Sonnet Launches Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI 2.0 Adapter Compatible With Mac

Sonnet Technologies this week launched a Thunderbolt 3 to dual HDMI 2.0 adapter compatible with Mac and Windows PCs.


The plug-and-play adapter enables the connection of up to two 4K Ultra HD displays with HDMI 2.0 to a single Thunderbolt 3 port at 60Hz on computers such as the 2016 and later MacBook Pro.

The adapter is powered by the computer it is plugged into and also supports monitors with lower resolutions such as 1920x1080 and 1920x1200.

The adapter is available now for a suggested price of around $90 in the United States on Sonnet's website and Amazon. By comparison, StarTech and Plugable currently sell equivalent adapters on Amazon for around $110 and $90 respectively.


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Review: Plugable’s Flagship TBT3-UDV Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers Lots of USB Ports at a Reasonable Price

I've covered a lot of Thunderbolt 3 docks in recent months, but there's one more upcoming model that's worth taking a look at. The TBT3-UDV is Plugable's upcoming flagship Thunderbolt 3 dock, featuring five USB 3.0 Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, stereo in/out, and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. The dock isn't available for purchase yet, as Plugable is still awaiting Thunderbolt certification, but the company tells me it's aiming for an early October launch assuming the certification comes through in a timely fashion.


In the box, you'll find the typical components including the dock itself, an external power brick, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. One nice touch I haven't seen with other docks is an included DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 active adapter, normally sold separately for $19, which makes it easier to hook up a broader array of displays, televisions, and projectors to the dock.


Notably, the TBT3-UDV can be oriented either horizontally like most other Thunderbolt 3 docks or vertically using an included stand. It's a nice feature that the dock has in common with CalDigit's TS3, but differences in their designs mean the Plugable dock is taller and more slender in its vertical orientation compared to the TS3's block-like design.

Design


While it might have an awful name, the design of the TBT3-UDV stands out on a desk, particularly in its vertical orientation. The enclosure is constructed of a matte aluminum that's fairly close to Apple's Space Gray color and which has a few deep grooves on each side to add some style. The curved front edge of the dock is made of a glossy black plastic, as is the rear port panel.


There are somewhat prominent white Plugable logos on each side, as well as some model and regulatory information near the bottom of one of the sides. A bit cleaner look would have been nicer, especially considering the eye-catching hardware design, but it's not terrible. A pair of status lights, green for power and blue for data connection to a computer, are hidden beneath the black plastic on the front edge of the dock.

USB Ports


One of the key features of the TBT3-UDV is its five USB Type-A ports, four on the rear and one on the front. This array of USB ports is only matched by OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock, with nearly every other dock on the market offering only three ports.

SSD speeds connected to USB-A port

All five ports are 5 Gbps USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1, so you'll get solid transfer speeds like the 325 MB/s write and 350 MB/s read I saw with a fast external SSD, typical for these types of docks. If you want even more speed, you'll have to use the available Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port on the rear for 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, which clocked in at 470 MB/s write and 495 MB/s read with the external SSD.

SSD speeds connected to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port

Unfortunately, the four USB ports on the rear of the dock are clustered very closely together. It helps keep the overall dock footprint compact, but it means if you have oversized USB peripherals like card readers or certain flash drives plugged into the back, they will likely block access to some of the other USB ports.

Ill-fitting oversized flash drive in front USB port

I also have one fairly wide flash drive that won’t even plug into the front USB port because of the recessed design. It doesn't really even fit in the two rear USB ports closest to the edge of the dock, although I can insert it just far enough to make a connection. This might not be a deal breaker if you're mostly connecting USB cables and skinny sticks, but it's something to be aware of.

Displays


As with other Thunderbolt 3 docks, the TBT3-UDV can support up to either a single 5K display over Thunderbolt 3 or two 4K displays using a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port and the DisplayPort port (potentially with adapters to convert to other standards). Hooking up an LG UltraFine 5K display to the downstream Thunderbolt 3 port worked fine, with the display running at 60 Hz and experiencing no lag or other hiccups.

In addition to the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 cable included in the box with the dock, Plugable also sent me two of the company's USB-C cables: the USB-C to DisplayPort and USB-C to HDMI 2.0 cables that have proven popular with customers on Amazon for their quality and pricing (currently $21.95 each).

