Belkin shows off Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD, no update on availability

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2017
Announced in October, Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD made an appearance at CES 2017 on Tuesday, but the company has yet to set a release date and price point for the hotly anticipated device.




Seen amongst a pile of wireless routers and WeMo home automation devices -- and a sprinkling of Christmas lights -- the Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD appeared to be a functional model, though its USB-C connector, headphone jack, ethernet and other ports were not plugged into a host computer. Whether or not the dock was in working order is unclear.

On aesthetics alone, the dock is an impressively stark product that would look at home next to Apple's new MacBook Pro series. With a compact, svelte aluminum design and clean front facia, the user sees only a USB 3.0 type A port, audio in/out jack and single LED status light out front.




On the back are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two additional USB 3.0 ports with 1.5 amps of charging power, a DisplayPort, one 3.5mm audio out jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port. An external 170W power adapter connects through a dedicated socket and serves up enough juice to power peripherals and deliver 85 watts of power to a MacBook connected via Thunderbolt 3.

Along with external hard drives, audio equipment and other accessories, the updated Express Dock HD can support dual 4K displays or one 5K display over a single Thunderbolt 3 cable.




Unveiled last year, Belkin's dock promises to greatly expand the new Thunderbolt 3-only MacBook Pro's I/O options, a feature some users view as a deficiency.

While the unit on display today appeared to be a prototype, Belkin had no new information regarding pricing or availability.

When it does see release, the new Express Dock HD will face stiff competition from the likes of Lenovo and OWC, which earlier today announced its own -- distinctly ThinkPad -- Thunderbolt 3 docking station ahead of wide release in February. The Lenovo version comes well equipped for $280, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, five USB 3.0 type A ports, two DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, an HDMI port, audio jack and legacy VGA connector. However, the black brick is only able to provide 64 watts of charging power, good enough for a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 10
    rogifan_newrogifan_new Posts: 4,297member
    Ben Bajarin, normally a pro-Apple tech analyst, says Amazon is way ahead in this space and all his smart home devices are part of Amazon's ecosystem not Apple's (because it's so much better). I think Apple should be worried about Amazon here. A lot of products being announced at CES are incorporating Amazon's APIs. I think even the biggest Apple bulls should be concerned about Apple's position in the voice first space (among other things). Can Siri really be considered best in class? I'm not so sure.
    kamilton
  • Reply 2 of 10
    crowleycrowley Posts: 7,616member
    Ben Bajarin, normally a pro-Apple tech analyst, says Amazon is way ahead in this space and all his smart home devices are part of Amazon's ecosystem not Apple's (because it's so much better). I think Apple should be worried about Amazon here. A lot of products being announced at CES are incorporating Amazon's APIs. I think even the biggest Apple bulls should be concerned about Apple's position in the voice first space (among other things). Can Siri really be considered best in class? I'm not so sure.
    Amazon is well ahead in the Thunderbolt dock space?

    i think you posted this in the wrong thread :)
    djkfisherneo-techmacxpresspulseimages
  • Reply 3 of 10
    Ben Bajarin, normally a pro-Apple tech analyst, says Amazon is way ahead in this space and all his smart home devices are part of Amazon's ecosystem not Apple's (because it's so much better). I think Apple should be worried about Amazon here. A lot of products being announced at CES are incorporating Amazon's APIs. I think even the biggest Apple bulls should be concerned about Apple's position in the voice first space (among other things). Can Siri really be considered best in class? I'm not so sure.
    He also said "The biggest challenge however is that Apple does not stand still and has established itself as one of, if not THE, most innovative consumer products company in the market."
    pulseimages
  • Reply 4 of 10
    CES does tend to push the limits a bit... For those of us who wish Apple offered more of a portable desktop (ie. 17" macbook pro), including plenty of ports, tons of upgrade flexibility & top spec performance, Acer may be setting a new bar: https://www.cnet.com/products/acer-predator-21x/preview/ (note curved monitor) http://www.displaylag.com/acer-announces-z301ct-xb252q-xb272-predator-gaming-monitors/ Both include eye tracking, which has me asking if this may be the first real potential interface innovation and productivity enhancement beyond the venerable mouse (including 3D mouse) and foot pedals to date...? And at the other end of the ports vs weight dialogue: Lenovo Thinkpad 2.5 lbs carbon fibre having both old and new ports, others with touch screen, OLED display... It will be interesting to see what shakes out as best of show...
    edited January 2017
  • Reply 5 of 10
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 252member
    I presume the cable from the hub to the computer carries both POWER + DATA (Ethernet etc). Which leaves the question: How long is the cable from the hub to the notebook? If 1m, it is not long enough to hide all your cables, connectors in the cupboard. And most of these things are just 1m long ... and since no cable extenders are available for USB 3.1 that carry POWER and DATA, this is a problem. Please tell me the cable is 2m long? Or longer?

  • Reply 6 of 10
    nhtnht Posts: 4,516member
    The thing about USB-C/TB3 that we are seeing is that they are already supported by multiple vendors and not just those traditionally in the Mac ecosystem. In addition to Lenovo both Dell (TB-16 dock) and HP (zbook 200W dock) have TB3 docks.

    The PC ecosystem will go USB-C/TB-3 this year and USB-C docks, chargers, batteries, drives, etc will rapidly become the norm by late 2017.  Especially since flagship android phones have gone USB-C in 2016 that reviews of new phones ding any that don't use USB-C.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 10
    neilmneilm Posts: 874member
    wozwoz said:
    I presume the cable from the hub to the computer carries both POWER + DATA (Ethernet etc). Which leaves the question: How long is the cable from the hub to the notebook? If 1m, it is not long enough to hide all your cables, connectors in the cupboard. And most of these things are just 1m long ... and since no cable extenders are available for USB 3.1 that carry POWER and DATA, this is a problem. Please tell me the cable is 2m long? Or longer?

    Why is this a problem? A single Thunderbolt 3/USB-C cable connects the dock to the laptop, carrying power and all signals. TB3 cables are readily available in various lengths from several vendors. At $30-40 they're still kind of pricey, but I expect they'll come down over time.
  • Reply 8 of 10
    Are these usable with TB2, albeit with an adaptor?  I have a MB Air with TB2 and would dearly like one of these in advance of my purchase of one of the new MacBook Pros.  
    pulseimages
  • Reply 9 of 10
    wozwozwozwoz Posts: 252member
    neilm said:
    wozwoz said:
    I presume the cable from the hub to the computer carries both POWER + DATA (Ethernet etc). Which leaves the question: How long is the cable from the hub to the notebook? If 1m, it is not long enough to hide all your cables, connectors in the cupboard. And most of these things are just 1m long ... and since no cable extenders are available for USB 3.1 that carry POWER and DATA, this is a problem. Please tell me the cable is 2m long? Or longer?

    Why is this a problem? A single Thunderbolt 3/USB-C cable connects the dock to the laptop, carrying power and all signals. TB3 cables are readily available in various lengths from several vendors. At $30-40 they're still kind of pricey, but I expect they'll come down over time.
    If the single POWER?DATA cable is not hardwired into the hub, then that would seem to be fine. The problem occurs when the hubs have the power/data cable (to computer) hard-wired in ... combined with the fact that one cannot get cable extenders for POWER+DATA for USB3.1
  • Reply 10 of 10
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member
    These will be in warehouses by 2021 and Belkin will decide not to ship due to USBF ports becoming more standard.
Sign In or Register to comment.