Belkin unveils Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD for Apple's Macs

Posted:
in macOS edited October 2014
Major Apple accessory maker Belkin on Tuesday announced the Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD, a Thunderbolt 2-equipped successor to the company's original Thunderbolt Express Dock that allows users to connect up to eight additional devices to their Mac with a single cable.




The Express Dock HD comes with two Thunderbolt 2 ports, one HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports that support charging, two audio output jacks --?one on the front, and one rear-mounted jack that supports microphone input -- alongside one gigabit ethernet port. Unlike its predecessor, the new dock does not boast a FireWire port.

Belkin says that users can connect up to four more devices using Thunderbolt daisy-chaining. The dock does allow users to run two external monitors in that mode, with resolutions up to 4K.

"As consumer preference for a mobile and versatile workspace increases, Thunderbolt 2 continues to deliver unparalleled performance, flexibility and simplicity to personal computing," Intel's Thunderbolt marketing chief Jason Ziller said in a release. "Products like Belkin's Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD help highlight what Thunderbolt 2 makes possible."

Mac owners can use the dock in a plug-and-play fashion, but those on Thunderbolt-enabled Windows PCs will need to download special drivers from Belkin before using the device.




The Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD is now available for pre-order from Belkin's website, and Apple retail stores will begin stocking it in October for $299.99. Buyers will receive the dock itself, its power adapter, and a one-meter Thunderbolt cable.

The previous Express Dock is now on sale for $149 through retailers like Amazon, a 50 percent discount from its original $299.99 price tag.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39
    lmaclmac Posts: 207member
    So you connect one Thunderbolt2 port to your computer and that leaves you one free Thunderbolt2 port. So this $300 device gives you one Thunberbolt2 port. I have an idea. If I don't buy this device, I can keep the $300 and have just as many Thunderbolt2 ports as before.
  • Reply 2 of 39
    Looks a lot like the CalDigit and El Gato Thunderbolt docks. It probably uses the same motherboard. Unfortunately Belkin priced it $100 more than CalDigit's model.
  • Reply 3 of 39
    neilmneilm Posts: 989member

    Considering that you can buy, for instance, any one of several low end PC laptops for this kind of money, you have to wonder about what makes a mere dock worth $299. Yes, obviously one does not substitute for the other, but think of all the extra stuff that's in a laptop: screen, keyboard, mass storage, much more complex motherboard, WiFi/BT card, etc. And yeah, there's a TB licensing fee you're paying for, but how much can that be?

     

    We're currently using several of the Elgato TB docks at the office, which I already thought were expensive enough at $229. That does include a TB cable, although it's uselessly short at 50cm and usually has to be replaced anyway.

     

    So Belkin...$299, really?

  • Reply 4 of 39
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lmac View Post



    So you connect one Thunderbolt2 port to your computer and that leaves you one free Thunderbolt2 port. So this $300 device gives you one Thunberbolt2 port, same as came with your MacPro. I have an idea. If I don't buy this device, I can keep the $300 and have just as many Thunderbolt2 ports as before.



    Reading comprehension fail

     

    "two Thunderbolt 2 ports, one HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports that support charging, two audio output jacks --?one on the front, and one rear-mounted jack that supports microphone input -- alongside one gigabit ethernet port"

  • Reply 5 of 39

    HOW MUCH ???????????????

  • Reply 6 of 39
    neilmneilm Posts: 989member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lmac View Post



    So you connect one Thunderbolt2 port to your computer and that leaves you one free Thunderbolt2 port. So this $300 device gives you one Thunberbolt2 port, same as came with your MacPro. I have an idea. If I don't buy this device, I can keep the $300 and have just as many Thunderbolt2 ports as before.



    Apparently you've failed to notice that it also gives you a number of other ports, including an HDMI that can be used for a suitable monitor without even consuming the remaining TB port. Furthermore, TB devices can be daisy-chained, allowing the use of extra TB drives, etc.

     

    The primary use of this kind of dock is to simplify the connection of a laptop. For instance a MacBook Air has only two USB ports, one TB and no wired ethernet. Our typical office setup for MBA users is an Elgato TB dock hooked up to: wired ethernet, a wired keyboard, a 24" monitor, an external USB drive of some kind, a USB to Lightning cable for iOS devices, and maybe headphones. All these stay plugged into the dock, which then requires only a single TB cable to hook up the MBA.

