Thunderbolt Dock recommendations


#1

I just bought a 2018 Macbook Air and i’m looking to get a docking station which can drive two external screens (for when I work from home a couple of times per month). I can see two routes - a full sized dock (so $450+) or a mini portable dock (so $200) but with less ports.

Has anyone used the following? Good/bad?

  • Caldigit mini dock. 2 x HDMI, USB 3, USB 2 (A)
  • Caldigit TS3plus. TB3 ports, power delivery (85W), Display Port, Ethernet, SD card, audio in/out, 5x USB 3 (A), 2 x USB C
  • Elgato mini dock. HDMI, Display Port, USB 3, Ethernet.
  • Elgato Thunderbolt 3 dock. 2 TB3 ports, power delivery, Display Port, Ethernet, audio, 3 x USB 3.

Or other good options?

The TS3plus gets good reviews (wirecutter recommended) , but I don’t think I need anywhere near that number of ports and while power delivery is nice, not sure its worth more than double the cost of the mini docs (and plugging in two cables is not that onerous). Also portability would be quite handy.


#2

This isn’t a bad place to start :wink:

I’ve got the Dell WD15, albeit to go with my Dell XPS. I picked this one up for a bargain 2nd hand so there wasn’t a huge amount of research, but it’s performed flawlessly so far. I had a quick google and it seems this one isn’t really supported for a Mac either… although apparently it sort of works if you happened to be somewhere there was one.

But back to your problem. If you want a mini dock for ports on the go (or at least the option for ports on the go) they can be a good choice, but personally I would aim for a full featured dock which also acts as a second power adaptor (which helps make the cost not hurt so much). The way the OEM adaptor goes in the laptop bag for the times you travel and everything else can be neatly (and more permanently) setup on your desk. It might be you need a second adaptor for on the road… but what do need when travelling? Maybe an SD or USB A adaptor and you can get dirt cheap generic ones on eBay.

Personally, I like the look of the Elgato but don’t know if I could go past all the ports on the CalDigit which would be my choice.


#3

I have the 12 port OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock (with Firewire 800).. There is also a newer 14 port version (no Firewire, adds micro SD, extra USB C and optical).


#4

I’ve had this one for a year: https://www.startech.com/Cards-Adapters/Laptop-docking-stations/thunderbolt-3-docking-station~TB3DK2DPPD

It’s working very well. That’s about as good as you can get with a dock!


#5

And in the end I bought the Caldigit mini dock (HDMI). So far works well.