When I bought my first-ever Apple computer in 2016 — a MacBook Pro with touchbar — I was a bit afraid about the abridgement of ports. While on the go, I am appealing abundant accomplished with alone accepting USB-C, but aback home, I like to affix my laptops to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and hardwired Ethernet. In added words, I accomplish my notebooks serve double-duty as makeshift desktops too. I would charge to advantage dongle/adapters to accommodated my needs.
Thankfully, the MacBook Pro USB-C ports are additionally Thundert 3, acceptation the laptop is accordant with high-end advancing stations. Yes, there are accustomed USB-C docks on the bazaar too, but the Thundert 3 models are far above — they can accept added ports and accommodate bigger affection video to monitors. Since they are pricey, selecting the best archetypal can be daunting. Luckily, afterwards abundant testing, I am assured to say I accept begin one account your hard-earned money — StarTech Thundert 3 Dual-4K Advancing Base with SD Agenda Slot.
The name of the artefact tells you a lot about it. It can advance two 4K monitors, and it has a full-sized SD agenda slot. It is important these two appearance are mentioned acutely in the artefact name, because abounding docks don’t action bifold 4K or SD agenda support.
The advanced of the advancing base appearance the full-size SD agenda slot, 3.5mm audio jack, and a powered USB 3.0 Type-A port. While I adulation the adjustment of the agenda clairvoyant and USB port, I am not captivated with the audio anchorage actuality on the front. If you use headphones or a headset, it ability accomplish sense, but not if you use active speakers.
In my case, I use speakers, so I accept an animal cable active from the advanced to them. I would adopt it to be on the rear, but it’s not the the end of the world. A bargain USB audio adapter, such as this one, solves the issue.
On the rear, there are four USB 3.0 Type-A ports. This is abundant for me, as I adopt active peripherals. For example, my keyboard and abrasion will booty up two of them. The added two? A USB webcam and an alien adamantine drive. There is additionally a USB-C anchorage on the rear, which can be acclimated with a Type-A dongle, such as this one, if you charge a fifth such anchorage aback there.
A Gigabit Ethernet anchorage is additionally begin on the back, which is a charge for hardwired networking. Look, I get it, Wi-Fi can be actual fast and reliable these days, but active still reigns absolute — try to use it if you can. I acknowledge the advantage actuality there, but understandably, abounding consumers won’t use it.
Also on the rear are two added USB-C ports, which are absolutely Thundert 3. One connects to the laptop, which makes the berth function, additional accuse the computer too — up to 85 watts. This leaves one accessible Thundert 3 port. That anchorage can be acclimated for aing accessories and devices, but also, it serves as the additional affectation output. You see, there is aloof one DisplayPort — to affix two monitors, you would use the included dongle.
For my testing, I acclimated a MacBook Pro and Windows 10 laptop abundantly with it. I did my accustomed accretion tasks — writing, video editing, media consumption, etc. While I don’t accept two 4K displays for testing, I can affirm that it can advance one at 60Hz after issue. I accept no acumen to anticipate there will be any affair with two 4K displays, as the aggregation claims. Believe it or not, it can additionally advance a 5K adviser — if you accept such a beast.
My better affair was reliability. In my experience, Thundert 3 docks can be actual flaky. Some accepted problems are agitation alive the MacBook Pro from sleep, USB adamantine drive disconnects, and video glitches. Thankfully, the StarTech Thundert 3 Dual-4K Advancing Base with SD Agenda Aperture has accurate flawless. Not already did it accomplish beneath than altogether — no glitches or oddities.
The SD agenda aperture is both fast and reliable, authoritative appointment video and angel files from my camera to the computer a treat. I acknowledge not accepting to affix a committed SD agenda clairvoyant — I can leave my adaptable clairvoyant in my bag, abbreviation the achievability of me apathy it at home. Sadly, there is no committed micro SD slot, but an adapter can be used, of course.
Despite my admiration to accept the 3.5mm audio jack on the rear rather than the front, it still performs wonderfully. It about serves as a USB DAC, accouterment what should be above affection to the committed anchorage on the MacBook Pro. With that said, I noticed no aberration amid the two.
Ultimately, whether application the StarTech Thundert 3 Dual-4K Advancing Base with SD Agenda Aperture with macOS or Windows, it performed wonderfully. The dock’s aluminum anatomy feels acutely premium, but also, it looks abuse admirable too. If you are the buyer of a Thundert 3 laptop, and you appetite to use it as a desktop, this is the advancing base to get — absolute for both offices and abode rooms. It is awful recommended.
It can be had from Amazon actuality for $299.99. Please note: It is alone awash in “space gray” color.
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