Lenovo's $280 ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock adds full-size USB, HDMI, more to new MacBook Pr...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2017
Lenovo this week announced the ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock, offering owners of Apple's new MacBook Pro a high number of legacy connectivity options, providing ports that were axed in the switch to all USB-C.




A single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection between the Lenovo ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock and a MacBook Pro provides up to 40Gbps full duplex bandwidth, allowing users to fully utilize as many of the ports on the device as they wish. At the same time, the USB-C cable is able to feed the notebook up to 65 watts for charging, suitable for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with the dock itself using a 135-watt AC adapter able to deliver up to 100 watts of power to connected devices with a lower drain.

For displays, the dock is capable of natively supporting two DisplayPort 1.2 streams, both at up to ultra-high definition 4K resolution at 60Hz. There is also the potential to run up to three 4K displays through the dock, using both DisplayPort connections and the Thunderbolt 3 port, though in this case only the Thunderbolt 3-connected display will be at 60Hz while the others will run at lower refresh rates.

The remaining display-related connections include a HDMI port and legacy VGA connector, aimed at business customers with older displays.




Users with large numbers of accessories will be able to use the dock's five USB 3.0 type A ports, one of which will always have power. A headset jack is also offered, as well as network connectivity through a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Shipping in February, the ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock will cost $279.99. Lenovo has confirmed that it is compatible with the MacBook Pro, and not blocked by Apple like some previous peripherals have been.

Lenovo's dock will be coming to market at the same time as another offering from OWC, with its own Thunderbolt 3 Dock offering six USB connections, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a mini DisplayPort socket, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, and an SD card reader for a similar price at pre-order.

In October, Belkin revealed the ThunderBolt 3 Express Dock HD, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, one DisplayPort, two audio jacks, and Gigabit Ethernet. Belkin declined to announce a release date or price at the time, though it is thought to be more expensive than the Lenovo or OWC offerings.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    thedbathedba Posts: 479member
    What? No SD card reader? We've been told, over and over again by the internet that "professionals" absolutely need an SD slot in order to have a productive machine. /s

    On the serious side now, through one cable you can drive 1-3 4K monitors, a few traditional USB disks, connect via ethernet and power up the machine. This explains the absence of the single purpose mag-safe port on the newer MacBooks. So the dongle hell that ignorant pundits have been peddling is .... a NON ISSUE.
    edited January 2017 StrangeDaysDaekwanwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 41
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,761member
    Let's save time shall we? 

    We know it's ugly and if Steve were alive he'd <add comment here that makes it look like you knew him>
    pulseimagesbaconstangStrangeDaysai46Daekwanmacxpresswatto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 3 of 41
    God damn that is ugly!
    pulseimagesbaconstangai46Daekwanjony0
  • Reply 4 of 41
    I thought IBM owned the ThinkPad name?
  • Reply 5 of 41
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,367member
    I wish there were some way for OWC or similar to come up with an internal connector to access the new Mac Pro's high speed bus used by the internal SSD so as to connect to such a dock.  Mac Pro users are stuck at TB2 as it is.
    edited January 2017 ai46
  • Reply 6 of 41
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 365member

    Shipping in February, the ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock will cost $279.99. Lenovo has confirmed that it is compatible with the MacBook Pro, and not blocked by Apple like some previous peripherals have been.
    Blocked by Apple or was it simply early devices that had poorly implemented chip-sets?
    ai46watto_cobradysamoria
  • Reply 7 of 41
    thedba said:
    <Snip>So the dongle hell that ignorant pundits have been peddling is .... a NON ISSUE.
    Or not... I have bought a VGA dongle not to use back at base but when out and about. The simple truth, in my world in the UK at least, is that almost all projectors can do VGA and very few can do anything digital, let alone have a USB-C connector. I also need a USB-A connector (helpfully on the same dongle) since few people yet have memory sticks with anything but USB-A plugs.

    I agree that this device is useful to some, I just don't see it as portable. I agree that USB-C is the future (I wouldn't have bought the MBP if not). But we have to live in the present so I continue to believe that Apple should have included at least a USB-A dongle in the box so that the MBP is useful straight our of the box (iPhone 7, headphone dongle, why isn't that an equivalent case?).
    ai46Daekwanviclauyyc
  • Reply 8 of 41
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 1,870member
    And this is the type of thing one needs to lug with them if they need to connect to a projector, use a USB drive from a customer, or be flexible in the real world. 

    And yes, an SD slot in the laptop is essential to many pros because they can plug it with a 250GB drive and use it as a library.
  • Reply 9 of 41
    netroxnetrox Posts: 780member
    Who the hell wants that ugly looking hub? Do Mac users even use any VGA monitors?!?!
  • Reply 10 of 41
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,299member
    Sure defeats the point of being portable. Bravo Apple! Keep stripping your systems down and eventually no one will buy them.
    macxpressviclauyyctokyojimu
  • Reply 11 of 41
    thedbathedba Posts: 479member
    command_f said:

    Or not... I have bought a VGA dongle not to use back at base but when out and about. The simple truth, in my world in the UK at least, is that almost all projectors can do VGA and very few can do anything digital, let alone have a USB-C connector. I also need a USB-A connector (helpfully on the same dongle) since few people yet have memory sticks with anything but USB-A plugs.