Plugable's USB-C to DisplayPort (top) and USB-C to HDMI 2.0 (bottom) cables

The cables, which it's important to emphasize are sold separately and not included with the TBT3-UDV dock, expand the number of display options for use with the dock, and can also be used on a standalone basis with USB-C Macs to connect to external displays that don't directly support USB-C.

I tested hooking up to an LG 27UD88 Ultra HD display in a variety of configurations, including direct DisplayPort to DisplayPort connection from the dock, DisplayPort to HDMI via the dock using the included adapter, and USB-C to DisplayPort and HDMI from both the dock and directly from the MacBook Pro using the additional cables supplied by Plugable.

All of the connections to the DisplayPort port on the 27UD88 worked perfectly, running at 60 Hz with no issues. The HDMI connections, however, only ran at 30 Hz by default, despite the fact that everything in the chain should support HDMI 2.0 at 60 Hz.

Plugable was extremely helpful and responsive with troubleshooting, but ultimately the only way to get 60 Hz over HDMI was to force the refresh rate using SwitchResX, and even then it only worked with one of the two HDMI ports on the LG display. Testing with an Anker USB-C to HDMI adapter also required using SwitchResX to reach 60 Hz, so it seems likely my refresh rate problems are related more to the LG display than any issue with Plugable's products, and Plugable is in touch with LG in an attempt to diagnose the issue.

Charging


One important area of difference among the various Thunderbolt 3 docks is the amount of charging power they are able to output over Thunderbolt 3/USB-C to power a connected computer. Some are as low as 15 watts, which won't be nearly enough to power a MacBook Pro. Others are capable of pushing out either 60 or 85 watts, and Plugable's TBT3-UDV comes in at the lower 60-watt figure. That's enough to fully power a 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it won't be able to maximize charging of the larger 15-inch model.

If you're a 15-inch MacBook Pro owner, whether Plugable's dock will be able to provide enough power depends on your usage. In my testing, the 60-watt charging power was able to keep my MacBook Pro battery at 100 percent during an entire work day, but I wasn't doing highly demanding work like processing video.

Those users putting heavy workloads on their 15-inch MacBook Pro models will likely find the battery running down even while plugged in, albeit at a much slower rate than if you were on battery alone. If the work you do is less demanding, 60 watts might be enough to keep your battery topped off. Regardless, if your battery isn't already at full capacity, charging will be slower from the dock than from the MacBook Pro's own 87-watt adapter.

Wrap-up


As I noted up top, the TBT3-UDV isn't yet available for purchase, but Plugable says the pre-release unit I received for review should be identical to the shipping version unless any issues crop up during the final Thunderbolt certification process. Plugable is targeting early October for launch, with pricing set at $249.95 including the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 active adapter. It's a competitive price point for such a full-featured dock that's really only lacking the full 85-watt charging power compared to other top-tier docks, with most of those priced in the $300–$350 range.

In addition to the relatively good pricing, the five USB ports offer great flexibility for connecting multiple peripherals like iPhone or Apple Watch charging docks, card readers, external drives, and more, although a bit more spacing between the ports would have been a good idea and a built-in SD card slot like on the OWC dock would have been nice bonus.

The option for vertical or horizontal orientation of the dock is also a nice feature to fit in with a variety of desk setups, and I like the slender vertical design with the separate stand to keep it stable. As a result, the TBT3-UDV looks like it'll be a great option for those considering a Thunderbolt 3 dock, as long as the 60 watts of charging is sufficient for your needs.

Note: Plugable provided the TBT3-UDV and the USB-C cables to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Review: Plugable’s Flagship TBT3-UDV Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers Lots of USB Ports at a Reasonable Price

I've covered a lot of Thunderbolt 3 docks in recent months, but there's one more upcoming model that's worth taking a look at. The TBT3-UDV is Plugable's upcoming flagship Thunderbolt 3 dock, featuring five USB 3.0 Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, stereo in/out, and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports. The dock isn't available for purchase yet, as Plugable is still awaiting Thunderbolt certification, but the company tells me it's aiming for an early October launch assuming the certification comes through in a timely fashion.


In the box, you'll find the typical components including the dock itself, an external power brick, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. One nice touch I haven't seen with other docks is an included DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 active adapter, normally sold separately for $19, which makes it easier to hook up a broader array of displays, televisions, and projectors to the dock.