  • Reply 7 of 39
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,871member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DarenDino View Post

     

    HOW MUCH ???????????????


     

    If you actually read the article you'd know about 3/4ths the way down it says its available for pre-order now for $299.99

     

    Quote:


     The Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD is now available for pre-order from Belkin's website, and Apple retail stores will begin stocking it in October for $299.99. Buyers will receive the dock itself, its power adapter, and a one-meter Thunderbolt cable.


  • Reply 8 of 39

    Well... It looks like a step back to me. Replacing the FireWire 800 port with an HDMI, which is (AFAIK) standard now on the MacBook Pros... How about adding eSATA? ;)

  • Reply 9 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,787member
    lmac wrote: »
    So you connect one Thunderbolt2 port to your computer and that leaves you one free Thunderbolt2 port. So this $300 device gives you one Thunberbolt2 port, same as came with your MacPro. I have an idea. If I don't buy this device, I can keep the $300 and have just as many Thunderbolt2 ports as before.

    I assume like me you are only interested in Thunderbolt ports hence writing off the other ports you'd gain in which case you'd be correct. I think there is a need for such a device with a TB on the back and 4 on the front. Then a TB equipped iMac or MB would be up there with the 'well ported' new Mac Pro.

    I suspect the rumored 5K iMac will have more than two, if not such a hub will be essential if that new iMac is aimed at prosumer 4K editing. USB3 sucks for serious video work.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    I assume like me you are only interested in Thunderbolt ports hence writing off the other ports you'd gain in which case you'd be correct. I think there is a need for such a device with a TB on the back and 4 on the front. Then a TB equipped iMac or MB would be up there with the 'well ported' new Mac Pro.



    I suspect the rumored 5K iMac will have more than two, if not such a hub will be essential if that new iMac is aimed at prosumer 4K editing. USB3 sucks for serious video work.

    I see 2 Thunderbolt ports on the back. So he's still wrong.

  • Reply 11 of 39
    They also sneakily pulled one of the USB 3 ports, in addition to yanking FireWire 800 without replacing it with anything. There used to be 4 on the old model; now only 3. That's actually a big difference for me; I own the old model and every single port is in use...including FireWire.

    I won't be upgrading. I understand ditching FireWire but I do NOT understand skimping like this on a THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR product with very few expensive components inside, and removing a USB 3 port just because they felt like it. The redesign of port layout also sucks: all USB ports used to be vertically oriented so that all ports could fit on one side, and the dock could therefore sit flush against a wall or edge of another device. Now it needs a LOT of clearance on both sides, which is messy, ugly, and inconvenient.

    Belkin barely made this product good enough to be worth it the first time around. In my opinion, they have ruined it now.
  • Reply 12 of 39
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    Despite the extreme cost of $299 (the previous generation floundered at the same price and eventually dropped to $199), the product is a great idea.

    For anyone with a MacBook, that has a workstation with HDD's, Displays, and other peripherals, but also takes their Mac with them...this is the ideal Hub. One cable, in, one cable out.

    For anyone with an iMac or Mac mini, like myself, I don't see the need. Aside from a few extra USB ports which you could get with any USB hub....all the other ports are available to you.....even the HDMI port, which the iMac lacks, would be a benefit....this hub does not [I]increase[/I] the number of ports you have available...aka, the number of external monitors you can use remain the same. You might as well use a Tb > HDMI cable.
  • Reply 13 of 39
    They also sneakily pulled one of the USB 3 ports, in addition to yanking FireWire 800 without replacing it with anything. There used to be 4 on the old model; now only 3. That's actually a big difference for me; I own the old model and every single port is in use...including FireWire.

    I won't be upgrading. I understand ditching FireWire but I do NOT understand skimping like this on a THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR product with very few expensive components inside, and removing a USB 3 port just because they felt like it. The redesign of port layout also sucks: all USB ports used to be vertically oriented so that all ports could fit on one side, and the dock could therefore sit flush against a wall or edge of another device. Now it needs a LOT of clearance on both sides, which is messy, ugly, and inconvenient.

    Belkin barely made this product good enough to be worth it the first time around. In my opinion, they have ruined it now.
  • Reply 14 of 39
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    They also sneakily pulled one of the USB 3 ports, in addition to yanking FireWire 800 without replacing it with anything. There used to be 4 on the old model; now only 3. That's actually a big difference for me; I own the old model and every single port is in use...including FireWire.