    I agree that this device is useful to some, I just don't see it as portable. I agree that USB-C is the future (I wouldn't have bought the MBP if not). But we have to live in the present so I continue to believe that Apple should have included at least a USB-A dongle in the box so that the MBP is useful straight our of the box (iPhone 7, headphone dongle, why isn't that an equivalent case?).
    I agree with you that every use case is different but the vast majority of the MBP buying population will probably need, on an occasional basis, one or two dongles at most. 
    For some it may be USBC to HDMI for others USBC to ethernet and so on. 

    One can look at it this way. Having a wire, any wire, sticking out of a laptop is ugly and most of the time not necessary. Having to attach an extra adapter to one end of that same wire is no big deal.

      
    StrangeDaysai46watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 41
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,611member
    Ha Ha! I love the VGA port. That's like BMW offering a crank with their new models. Still, if you need some of these ports the connector is good. Leave it on your desk and plug in your USB-c and voila. The price though....
    anome
  • Reply 13 of 41
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,537member
    command_f said:
    thedba said:
    <Snip>So the dongle hell that ignorant pundits have been peddling is .... a NON ISSUE.
    Or not... I have bought a VGA dongle not to use back at base but when out and about. The simple truth, in my world in the UK at least, is that almost all projectors can do VGA and very few can do anything digital, let alone have a USB-C connector. I also need a USB-A connector (helpfully on the same dongle) since few people yet have memory sticks with anything but USB-A plugs.

    I agree that this device is useful to some, I just don't see it as portable. I agree that USB-C is the future (I wouldn't have bought the MBP if not). But we have to live in the present so I continue to believe that Apple should have included at least a USB-A dongle in the box so that the MBP is useful straight our of the box (iPhone 7, headphone dongle, why isn't that an equivalent case?).
    Your personal use case of needing to support VGA (not even HDMI!) projectors doesnt make it an "issue". You have a legacy use case. One that I bet most customers won't have. Thus you're a perfect candidate for an adapter that enables to you to perform your use case, but doesn't saddle me with poor compromises like sticking a honking huge VGA port on my portable!

    USBA is more common but is similar. Adding "just one port" means hardware design compromises, controllers, power, etc. My MBP is a dev machine and I'm pretty much only on wifi. If I needed to use somebody's legacy USBA drive I'd just bust out an adapter. But this doesn't happen, I just work on my stuff. More hardware will implement USBC so giving it 4 C ports better futureproofs the notebook... Which I will appreciate in the future (my desktop is 6 years old, so I keep these things for the long haul).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 41
    thedbathedba Posts: 479member
    paxman said:
    Ha Ha! I love the VGA port. That's like BMW offering a crank with their new models. Still, if you need some of these ports the connector is good. Leave it on your desk and plug in your USB-c and voila. The price though....
    The price of these isn't all the different from previous thunderbolt 2 docks that were on the market before it.
    ai46
  • Reply 15 of 41
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,537member

    And this is the type of thing one needs to lug with them if they need to connect to a projector, use a USB drive from a customer, or be flexible in the real world. 

    And yes, an SD slot in the laptop is essential to many pros because they can plug it with a 250GB drive and use it as a library.
    As a pro software dev I've never had to use SD on any MBP, ever. My prosumer photog gear is all CF anyway.
    ai46watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 41
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,537member
    Sure defeats the point of being portable. Bravo Apple! Keep stripping your systems down and eventually no one will buy them.
    I guess time will tell whether you're right or wrong. I'm going to guess wrong -- I'm going to guess the new MBPs sell very well and Apple will continue to absorb all the profit in the biz.

    A portable is portable -- I don't need nor want this plethora of legacy ports and controllers. If I did, I'd just work at my desk. The main use cases of a portable are traits that make it portable such as size, volume and weight, and power.
    ai46watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 41
    thedbathedba Posts: 479member

    Sure defeats the point of being portable. Bravo Apple! Keep stripping your systems down and eventually no one will buy them.
    Who ever said that this or the OWC dock was supposed to be portable? It's a desktop solution.
    ai46StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 41
    thedbathedba Posts: 479member
    netrox said:
    Who the hell wants that ugly looking hub? Do Mac users even use any VGA monitors?!?!
    Lenovo thinks that some customers may need it. Besides there are plenty of other ports to use.
    But if I was in the market for one of these, I'd probably choose the OWC TB3 dock instead.
    ai46watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 41
    rwesrwes Posts: 171member
    netrox said:
    Who the hell wants that ugly looking hub? Do Mac users even use any VGA monitors?!?!
    I think the target consumers are companies/individuals who want to buy the new MacBooks, but not replace all their existing displays or use additional adapters. Same reason, I think, for regular Display Port instead of Mini Display Port.

    Many display manufactures were just simply behind the times. Even though I've personally been a fan of Thunderbolt Displays, at an employer, we'd always get Dell Ultrasharp displays; all of which supported regular display port ports, for the longest time.
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 20 of 41
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 177member
    crogers said:
    God damn that is ugly!
    Well Apple is too courageous to even offer one... Generally ThinkPad gear has always had a "sturdy, functional" aesthetic
    dysamoria
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