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Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock Review

Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock Review

There’s hardly a downside to portable PCs. However, once you got a lot of peripherals, it can be a pain to connect it all. That’s where docking stations come into play. Today I’m taking a closer look at Elgato’s best docking station, the Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock. Well, it’s the best if you need what it has to offer. The Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock might be enough for some. The Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock offers everything with a single cable.

Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock

Elgato’s Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock is perfect for those of you who need a lot of devices connected to your portable device. With a docking station like this, you only need to connect a single cable to your PC in order to enjoy it all. Whether you have an Ultrabook or a MacBook with Thunderbolt 3, the docking station will be awesome. Especially those with MacBooks will enjoy it as those seriously lack built-in connectivity.

With the Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, you get everything from networking and audio connectors to dual 4K 60Hz support, card readers and plenty of USB ports.

But, you’re probably interested in what ports exactly. So, let us go through them. You get two 3.5mm audio jacks, two Type-A USB 3.1 (5Gbps), two Type-C USB 3.1 (10Gbps), and two Thunderbolt 3 ports. There’s also an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port along with a DisplayPort 1.2. Last but not least, it features both an SD card and a micro SD card reader. Or as Elgato calls it: One cable, Ultimate connectivity.

Thunderbolt 3 Makes it Possible

With a docking station, you can avoid all the cable troubles while you enjoy all the connectivity. That is especially true for systems with Thunderbolt 3 and after all, that’s what this docking station is for.

Thunderbolt 3 offers 40 Gbps bandwidth which is enough to drive a whole lot of devices. For comparison, USB 3.1 Gen.1 (USB 3.0) only offers 5 Gbps bandwidth.

With that in mind, we know that we can connect a lot at the same time and still get great speeds from it all. But we can’t use all ports at full speed at the same time, that’s a given. Simply the fact that it has a 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 port for a device as well as the one for the PC connection.

A single 4K 60Hz output requires 14.85Gbps which means that there’s still a lot to spare for the rest.

Dual Displays

The Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock supports great display connectivity. While it comes with a single DisplayPort 1.2, the docking station supports dual displays. A second one can be connected via the Thunderbolt 3 port and still provide full resolution. In fact, it supports better via the Thunderbolt 3 port than it does via the DisplayPort 1.2.

The DisplayPort supports up to 4096×2160 at 60Hz while the Thunderbolt port supports up to 5120×2880 at 60Hz. As a dual-display setup, it supports 4096×2160 on both monitors.

A Few More Details

With the built-in card reader, you can quickly transfer all those files from your memory cards to your system, whether they’re ordinary photos or 4K video. The readers support UHS-II transfer speeds for SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards.

With the built-in card reader, you can quickly transfer all those files from your memory cards to your system, whether they’re ordinary photos or 4K video. The readers support UHS-II transfer speeds for SD, SDHC, and SDXC cards.

The Thunderbolt 3 ports also support computer charging for up to 85W and device power up to 15W.

Besides the hardware features, there’s also a software part. With a mere click in your menu bar, the free Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Utility app eliminates the chore of ejecting external drives one by one. When it’s time to hit the road, simply disconnect all your storage devices simultaneously. Instantly see when it’s safe to disconnect your Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock. And head off without delay.

The Physical Design

There really isn’t a lot to say to the design. What you see is what you get. A sleek, space grey enclosure with a black front and back. The whole thing feels very well made and sturdy, which is a plus. Some docking stations are just made of the cheapest plastic and it shows. Not so this beautiful Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock from Elgato. The rounded edges give it a sleep feeling while the colour matches that of a lot of systems, including the grey MacBook Pro.

Feature Highlights

  • Dual 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3
  • Dual 10Gbps USB-C and Dual 5Gbps USB-A
  • DisplayPort 1.2 with 4K 60Hz
  • SD and micro SD card reader
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Audio jacks for headset and microphone

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Bohs Hansen

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