Notably, the TBT3-UDV can be oriented either horizontally like most other Thunderbolt 3 docks or vertically using an included stand. It's a nice feature that the dock has in common with CalDigit's TS3, but differences in their designs mean the Plugable dock is taller and more slender in its vertical orientation compared to the TS3's block-like design.

Design


While it might have an awful name, the design of the TBT3-UDV stands out on a desk, particularly in its vertical orientation. The enclosure is constructed of a matte aluminum that's fairly close to Apple's Space Gray color and which has a few deep grooves on each side to add some style. The curved front edge of the dock is made of a glossy black plastic, as is the rear port panel.


There are somewhat prominent white Plugable logos on each side, as well as some model and regulatory information near the bottom of one of the sides. A bit cleaner look would have been nicer, especially considering the eye-catching hardware design, but it's not terrible. A pair of status lights, green for power and blue for data connection to a computer, are hidden beneath the black plastic on the front edge of the dock.

USB Ports


One of the key features of the TBT3-UDV is its five USB Type-A ports, four on the rear and one on the front. This array of USB ports is only matched by OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock, with nearly every other dock on the market offering only three ports.

SSD speeds connected to USB-A port

All five ports are 5 Gbps USB 3.0/3.1 Gen 1, so you'll get solid transfer speeds like the 325 MB/s write and 350 MB/s read I saw with a fast external SSD, typical for these types of docks. If you want even more speed, you'll have to use the available Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port on the rear for 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, which clocked in at 470 MB/s write and 495 MB/s read with the external SSD.

SSD speeds connected to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port

Unfortunately, the four USB ports on the rear of the dock are clustered very closely together. It helps keep the overall dock footprint compact, but it means if you have oversized USB peripherals like card readers or certain flash drives plugged into the back, they will likely block access to some of the other USB ports.

Ill-fitting oversized flash drive in front USB port

I also have one fairly wide flash drive that won’t even plug into the front USB port because of the recessed design. It doesn't really even fit in the two rear USB ports closest to the edge of the dock, although I can insert it just far enough to make a connection. This might not be a deal breaker if you're mostly connecting USB cables and skinny sticks, but it's something to be aware of.

Displays


As with other Thunderbolt 3 docks, the TBT3-UDV can support up to either a single 5K display over Thunderbolt 3 or two 4K displays using a Thunderbolt 3/USB-C port and the DisplayPort port (potentially with adapters to convert to other standards). Hooking up an LG UltraFine 5K display to the downstream Thunderbolt 3 port worked fine, with the display running at 60 Hz and experiencing no lag or other hiccups.

In addition to the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 cable included in the box with the dock, Plugable also sent me two of the company's USB-C cables: the USB-C to DisplayPort and USB-C to HDMI 2.0 cables that have proven popular with customers on Amazon for their quality and pricing (currently $21.95 each).

Plugable's USB-C to DisplayPort (top) and USB-C to HDMI 2.0 (bottom) cables

The cables, which it's important to emphasize are sold separately and not included with the TBT3-UDV dock, expand the number of display options for use with the dock, and can also be used on a standalone basis with USB-C Macs to connect to external displays that don't directly support USB-C.

I tested hooking up to an LG 27UD88 Ultra HD display in a variety of configurations, including direct DisplayPort to DisplayPort connection from the dock, DisplayPort to HDMI via the dock using the included adapter, and USB-C to DisplayPort and HDMI from both the dock and directly from the MacBook Pro using the additional cables supplied by Plugable.

All of the connections to the DisplayPort port on the 27UD88 worked perfectly, running at 60 Hz with no issues. The HDMI connections, however, only ran at 30 Hz by default, despite the fact that everything in the chain should support HDMI 2.0 at 60 Hz.

Plugable was extremely helpful and responsive with troubleshooting, but ultimately the only way to get 60 Hz over HDMI was to force the refresh rate using SwitchResX, and even then it only worked with one of the two HDMI ports on the LG display. Testing with an Anker USB-C to HDMI adapter also required using SwitchResX to reach 60 Hz, so it seems likely my refresh rate problems are related more to the LG display than any issue with Plugable's products, and Plugable is in touch with LG in an attempt to diagnose the issue.

