Review: Promise’s $249 TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers Lots of USB Ports and an SD Card Reader

Thunderbolt 3 docks continue to hit the market, and today we're taking a look a recent entrant from popular data storage company Promise Technology, the TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock.


I've tested quite a few Thunderbolt 3 docks over the past year, and the TD-300 ranks right up with the best I've seen due to standout features like five USB 3.0 ports and an SD 3.0 card reader. At $249, it's also priced very competitively against other full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks.

Design


In the box, you'll find the typical contents for a dock of this type, including the dock itself, an external power brick, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. Any other cables such as for USB devices or an HDMI display need to be provided separately, although they frequently come with the devices you'd be connecting.

The TD-300 comes in a horizontal form factor similar to many others on the market, and it sits nicely under an external display. It measures just over 9 inches wide, 3.5 inches deep and a little over an inch tall, and weighs just about a pound, so it's a pretty typical Thunderbolt 3 dock from a size perspective.


The enclosure is made of black plastic, matte on the top and glossy around the sides, which sets it apart from the silver and gray finishes seen on most of the other docks I've tested. There's a fairly small Promise Technology logo in the rear left corner of the dock's top, but it's not terribly obtrusive, and the top tapers slightly toward the front of the dock.


The front of the dock includes a pair of status lights, a green one letting you know there's power to the dock and a blue one signifying an active connection to a computer. The lights are fairly bright and can be distracting in a dark room. You'll also find the handy SD card slot, a pair of USB Type-A 3.0 ports (the left of which supports higher-power 5W/1.5A charging) and an audio in/out port.


On the rear, you'll find three more USB Type-A 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and the DC-in connection for power.

USB Ports


With all five USB ports being USB 3.0, they support 5 Gbps connections, which isn't the fastest standard but is typical for Thunderbolt 3 docks where bandwidth is frequently shared among a host of peripherals. Most other docks on the market offer only three USB ports, so the inclusion of five here offers some nice expandability, and with two of them on the front there's easy access for USB accessories that only need to be attached occasionally.

Testing transfer speeds using a 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 CalDigit Tuff external SSD and Blackmagic's disk speed testing software, I saw speeds around 350 MB/s read and 320 MB/s write through the Type-A USB 3.0 ports, which is typical for docks like this.

USB-A CalDigit Tuff speeds

If you want better transfer speeds and don't need the second Thunderbolt 3 port on the dock for a display, you can hook up a USB-C external drive that way, where I saw speeds in excess of 500 MB/s read and 475 MB/s write with the CalDigit Tuff.

USB-C CalDigit Tuff speeds over Thunderbolt 3 port

With a top-of-the-line Thunderbolt 3 drive like the new ThunderBlade V4 from OWC, I saw read and write speeds approaching 1900 MB/s, pretty close to what I previously saw with a direct connection to my MacBook Pro. Obviously if you start tacking other high-bandwidth peripherals like a 4K HDMI display on to other ports on the dock, the SSD speeds will drop.

SD Card Slot


The TD-300's SD 3.0 card reader on the front of the dock is a great feature that's missing on most other Thunderbolt 3 docks released so far. If you've got photos or other data stored on an SD card, it's great to be able to just pop the card into the front of the dock and have it show up on your computer without needing to connect a separate card reader over USB.

Displays


In line with other Thunderbolt 3 docks, Promise's dock can support either a single 5K display attached to the downstream Thunderbolt 3 port, or a pair of 4K displays attached through the Thunderbolt 3 port and the HDMI port. I tested extensively with an LG UltraFine 5K display hooked up via Thunderbolt 3 and it ran at the full 60 Hz refresh rate with no problems. The usual macOS System Preferences let you manage the monitors in terms of mirroring/extending and arrangement.

Charging


The TD-300 offers up to 60 watts of charging power over its Thunderbolt 3 connection to a computer, which is enough for a 13-inch MacBook Pro but falls short of what a 15-inch model might be able to draw at maximum load. In reality, 60 watts is often enough to keep even a 15-inch MacBook Pro charged up under normal use, but if you're doing a lot of heavy lifting with your machine it might not be able to quite keep up. Recharging a depleted battery via the TD-300 will also be a bit slower than from an 85-watt dock or the 87-watt power adapter that comes with the MacBook Pro.

Most Thunderbolt 3 docks seem to be going with the 60-watt power delivery, so the TD-300 is by no means unique in this limitation, but there are 85-watt ones on the market if that's a necessity for you.

Wrap-up


The Promise TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock offers a solid set of features at a very competitive price point compared to similar docks. It doesn't have FireWire or eSATA ports like a few competitors have, but with those ports becoming less and less popular it makes sense for Promise to put its focus on the flexibility of USB while also including a built-in SD card reader.

Full 85-watt charging support would have been nice to see, so if you're a 15-inch MacBook Pro owner you'll need to decide if that's a dealbreaker based on whether you push your machine hard enough to need the full power, and if so, whether you're okay with using the standard MacBook Pro power adapter alongside the dock.

But overall, the TD-300 stacks up very well against the competition and is worth a close look. The Promise TD-300 is priced at $249 and is available from a variety of retailers including B&H Photo and Amazon.

Note: Promise Technology provided the TD-300 to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with B&H Photo and Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Promise Technology Debuts $249 Thunderbolt 3 Dock With 5 USB-A Ports, 2 TB3 Ports and SD Card Slot

Promise Technology today announced the launch of its new TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 dock, which is designed for Apple's latest MacBook Pro models with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

The TD-300 features five USB 3.0 ports (three at the back and two at the front), two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, an audio in/out port, and an HDMI 2.0 port.


