We’ve been following Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock since it first showed up at IDF 2011. After receiving a makeover, the device again popped up at CES 2012 with the promise of a September 2012 release. It might be seven months late, but the wait is finally over.
While the Thunderbolt Express Dock keeps pretty much the same low profile Mac-matching aluminum exterior we saw back in January 2012, there are a few minor tweaks in the port department.
At the rear, there’s still a FireWire 800 port, 3.5 mm audio input, 3.5 mm audio output, gigabit Ethernet and two Thunderbolt ports offering bidirectional 10 Gbps throughput. But the three USB ports have now been upgraded from USB 2.0 to 3.0, while the HDMI port has been ditched in the release model.
The first Thunderbolt connection is an upstream port for connection directly to a Thunderbolt-equipped laptop, (note that a Thunderbolt cable is not included with the dock), while the second is a downstream port that allows daisy-chaining of up to five Thunderbolt devices. Belkin has also added a cable channel to feed a cable through from the rear to the front of the device to make it easier to connect to a laptop.
Factor in the three USB 3.0 and FireWire 800 port and Belkin says users can connect up to eight devices to their Mac via a single cable. That’s sure to appeal to users who shuttle their laptop between work and home and face the hassle of connecting and disconnecting multiple peripherals at the beginning and end of each workday.
The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock is available now for US$299.99.