Charging


One important area of difference among the various Thunderbolt 3 docks is the amount of charging power they are able to output over Thunderbolt 3/USB-C to power a connected computer. Some are as low as 15 watts, which won't be nearly enough to power a MacBook Pro. Others are capable of pushing out either 60 or 85 watts, and Plugable's TBT3-UDV comes in at the lower 60-watt figure. That's enough to fully power a 13-inch MacBook Pro, but it won't be able to maximize charging of the larger 15-inch model.

If you're a 15-inch MacBook Pro owner, whether Plugable's dock will be able to provide enough power depends on your usage. In my testing, the 60-watt charging power was able to keep my MacBook Pro battery at 100 percent during an entire work day, but I wasn't doing highly demanding work like processing video.

Those users putting heavy workloads on their 15-inch MacBook Pro models will likely find the battery running down even while plugged in, albeit at a much slower rate than if you were on battery alone. If the work you do is less demanding, 60 watts might be enough to keep your battery topped off. Regardless, if your battery isn't already at full capacity, charging will be slower from the dock than from the MacBook Pro's own 87-watt adapter.

Wrap-up


As I noted up top, the TBT3-UDV isn't yet available for purchase, but Plugable says the pre-release unit I received for review should be identical to the shipping version unless any issues crop up during the final Thunderbolt certification process. Plugable is targeting early October for launch, with pricing set at $249.95 including the DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 active adapter. It's a competitive price point for such a full-featured dock that's really only lacking the full 85-watt charging power compared to other top-tier docks, with most of those priced in the $300–$350 range.

In addition to the relatively good pricing, the five USB ports offer great flexibility for connecting multiple peripherals like iPhone or Apple Watch charging docks, card readers, external drives, and more, although a bit more spacing between the ports would have been a good idea and a built-in SD card slot like on the OWC dock would have been nice bonus.

The option for vertical or horizontal orientation of the dock is also a nice feature to fit in with a variety of desk setups, and I like the slender vertical design with the separate stand to keep it stable. As a result, the TBT3-UDV looks like it'll be a great option for those considering a Thunderbolt 3 dock, as long as the 60 watts of charging is sufficient for your needs.

Note: Plugable provided the TBT3-UDV and the USB-C cables to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Review: IOGEAR’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock Does the Job, but Comes Up Short on Charging Power

Thunderbolt 3 docks continue to flood the market, and today I'm taking a look at IOGEAR's Thunderbolt 3 Quantum Docking Station. IOGEAR's dock offers many of the same features typically seen on other Thunderbolt 3 docks, including multiple USB ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, headphone and microphone jacks, a DisplayPort port, and a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports to allow for daisy chaining, all in a familiar horizontal design used by many other docks.


Most notably, the IOGEAR Thunderbolt 3 Quantum Docking Station looks identical to CalDigit's TS3 Lite that I reviewed a few months ago, with the exception of color and finish. While CalDigit's dock has an enclosure of brushed aluminum and black matte plastic, IOGEAR's has more of a satin matte finish that's slightly lighter in color, paired with white matte plastic. In size, shape, and port layout, however, these two docks are identical.

Caldigit's TS3 Lite (left) vs. IOGEAR's Thunderbolt 3 Quantum Docking Station (right)

The IOGEAR dock looks decent, with its aluminum finish coming close to the silver color Apple uses on its notebooks. A fairly unobtrusive IOGEAR logo is printed on the top of the dock, and it comes with an external power brick and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable for connecting to a host computer at maximum speeds.

Meeting the standard for Thunderbolt 3 docks, IOGEAR's version supports up to a single 5K display over Thunderbolt 3 or dual 4K displays over a combination of Thunderbolt 3 and DisplayPort. I experienced no hiccups connecting an LG UltraFine 5K display at up to 60 Hz through one of the dock's Thunderbolt 3 ports.


In line with every other dock I've reviewed with the exception of OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock, IOGEAR's dock includes three USB ports, with IOGEAR opting to go with one Type-A on the rear and one each of Type-A and Type-C on the front for easy access.


All three ports run at 5 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 1 speeds, and the inclusion of a Type-C port is a nice benefit as peripherals start to move in that direction. The USB ports operate at expected speeds once overhead is accounted for, with a CalDigit Tuff SSD running at 325 MB/s write and 350 MB/s read over both Type-A and Type-C, in line with other Thunderbolt 3 docks featuring 5 Gbps USB ports.


