Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock for Mac now shipping for $299

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock, first announced in January of 2012, is now available for purchase for $299, more than a year after the Mac accessory was unveiled.

Belkin


The docking station allows users to have instant access to 8 ports by connecting just one high-speed Lightning cable to their Mac. The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock includes:
  • One Gigabit Ethernet port
  • One Firewire 800 port
  • One Thunderbolt port for daisy-chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices
  • One 3.5 millimeter headphone output jack
  • One 3.5 millimeter audio input jack
  • Three USB 3.0 ports with max data transfer of 2.5Gbps
  • Cable management channel
The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock is compatible with all recent Macs equipped with Thunderbolt ports, including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Belkin boasts that the high speed of Thunderbolt allows users to download a high-definition feature film in 30 seconds, or sync a year's worth of continuous music in 10 minutes.

Belkin


The Thunderbolt Express Dock was first announced by Belkin at the Consumer Electronics Show in early 2012. At the time, the company said the accessory would become available last September, but that launch date was missed.

Since the original unveiling, the hardware has been upgraded to include three USB 3.0 ports. The originally announced hardware featured USB 2.0 ports running at slower speeds.

But the shipping accessory has also lost an HDMI out port, which was also initially planned to be included with the docking station.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 35
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,380member
    Looks very nice if pricy. Hopefully the cost will come down over time.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    I'll wait to see what the next Thunderbolt display has to offer. I hope in the next few months. It's just shipping, and the price is just the suggested price, so the street price of the Belkin might go down in a few months. I only found it available for preorder on B&H.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    ktappektappe Posts: 808member
    Losing the HDMI sucks a bit.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    sensisensi Posts: 346member
    $299? Lol.
  • Reply 5 of 35
    rcoleman1rcoleman1 Posts: 153member
    Right. Totally not worth it.
  • Reply 6 of 35
    neilmneilm Posts: 900member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rcoleman1 View Post



    Right. Totally not worth it.


     


    What you meant to say, had you been thinking, is that it's totally not worth it to you


     


    And in our case we prefer to apply that $299 toward the $999 cost of a 27" Apple Thunderbolt display, which provides similar connectivity — plus of course a large screen for the extra money.


     


    But people's needs and circumstances are different.

  • Reply 7 of 35
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 1,055member


    Is that an aluminum unibody casing, or just painted plastic?


    And what's with the unattractive cutout on the front?

     

  • Reply 8 of 35
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    What's the point of this thing if it has lost that HDMI out? Can I plug my mini-display port to HDMI adapter into that thunderbolt out port? I'm guessing probably not, so again, what's the point of this thing without a video out?
  • Reply 9 of 35
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,594member
    Why in the heck did it take over a year to get this out when all the technology was already available?????
  • Reply 9 of 35
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,594member
    And why in the world would you remove HDMI when it is easy to add? This sure seems like a lot of incompetence!
  • Reply 11 of 35
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cash907 View Post



    What's the point of this thing if it has lost that HDMI out? Can I plug my mini-display port to HDMI adapter into that thunderbolt out port? I'm guessing probably not, so again, what's the point of this thing without a video out?


     


    I have two BookEndz docks and in that case the Thunderbolt passthrough doesn't pass through full Thunderbolt but just Display Port and it does work with DVI and other adapters. Although in the one case I have modified my BookEndz dock so that the Thunderbolt cable from my 27" monitor plugs directly into the side of the notebook along with all the built in connectors. I would have preferred they somehow integrated the power connection as well even if only some sort of slot you push your power cord into such that the dock/undock would connect it automatically as I sometimes forget to connect the power after reconnecting to the dock. Of course the BookEndz product work a bit differently in terms of how you connect it to the computer. 


     


    I wonder about the claims of transfer speed - such thunderbolt is fast - but it depends entirely on what you have connected to it. A USB 2 external hard drive connected to a USB 3 port on the dock connected via Thunderbolt to your Mac is not going to be any faster than plugging that drive directly into a USB 2 port on the computer (well perhaps marginally depending on buffering etc of the thunderbolt interface compared to USB interface). My Pegasus RAID array attached via Thunderbolt IS fast - but not everyone has a use case where the cost of such a device is acceptable - and even then you would only be talking about transferring the movie or music from internal storage to external storage. Having a full gigabit network between all your devices is likely a better investment for most folks - unless you have only one computer.

  • Reply 12 of 35
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,328member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post


    And what's with the unattractive cutout on the front?



     


    Looks like it's for passing cords through under the dock.

  • Reply 13 of 35
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member


    Those extra USB ports would come in handy for laptop users.

  • Reply 14 of 35
    The additional thunderbolt port obviates the need for HDMI. The cut out is for Cable management.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    $299? Hell no. This is why Firewire never caught on. The cost of licensing is so high these companies can't make anything inexpensive.
  • Reply 16 of 35
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 154member
    Caldigit offers the HDMI instead of firewire
  • Reply 17 of 35
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post



    $299? Hell no. This is why Firewire never caught on. The cost of licensing is so high these companies can't make anything inexpensive.


     


    I paid $257 including tac for one of my BookEndz docks for a Macbook Pro - and well worth the investment. Had to work without it for a while until I modified it to work directly with a new Thunderbolt external display and only confirmed the usefulness. Of course the BookEndz sits under the machine and is made to angle the base up to a more comfortable position. The only thing I dislike about the BookEndz is the power cord sticking out the side - should have been in the back - but then in my case I have two notebooks side by side on a 6' long desk - so space between them with an external tackball on the one and magic trackpad on the other is a bit tight. 

  • Reply 18 of 35
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    The docking station allows users to have instant access to 8 ports by connecting just one high-speed Lightning cable to their Mac.


     


    Lightning cable? Is that a mistake? Why would it connect with a Lightning cable rather than a Thunderbolt cable?


     


     




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    • Three USB 3.0 ports with max data transfer of 2.5Gbps



     


    Isn't the USB3 spec 5Gb/s? Is this an error or are the USB3 ports really only capable of half speed?

  • Reply 19 of 35
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post



    $299? Hell no. This is why Firewire never caught on. The cost of licensing is so high these companies can't make anything inexpensive.


    Totally different scenario.  FW licensing was $1 per port, IIRC, not a dealbreaker, and anyone was free to offer it.  The main reason so many didn't use it was that it wasn't their market, didn't need it.  OTOH, Intel has been absurdly tight on who they've been allowing to even have a license, hence the lack of competitive options.  There was no such restriction on FW and the cost of the port didn't tell the tale on FW in the marketplace.  Anything that wanted to have a FW port had it.


     


    Anyway, when you say "Firewire never caught on" you and I have been living in completely different worlds for the past decade  :  )  Mine and nearly all of my peers has been totally FW based and dependent.  If you're saying that FW never caught on in $500 Windows laptops, well...

  • Reply 20 of 35
    cash907cash907 Posts: 893member
    The additional thunderbolt port obviates the need for HDMI. The cut out is for Cable management.

    Assuming said thunderbolt port can also pass thru video. Nothing on the product website states that it can. Even so, for those of us without thunderbolt-equipped monitors, this would require and additional adapter, bumping the price up an additional 30-40 dollars.
    I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous.

    The only useful aspect of this thing is the addition of extra USB ports and an Ethernet port. Guess what? I can solve that with a 25 dollar USB hub and 30 dollar Ethernet dongle, and save myself a ton of money. True I'd be losing some speed with the hub, but really, are there any devices currently out that saturate a USB 3 connection at the moment aside from high speed external storage? People who need more than two USB ports mainly require them for external mice, keyboards, headsets, charging phones or tablets, etc etc. A pocket sized hub would take care of all that.
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