, and an HDMI connector. Kanex includes a 1-meter Thunderbolt cable.

While this is a solid, quality dock, it's similar in design to the Elgato dock. To me, the Elgato's separate mic and line out jacks on the front are preferable to the single rear headset jack on the Kanex.

Coming soon

There are a couple of docks that haven't been released yet but are worth investigating. When they are available, we'll review them and update this roundup.

Henge Docks' Horizontal Docking Station for MacBook Pro and MacBook Air has been on our radar for over two years. It remains to be seen of Henge will actually ship the product in June, as it says on the company's website.

Sonnet Technologies's $469 Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock is made for production environments. It has 15 ports and a DVD burner, and you can also get the Echo 15 with a DVD burner and a 2TB hard drive, or with a Blu-ray drive and 2TB or 4TB hard drive.

Bottom line

The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2 and OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock stand out in this roundup, but all of the docks are solid choices. The $235 CalDigit dock is a nice combination of price and features and I personally like its design. The OWC dock has a lot of ports, but you have to buy a Thunderbolt cable, which pushes it past its $249 price tag.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4 

Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.