As with the TS3 Lite, one of the main limitations with IOGEAR's dock is that it only supports up to 15 watts of charging power over Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, meaning it won't be able to power your MacBook Pro over the same cable used for data and video and you'll need to hook up your computer's power brick.

Attempting to power my 2016 15-inch MacBook Pro solely through the dock merely slowed the rate of battery life decrease, even under light usage. Depending on your setup such as willingness to use your Mac's power brick or having another monitor with higher charging power already connected, this might not be a deal breaker, but with many other Thunderbolt 3 docks offering 60 or even 85 watts of charging power it's an unfortunate limitation.

The real deal breaker, however, is price, unless you're very careful in shopping around. IOGEAR's dock carries a list price of $299.95, in the same range as docks with better features such as higher charging power, and a full $100 more than the essentially identical TS3 Lite from CalDigit. You can certainly find cheaper prices on IOGEAR's dock such as current $225 pricing at Amazon, but even that is still higher than the TS3 Lite.

Authorized reseller Provantage currently has it for $178, but with shipping starting at $27, the deal isn't quite as good as it first appears. Even with those deals, it's disappointing how much hunting you need to do to try find a good price on this dock.

As a result, it's hard to recommend the Thunderbolt 3 Quantum Docking Station unless you can find it at a really great price. The TS3 Lite is generally cheaper for identical features, while other docks like OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock with more USB ports and an SD card slot or Elgato's dock or CalDigit's TS3 with more features at the same list price offer better values.

Note: IOGEAR provided the Thunderbolt 3 Quantum Docking Station to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Sonnet Launches Thunderbolt 3 to Dual DisplayPort Adapter Compatible With Mac

Sonnet today released a Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter compatible with both Mac and Windows PCs.


The bus-powered device enables users to connect up to two 4K Ultra HD displays or one 5K display with DisplayPort to a single Thunderbolt 3 port, each at 60Hz, including the 2016 or later MacBook Pro. The adapter also works with displays with lower resolutions like 1,920×1,080 or 2,560×1,440.

The adapter is also compatible with "active" DisplayPort-to-HDMI, DisplayPort-to-DVI, and DisplayPort-to-VGA adapters.


Sonnet's Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter can be purchased on its website for $79 in the United States, although the company's press release says it has a suggested price of $89. DisplayPort cables are sold separately.

StarTech also sells a Thunderbolt 3 to dual DisplayPort adapter for $78.99 on B&H, but it's only compatible with Windows.


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Review: Elgato’s $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers a Solid Set of Ports in a Slim Design

Over the past few months, I've taken a look at a number of Thunderbolt 3 docks that all hit the market around the same time, including models from OWC, CalDigit, Belkin, and Kensington. There's at least one more major player in the market, so today I'm sharing my thoughts on Elgato's $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock. Elgato's dock has a lot in common with many of its competitors, including a slim horizontal design of brushed aluminum and plastic, an array of ports for expanding the capabilities of your Thunderbolt 3-equipped Mac, and more.


The dock looks nice on a desk, with a black matte plastic front and back wrapped by a brushed aluminum enclosure that's rounded around the sides. A small Elgato wordmark is printed in the front left corner of the dock's top, but it doesn't mar the overall look of the accessory, which remains rather unobtrusive. Measuring just under 8 inches wide, Elgato's dock is slightly narrower than some of the other docks, which to my eye makes it look a bit better sitting on the foot of my LG UltraFine 5K display. Belkin's dock at a little over 8 inches also fits pretty well, but wider docks like OWC's and Kensington's overhang a bit.

Of course, everyone's desk setup is different so variations of around an inch in the width of all of these docks may not be a deal-breaker, but it's worth noting this is the narrowest of the horizontal designs I've tested. At about 3.15 inches deep and an inch high, Elgato's dock is otherwise pretty much on par with competing docks in terms of size.
Continue reading Review: Elgato’s $300 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Offers a Solid Set of Ports in a Slim Design

Review: Kensington’s SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Dock Packs Some Neat Security and Convenience Features

Earlier this week, Kensington launched its entry into the Thunderbolt 3 dock market with its SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, an enterprise-focused accessory that incorporates a couple of unique features in the form of a Kensington lock slot and the ability to mount the dock to the rear of VESA-compatible displays for "Zero Footprint Mounting" with a separate bracket accessory.

