During the last couple of months we’ve reviewed several Thunderbolt docks, whose main mission is to bring together numerous different ports into one convenient device. I am a big fan of these products, which are truly useful and can help me remove the clutter from my desk. The only problem with these is their high price. You’ll need to spend at least $150 for some basic version of this kind of dock, and you also need the cable which is priced at $30. I guess it will take some time until Thunderbolt-equipped accessories become more affordable, which is currently the main obstacle to their widespread adoption.
While we wait for Thunderbolt docks to become more affordable, we’ll be taking a look at one of those good old USB 3.0 docks. You can still find some amazing USB docks for your OSX notebook or desktop, and many of them are specifically made for Macs. We’ll be taking a look at Kanex’s SimpleDock, priced at $120.
Once you take it out of its packaging, the first thing you’ll notice about the SimpleDock is its weight and build quality. It’s somewhat heavier than most USB docks, which is a good thing since it will stay in its place once you start plugging in and out numerous cables. Speaking of its build quality, I can say that I was pleasantly surprised. I am sure you’ll agree with me when I say that this dock is inspired by Mac’s aesthetics, which means that it will perfectly complement your Mac by keeping it right next to it.
If you take a look at the top side of SimpleDock you’ll see a fairly large rubberized indentation, which is where you can place your iPhone while charging it. On the back you’ll find three USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet, as well as a 10W charge-only port. In other words, this dock combines three useful products into one, and those are an iOS device charger, a USB-Gigabit Ethernet adapter, and 3-port USB hub. As you can see by now, these products are combined into one nicely designed and very Apple-friendly product.
Speaking of its performance, I expected it to be a bit slow or sluggish once I connect various devices and use them simultaneously. However, I was very surprised to see that the SimpleDock managed to perform every operation I commanded without any struggle. This is mostly because Kanex made some calculations and that’s why you can find 3-port USB hub instead of 5-port one. Also, there’s no AUX input and output, which has become the standard for Thunderbolt docks. It’s clear that some limitations needed to be set in order to provide reliable performance, and this feels like a very good decision.
The only thing that I don’t really like when it comes to this product is its price of $120. For example, you can purchase Belkin’s Thunderbolt dock for $150. Still, if you do a little research around the web you’ll see that you can find this dock priced at around $80-$90, which seems like a fair price.