By taking a look at Mac accessories you’ll see some that are amazingly designed, which usually hides the fact that they lack in functionality, and on the other side you’ll see some accessories considered essential which feature the same dull design for years. From time to time, a new developer tries to offer neatly designed product that also tries to re-define the functionality of a particular category, but even this doesn’t always end up sucessful. In this article we’ll be taking a look at an accessory that’s undoubtedly very helpful and functional, but which is still trying to win over Apple users. This one is going to be a Thunderbolt dock.
By having a Thunderbolt dock you can remove the clutter from your desk, which is certainly something that many of us would benefit from. Also, when it comes to some more restrictive Mac models, a dock can help expand its abilities which seems like an essential thing to do. No matter what you think, you’ll see that docks have many positive sides and only a few negative ones, which makes them very interesting and a must-have category.
Elgato is one of those companies that are trying to offer their own version of a Thunderbolt dock. I am always interested in trying out new docks and I am happy to see that the competition is slowly rising, convincing me that we’ll see some great products in the near future.
When it comes to the main concept of Elgato’s Thunderbolt Dock, it’s actually very simple. This device is made to enable you to run a single Thunderbolt cable from your computer to the dock, while everything else can be plugged into the dock. This way you can simply unplug the Thunderbolt cable from your notebook and take it with you, instead of unplugging numerous accessories one by one.
The first thing you’ll notice about this dock is how nicely designed it is. The shell is made of anodized aluminum, making it very sturdy and firm. The front and the back are made of ABS plastic. I am sure you’ll think that this is something that Apple would design, which means that this is clever combination of functionality and minimalism.
When it comes to functionality, you’ll see that the front side brings a single USB 3.0 port, and there are headphone and microphone sockets. On the back there are two more USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt sockets, one HDMI, and an Ethernet port. I’ve tried all of these ports through a number of different setups and configurations and my conclusion is that Elgato has done an amazing job. Transfer speeds are great and you’ll even be able to use your iPad to charge it as fast as possible.
Even though there’s no question if this dock is practical and functional, there are some negative sides to it. The main limitation is the number of available ports. However, this is due to Thunderbolt’s daisy chain nature which means that we won’t see anything different in terms of available ports and their numbers. This is currently the best you can get with this setup. Also, the main issue is the asking price ($230) which seems incredibly high. Since most of these docks are high priced, they will have a hard time convincing users to actually buy them, at least until they drop their prices to $100-150.
Nicely designed, sleek and minimalistic. Very functional.
Very high priced. Number of available ports.