I've since had a chance to spend some time with the SD5000T, so I've been able to test it out to see how it stacks up against the competition.


The dock arrived in a plain white box with a product label on it, which Kensington tells me is the B2B packaging. Retail units will obviously have fancier packaging.

Inside the box was the dock itself, a large power brick identical to ones used by many of the other Thunderbolt 3 docks, and a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable. Kensington also includes three separate power cables with compatibility for the major US, UK, and mainland European standards.

The SD5000T is fairly attractive, constructed primarily of matte black plastic with a band of brushed aluminum with chamfered top edges around all four sides of the dock except for the two front USB ports. The gap in the aluminum band around the USB ports provides a bit of visual interest without being overly distracting.

Kensington's dock has a horizontal design very similar to most other Thunderbolt 3 docks on the market, measuring about 8.5 inches wide by about 3.35 inches deep by just about an inch high and weighing just over three quarters of a pound. A small Kensington word mark is molded into the plastic on the top left rear corner of the dock, but it's a subtle inclusion that doesn't distractingly stand out like the branding on some other docks.

Setup is a breeze, requiring the power brick be plugged in and connected to the dock and the Thunderbolt cable connected from one of the ports on the back of the dock to the computer. Any other cables for peripherals and displays are easily connected to the dock. When the dock is powered on, a subtle blue light shines on the front to indicate its status. The SD5000T supports a full 85 watts of charging over Thunderbolt 3, so it can power even a 15-inch MacBook Pro over the same cable used to pass data and video.

I own a number of displays, most of which are VESA-compatible, but none of them will work with Kensington's Zero Footprint Mounting solution, and that's the problem with this feature. All of my VESA displays require that you remove the foot from the display and attach a separate backplate that includes the VESA mounting holes.

If you use these displays sitting on a desk as I and many other people do, you can't also mount Kensington's dock on the back of the display. There are, however, some displays on the market that do include accessible VESA mounting holes even with display's foot attached, so if you have one of those monitors this would be a great way to get the dock off of your desk.

As with the other Thunderbolt 3 docks I've looked at, I tested Kensington's dock with a 2016 MacBook Pro and a pair of LG UltraFine 5K displays over Thunderbolt 3, one connected via the dock and the other hooked up directly to the MacBook Pro. The display connected via the SD5000T worked just fine, utilizing its full 5K Retina resolution at 60 Hz. Alternatively, you can connect a pair of 4K displays to the dock, one over Thunderbolt 3/USB-C and one over DisplayPort. Other standards like HDMI and VGA can also be used with appropriate DisplayPort adapters.


The SD5000T includes a trio of USB ports running at 5 Gbps, one Type-A and one Type-C on the front and one Type-A on the rear. It's a pretty typical number of USB ports for docks like this and a Type-C option is a nice inclusion, but I still wish Kensington and other manufacturers would match OWC's five USB ports for maximum flexibility.

Connecting a fast USB 3.1 Gen 2 external SSD to the MacBook Pro through the dock yields read and write speeds of around 350 and 320 MB/s respectively through both the Type-C and Type-A ports on the dock, on par with 5 Gbps USB ports on other Thunderbolt 3 docks I've tested.


That's a bit slower than 420/410 MB/s speed seen when the SSD is connected directly to a 5 Gbps MacBook and can't compare to the ~500 MB/s speeds seen when connecting it directly to the 10 Gbps MacBook Pro, but it's still plenty speedy for most uses.


Other ports on the rear of the dock include Gigabit Ethernet and separate 3.5 mm audio in and out ports. Kensington's famous lock slot is also included, and while it's not really necessary in my home office, institutional customers will no doubt appreciate the added security.

At a list price of $350, Kensington's SD5000T comes in at the high end of Thunderbolt 3 docks, matching Belkin's dock and priced $50 higher than similar offerings from OWC, Elgato, and CalDigit. While general consumers may find it hard to justify the high-end pricing, institutional customers could be more willing to spend a bit more to get features like the Kensington lock slot and VESA mounting option (mounting plate sold separately for $9.99), as well as a three-year warranty that more closely aligns with typical replacement cycles than the shorter warranties offered on competing docks.

