Let’s check out this updated Belkin accessory.
Belkin’s line of accessories isn’t just made for iOS devices but also to MacBooks well. Their latest, the Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD adds more ports to your Mac so that so you can conveniently connect any device that you prefer. But it’s more than that, this dock even adds charging capabilities all while using a single Thunderbolt 3 cable.
The Express Dock HD’s design matches the same brushed metal exterior of any MacBook – it’s stylish and compact and its horizontal aluminum build should fit well into your notebook or desktop setup.
I was expecting a simple power brick to come with the Express Dock HD but as I have learned, all docks similar to this have huge power bricks that reminded me of the one that came with the original Xbox One.
Let’s look at the specifications, the Express Dock HD features USB-A 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt 3 (through USB-C, DisplayPort, Ethernet and an audio out port. Additionally, the dock is able to provide 85 W of power that’s enough to power a standard 15-inch MacBook Pro – all while connected to a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. Even the dock is able to support dual 4K displays or one 5K display using DisplayPort and USB-C.
While it provides all the necessary ports, adding an SD card slot, eSATA or even FireWire might make this an even better accessory.
I tried hooking up the Express Dock HD to my 13-inch MacBook Pro along with an LG Ultrafine 5K display using the provided cables. I’ve also connected my hard drives and other devices to fill the remaining ports to test how much it can handle a heavy load.
For the most part, the Express Dock HD works well, but the power brick does get fairly hot so it’s best to keep it away from you since you might accidentally touch it. I also had some minor flickering issues when multiple devices are connected – it worked well for the most part but on a perfect scenario it actually does the job well.
For almost $350, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD isn’t cheap, and similar docks are also available at a lesser price. But it does the job well despite initial issues and ultimately it is still a great accessory to pair with your MacBook.
Just recently, Belkin has also updated its Express Dock HD to include support for USB-C connections that are now being used by the newer MacBook Pros from Apple. The main dock offers the same type of design and function but now connects via USB-C. It works just like the Thunderbolt 3 version, which should be great for users looking for an efficient dock to pair with their MacBooks.
[Review updated to include a new version of the Express Dock HD that supports USB-C]
+ Great build quality
+ Plethora of ports
+ Fast performance
– No eSATA or FireWire support
– Power brick can get fairly hot
Final Rating: 3.5/5