    I won't be upgrading. I understand ditching FireWire but I do NOT understand skimping like this on a THREE HUNDRED DOLLAR product with very few expensive components inside, and removing a USB 3 port just because they felt like it. The redesign of port layout also sucks: all USB ports used to be vertically oriented so that all ports could fit on one side, and the dock could therefore sit flush against a wall or edge of another device. Now it needs a LOT of clearance on both sides, which is messy, ugly, and inconvenient.

    Belkin barely made this product good enough to be worth it the first time around. In my opinion, they have ruined it now.

    I have to agree with all of this.
  • Reply 15 of 39
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

    one HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports that support charging, two audio output jacks ?one on the front, and one rear-mounted jack that supports microphone input -- alongside one gigabit ethernet port"




    Originally Posted by NeilM View Post

    a number of other ports

     

    None of that matters. He wants more Thunderbolt. You’d take his side if we were talking about USB.

     

    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post

    I see 2 Thunderbolt ports on the back. So he's still wrong.

     

    Where do you imagine the incoming Thunderbolt cable plugs in, then? I’ll wait.

  • Reply 16 of 39
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    I assume like me you are only interested in Thunderbolt ports hence writing off the other ports you'd gain in which case you'd be correct. I think there is a need for such a device with a TB on the back and 4 on the front. Then a TB equipped iMac or MB would be up there with the 'well ported' new Mac Pro.

    I suspect the rumored 5K iMac will have more than two, if not such a hub will be essential if that new iMac is aimed at prosumer 4K editing. USB3 sucks for serious video work.

    Is there really such a need for a purely-Thunderbolt hub, considering the way Thunderbolt allows daisy chaining?
  • Reply 17 of 39
    schlackschlack Posts: 721member
    i don't get this. how can this be $300? I could buy a whole computer for this price.

    if it was $99, it would be a nice convenience purchase.
  • Reply 18 of 39
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

     

    None of that matters. He wants more Thunderbolt. You’d take his side if we were talking about USB.

     

     

    Where do you imagine the incoming Thunderbolt cable plugs in, then? I’ll wait.




    Sorry. I figured the primary connection to the computer was on the side. I have a couple of USB hubs that connect from the side and offer the expansion ports on the back. The limited photos allowed my imagination to fill too much in. Nevertheless, the point stands. The OP was being untruthful, whether by accident or not it doesn't matter.

  • Reply 19 of 39
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pmz View Post



    Despite the extreme cost of $299 (the previous generation floundered at the same price and eventually dropped to $199), the product is a great idea.



    For anyone with a MacBook, that has a workstation with HDD's, Displays, and other peripherals, but also takes their Mac with them...this is the ideal Hub. One cable, in, one cable out.



    For anyone with an iMac or Mac mini, like myself, I don't see the need. Aside from a few extra USB ports which you could get with any USB hub....all the other ports are available to you.....even the HDMI port, which the iMac lacks, would be a benefit....this hub does not increase the number of ports you have available...aka, the number of external monitors you can use remain the same. You might as well use a Tb > HDMI cable.

     

    Also, for me, Belkin botched the last model, releasing it with half speed USB without mentioning it until everyone else did, and then not handing this major point either by reflecting it in the price or any info explaining why it shouldn't dissuade us.  

     

    The previous version was nuts at its going price right up until this reduction.  At $300 I'm sure CalDigit will soon release a more attractive updated dock in that range.

  • Reply 20 of 39
    Quote:



    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    I think there is a need for such a device with a TB on the back and 4 on the front. 

     

    I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you, but why do you think there's a need for that? With daisy-chaing, it seems like all one would ever need is one TB port on the computer and two on each device. Is there something I'm missing?

     

    Quote:



    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    Then a TB equipped iMac or MB would be up there with the 'well ported' new Mac Pro.

     

    A little off-topic, but are TB connections somewhat less than "tight" or is it just the ports on the Mr. Mac Coffee Urn? I pulled out a USB cable from ours last night and three of the five TB connections popped out with it.

     


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post



    USB3 sucks for serious video work.

     

    How come? It *seems* like it would be just fine for that. How is it letting you down?

     

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