Star Tech TB3DOCK2DPPD Thunderbolt Dock REVIEW
A few years ago, I felt like I had all the accessories I would ever need for my laptop to be a successful workstation. And then, Apple changed their design to include USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 as the ONLY port on their MacBook Pro. While I think this was a good strategic move overall — it really simplifies things — the entire world didn’t follow suit and because of that, I’ve been forced to find adapters and docks that will allow me to connect to all the devices I could before. One thing that’s been particularly hard to track down is a high-quality, compatible Thunderbolt 3 dock for my office. I want to be able to connect one cable to my laptop and have it charge and connect to all the different peripherals that I have at my desk. The biggest barrier to this connection is the power supply. Since I have the 15-inch MacBook Pro, my laptop requires 87W of power to charge it. This is somewhat of a rare feature on desktop docks. Fortunately, I found it with the StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station for Laptops.
The StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station for Laptops allows you to connect dual UHD 4K monitors to your MacBook Pro or Windows laptop through the use of DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 connections. This dock provides up to 85W of power delivery for connected devices and lets you enjoy speeds of up to 40Gbps. The dock can support a single 5K display with up to 5120 x 2880p display (through Thunderbolt 3 USB-C port) as well as dual 4K displays. It’s compatible with Windows 8, 8.1, and 10 as well as macOS 10.12–10.14.
There are multiple ports to connect to including:
- 2 x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Female
- 1 x DisplayPort Female
- 1 x USB Type-C USB 3.0 Female
- 1 x USB 3.0 A (SuperSpeed) Female
- 4 x USB Type-A USB 3.0 Female
- 1 x RJ-45 Female
- 1 x 3.5mm Mini Jack Female
The dock arrived in a StarTech branded box. It’s mostly white with some yellow embellishments. A small image of the dock is included on the front of the box with the name of the device in several languages. The back of the box outlines what is included in the package and I do have to give credit to StarTech for including multiple cables with the dock. Most docks I’ve seen only come with their power cable/brick and a Thunderbolt cable. This box includes 1 x Docking Station, 1 x Thunderbolt 3 cable, 1 x USB-C to Display Port cable, 1 x universal power adapter, 2 x power cords (NA/JP, ANZ) and a user manual.
Aside from the fact that this dock will charge my 15-inch MacBook Pro (with power delivery up to 85W), this dock has a great layout as far as the ports go. I had another dock that had multiple ports but the layout of them was a little jumbled. The StarTech dock has them well spaced out and very easy to use. The only thing that is a little confusing is which Thunderbolt 3 port you should use for connection to a laptop. And image provided on StarTech’s website shows that the TB3 port with an icon next to the lightning bolt is meant for connection to a laptop. When I first connected everything to the dock, I thought that was representative of a monitor and not a laptop. So, I had the laptop plugged into the other TB3 port and it ran horribly slow. Plus, the dock wasn’t charging it. The manual refers to the port with the laptop icon as the ‘Thunderbolt 3 host laptop port’ but I didn’t catch that when I first installed the dock.
One of the features I especially love about this dock is that there is an SD card slot on the front of it. I have the dock positioned so that I can access all the ports on the front of it easily. The last dock I used did not have this SD card slot and so I had to incorporate a secondary card reader into my set-up. I was happy to see this option included on this dock. I’ve not noticed a lot of heat being put out by this dock when I’m actively using my laptop along with the other connected devices on my desk. That said, the dock comes with an extraordinarily large power brick. It’s almost as large as the dock itself. I’m sure this is due to the large amount of power that the dock delivers, but I still feel like it’s a lot to deal with.
The StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station for Laptops is a great companion for the MacBook Pro. Not only does it give you the option to connect to all your favorite peripherals, but you can also power your laptop without having to dig your laptop’s power adapter out of storage. While this is somewhat of a pricey investment at $380, I believe it’s worth it to keep your workstation fully operational.
Originally published at macsources.com on November 16, 2018.