After almost 18 months, Belkin has at last released the $299 Thunderbolt Express Dock. As I have mentioned before, Thunderbolt hubs and docks have been as rare as hen’s teeth. I do not fully understand why there has been so much delay. Last month I suggested that Thunderbolt is at last coming in from the cold. It isn’t before time: A lack of peripherals has held back adoption of the standard.
The Belkin device has been revised in appearance and in specification since it was announced early last year. The production version now includes two Thunderbolt ports, one for input and one to enable other devices to be daisy-chained. There are also Ethernet, FireWire and audio ports. The best bit, for me, is the new emphasis on USB 3.0 with no fewer than three ports.
With just one connector to the computer, the Belkin dock provides all the connections you need. Docking your MacBook Pro will now be far simpler with just two cables, power and Thunderbolt, to plug in.
All we need now is an update to the long-in-the-tooth Apple Thunderbolt display. At the moment it provides only USB 2.0 output and, frankly, I would not buy it until USB 3.0 support is added. Since an expensive display like this is likely to be in service for five years, the current USB 2.0 ports will soon be antiquated.
by Mike Evans, 10 May 2013