We are starting to see more and more USB-C devices, we already reviewed the Griffin Breaksafe a USB-C magnetic cable. We now have one of the first USB-C compatible docks which lets you connect all your peripherals into the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock and pass all the data through a single Thunderbolt 3 cable back to your Macbook Pro. On top of all that, the single cable provides enough power to charge your laptop at the same time.
The overall design of Belkin dock is minimal and nice. The shade of silver is not quite the same as Apple hardware but it’s pretty close. The Thunderbolt 3 cable that comes with the dock is very nice. The power brick is a little big but considering the amount of power this dock provides it’s understandable. With most of the ports at the back of the dock it makes for a very tidy setup which means you can leave the dock on your desk. It doesn’t look out of place at all with the rest of your computer hardware.
The dock features a bunch of ports in the back and two easier to access ports in the front. The back includes one gigabit ethernet, a headphone jack, two USB-A 3.0, two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C), one DisplayPort and one power connection. The front includes a USB-A 3.0 port, a headphone jack and a status LED that turns green from amber to indicate that a device is plugged and sharing. The dock is only compatible with the USB-C Macbook Pro, the USB-C Macbook is not compatible unfortunately.
- 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports
- Ethernet, USB-A 3.0, USB-C, DisplayPort and 3.5mm jack
- 85W power output
- Dual 4K screen output (max 100W, via USB-C)
- Daisy chain up to 5 Thunderbolt 3 devices
The dock delivers sufficient power to charge a 15-inch 2016 Macbook Pro. The dock provides 85W of power, the adapter that comes with the laptop is a 87W. The real performance comes with the update to Thunderbolt 3 which provides a 40 Gbps data transfer rate. This is double the rate of Thunderbolt 2, which isn’t considered slow event though it was released in 2013. You can daisy chain up to 5 Thunderbolt devices from the dock. With full use of all the ports the dock lets you collect up to 8 devices all connected to your laptop using a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. The Belkin dock can output two 4K video streams using the DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3.
The Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock makes life a lot easier if you have an elaborate setup with many peripheral connected to your laptop. One downside is the lack of Thunderbolt 2 ports or the single Thunderbolt 3 port considering the second one is always connected to the laptop. All in all this is a must have a device to ease the transition to USB-C only laptops.
For more information on how we score products, please read how we review products.