The Kensington SD5000T is available now from Kensington for $349.99, but B&H Photo is currently offering it at a discounted price of $299.95. B&H Photo does not yet have the dock in stock, however, and it is expecting orders to ship out around June 30.

Note: Kensington provided the SD5000T Docking Station to MacRumors free of charge for the purposes of this review. No other compensation was received. MacRumors is an affiliate partner with B&H and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Kensington’s $350 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Features ‘Zero Footprint’ Mounting, Security Lock Slot

We've already taken a look at several of the Thunderbolt 3 docks all coming to the market right around the same time, and popular enterprise accessory company Kensington is getting into the mix today with the launch of the SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station, the company's first foray into Thunderbolt peripherals. Priced at $349.99, Kensington's dock is similar to many of the other options on the market with a horizontal design and an array of ports, as well as a full 85 watts of charging power to support even the 15-inch MacBook Pro over a single-cable connection.


The SD5000T offers a number of port options, including dual Thunderbolt 3 ports to enable pass-through connections, a DisplayPort port for additional display connectivity, separate audio in and out ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. With the DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3 ports and any necessary adapters such as for HDMI or DVI, the SD5000T supports up to dual 4K external displays.


As for USB, the dock includes one Type-A and one Type-C port on the front and one Type-A port on the rear, all running at 5 Gbps. We'd like to see a couple more USB ports on there for greater expansion possibilities, but three is pretty standard for these types of docks. The USB ports also do not support standalone charging, so a connected computer will need to be on in order for peripherals to charge via the dock. The front USB Type-A port does, however, support up to 2.1 amps for fast charging, while the USB Type-C port offers up to 15 watts of power to drive bus-powered peripherals.


Kensington is famous for its ubiquitous security cables to help keep expensive electronics from walking away, and so it's probably unsurprising that even the company's Thunderbolt 3 dock includes a lock slot to accommodate a security cable. It's a unique feature that should appeal to corporate customers looking to secure their employees' accessories around the workplace.

VESA mounting position options

In another nice touch, the SD5000T supports optional "Zero Footprint Mounting," which uses a mounting accessory (sold separately) to attach the dock to the rear of 75 mm or 100 mm VESA-compatible external displays. The mounting system gets the dock up and out of the way from the user's desk, and while it makes it a bit more difficult to connect and disconnect accessories in some orientations, once you have your setup in place it should help keep things looking neater.


While Kensington is targeting its existing primary enterprise user base with the SD5000T, the company tells MacRumors that given the popularity of docking stations across all users it is also looking to appeal to consumers, with retailers like Amazon and B&H Photo stocking the dock.

The SD5000T Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is launching today, and Kensington says it will begin shipping out orders later this week.

Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon and B&H and may earn commissions on purchases made through links in this article.


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Review: Belkin’s $350 Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD Looks Great, but Could Use More Ports

With the flood of full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks about to hit the market, it's time to take a look at Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD, one of the major contenders users have been waiting for in addition to the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock and CalDigit TS3 that we've also recently reviewed. As with the other docks we've looked at, Belkin's offering includes a variety of ports and even charging capabilities all over a single Thunderbolt 3 cable, making it a great option for turning the new MacBook Pro into a robust desktop setup.


Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD is launching this Monday, June 5 (exact time still to be determined), and will be available directly from Belkin and through Apple, as well as from other select retailers, but we've already had a chance to spend a little time with it to see how it compares to the competition.
Continue reading Review: Belkin’s $350 Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD Looks Great, but Could Use More Ports

Review: CalDigit’s TS3 and TS3 Lite Thunderbolt 3 Docks Offer Solid MacBook Pro Expansion Options

While Apple's latest MacBook Pro with support for Thunderbolt 3 has been out for over six months, the first full-featured Thunderbolt 3 docks are only just now starting to hit the market. Last month we took a look at OWC's Thunderbolt 3 Dock that should begin shipping out very shortly, and today we're taking a look at a pair of similar docks from CalDigit that help expand the capabilities of the MacBook Pro.


CalDigit actually has a pair of Thunderbolt 3 docks, the $200 TS3 Lite that has been available for a few months now and the upcoming $300 TS3 that is just about ready to begin shipping.
Continue reading Review: CalDigit’s TS3 and TS3 Lite Thunderbolt 3 Docks Offer Solid MacBook Pro Expansion Options