There are a range of Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market now, but Promise Technology's TD-300 includes a good number of ports and an SD card slot, something that we've only seen on OWC's TB3 dock. A Thunderbolt 3 cable and power adapter are also included.


Promise Technology's dock supports two 4K displays or one 5K display and delivers up to 60W of power to charge a MacBook Pro. That's sufficient for the 13-inch MacBook Pro models, but may be inadequate for charging a 15-inch MacBook Pro under a heavy load.
"As part of our mission to offer solutions that are optimized for rich media workflows, we're constantly expanding our portfolio of innovative solutions that harness the latest technology," noted Vijay Char, president, Promise Technology USA. "The addition of a Thunderbolt 3 dock brings a new level of efficiency and flexibility to creative professionals. Laptops can be charged at the fastest speeds possible, images from DSLR cameras are easily transferred, peripherals such as hard drives and monitors can be daisy-chained for increased productivity, 4K video can be sent to multiple displays, and more. The possibilities are truly endless."
The TD-300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock can be purchased from the Promise website or from Amazon for $249.


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Promise Technology’s ‘Apollo’ Personal Cloud Storage Device Supports iOS 11 Files App

Promise Technology's recently released Apollo Cloud 2 Duo storage device is able to interface with the iOS 11 Files app thanks to a new update that was introduced to the accompanying Apollo Cloud iOS app today.

The Apollo Cloud 2 Duo is a personal cloud storage solution designed to give families and small businesses the cloud's ease of use with the security of local storage. The network-attached storage device offers 8TB of storage space and is accessed through a home Wi-Fi setup.


Mac and iOS apps allow users to interface with the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo from Macs and iOS devices, and when used with an iPhone or iPad, files stored on the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo can be easily transferred to and from the new Files app available in iOS 11. On an iPad, Drag and Drop is also supported, so managing files from an iOS device is easier than ever.

Other Apollo Cloud 2 Duo features include a quick camera roll backup tool to save your photos from iOS devices, built-in albums with facial recognition for organizing those photos, Time Machine support for Mac backups, and selective sync, for syncing specific folders on your Mac right to the Apollo.

Because the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo connects to a home Wi-Fi network, there are no monthly storage fees.

Along with today's app update, the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo also became available for purchase in Apple retail stores. The Apollo Cloud 2 Duo is available for $449 from Apple or directly from Promise Technology.


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Promise Technology Unveils New ‘Apollo Cloud 2 Duo’ Personal Cloud Storage Device

Promise Technology today announced the launch of its second-generation personal cloud device, the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo. Like the company's original Apollo product, the Cloud 2 Duo is designed to provide a network-attached storage solution to families and small businesses who want the cloud's ease of use with the security of local storage.

The Cloud 2 Duo offers double the storage capacity of the original Apollo models at 8TB, but continues to feature a sleek, compact white housing that blends easily with any decor.


Promise Technology has designed its Apollo Cloud products to be simple and easy to use right out of the box, so customers do not need to have networking experience to get their personal clouds up and running. It plugs in and then is accessed through Mac and iOS apps, which are also being refreshed with new functionality.

The Apollo Cloud 2 Duo does not require monthly fees because it's a cloud storage solution connected to a home WiFi setup. With the Cloud 2 Duo, all of a user's files are accessible on any device, but they're safe because they're stored on a local device rather than a remote server.

Up to 40 people can use a single Apollo Cloud 2 Duo, and with 8TB of space, there's enough for the whole family to store all of their files in the cloud. Files stored on the Cloud 2 Duo stay synced and can be shared with others just like files hosted on a third-party cloud service like Dropbox.
"In launching our second-generation product, we designed the Apollo Cloud Duo with careful consideration and our consumers needs in mind," said Justin Cleveland, Promise Technology's Director of Biz Dev -- IoT. "Aligning with our main goal to redesign storage and sharing, the Duo is easy to use and ensures content is always with the consumer -- whether they are at home or on-the-go."
Inside the Cloud 2 Duo, there's a 1GHz Marvell Dual Core processor and the aforementioned 8TB hard drive. The hard drive can be configured in RAID0 for more storage space or RAID1 for 4TB of storage and a mirrored backup. Promise Technology has also built in support for hot swappable hard drives so storage can be switched out in just a few minutes.

Apollo Cloud 2 Duo features include quick camera roll backup for your iPhone or iPad, photo organization with location and facial recognition support, and support for Time Machine for Mac backups.

Promise Technology is selling the Apollo Cloud 2 Duo for $449, and it is available for purchase starting today on the Promise website.


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CES 2017: Promise Technology Unveils New 2TB Apollo Cloud With Lower $199 Price Tag

Promise Technology today unveiled the latest version of its Apollo Cloud personal cloud storage device, which offers 2TB of storage for $199. The 2TB Apollo Cloud joins the original 4TB model which is priced at $249.

The Apollo Cloud is designed to combine the ease of use of the cloud with the security of local storage, making network-attached storage simple and accessible for anyone. The Apollo Cloud lets individuals, families, and small businesses share and access files from anywhere.

apollocloud
Content stored on Apollo Cloud can be accessed through dedicated iOS and Mac apps. Up to 10 users can use the Apollo Cloud, with each receiving personal storage and the ability to share files with others.

Apollo Cloud features AES-256 encryption to safeguard data, and it has been optimized for macOS Sierra and Time Machine backups. Apollo is hoping the new 2TB storage tier and entry-level pricing will make the Apollo Cloud available to an even broader range of users.

The 2TB Apollo Cloud will be available from Apple retail stores and the online Apple Store in February.


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