I was a big fan of OWC’s original Thunderbolt 2 Dock (I still am and use it daily) so when I saw their new Thunderbolt 3 Dock at NAB this year, I knew I had to get my hands on one and give it a spin! Here’s what my experience with it has been so far…
Since I work on both Macs & PCs I’m constantly looking for a streamlined workflow to connect all my devices and peripherals without looking for a plethora of adapters and cables just to switch between my machines. My life is always on the go so for the most part I use either my Lenovo ThinkPad P51 laptop or my 2017 MacBook Pro – which means I share all my production HDs, 4K monitor, speakers, printer, etc. when I’m at my home office or at work.
I’ve been a big fan of OWC’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock since it came out in 2016 and still use it today for all my Firewire drives and TB2 connectivity between both machines (using a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C adapter of course). But when OWC let me test drive their newest Thunderbolt 3 Dock I’ve found not only new levels of connectivity but an expanded dock (when paired with the TB2 dock) that still allows me to access my older archive and production drives – on either platform.
The powered dock also charges up your MacBook Pro through the Thunderbolt 3 port so no need to keep dragging around your Apple power supply if you have a doc at home or work (BIG plus!). The high-powered USB 3.1 Gen 1 port is fast and also assures plenty of power gets to your USB port-powered portable hard drives.
I also love how OWC put the most important accessible ports on the FRONT of the dock so they’re easily accessible on your desk – like the SD Card reader and Analog Audio In/Out.
The Mini Display port supports monitors up to 4K @ 60Hz which is quite useful, but I was perplexed why there wasn’t any HDMI port. The Thunderbolt 2 Dock has one and I found it quite useful. The Mac version of the Thunderbolt 3 Dock also includes a Firewire 800 port that the PC version doesn’t.
I was also hoping to see a Thunderbolt 2 port included for ultimate backwards compatibility with my TB 2 peripherals and hard drives but unfortunately I had to use a 3rd-party TB2-TB3 adapter and use my only other Thunderbolt 3 port to connect the Thunderbolt 2 Dock.
Also, unlike the Thunderbolt 2 Dock, my USB mice just simply don’t want to respond without some major lag, but connecting the mouse receiver on the Thunderbolt 2 Dock or the 4K monitor’s USB seems to work fine.
Mac/PC compatible, as well as two separate versions. SD Card Reader and analog audio in/out port on front of dock. S/PDIF digital audio port, Gigabit Ethernet and 5 USB 3.1 ports (one High-Powered). Powers your Thunderbolt 3 compatible MacBook pro without requiring separate Apple power supply. Easily Mac/PC swappable.
No HDMI port (Mini Display Port only). No Thunderbolt 2 port for backwards compatibility with Thunderbolt 2 Dock and other TB2 peripherals.
MSRP as tested US$379.00