Easily the most useful aspect of the Thunderbolt connection has been the creation of single-cable docks, and OWC's just-announced Thunderbolt 2 Dock is really upping the ante on the docking game. Utilizing the blazing-fast 20Gbps interface, the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock sports a plethora of additional connection options, certainly far more than other offerings, all through a single cable to your Mac.
Of course, this is most useful for users of a MacBook, which already has but a few ports and is meant to be portable, so the fewer cables to plug in, the better. The OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock aims to make that as simple as possible. Here's a run-down of what holes you'll find in its body:
- 2x Thunderbolt 2 (one will be dedicated to the cable running back to your computer)
- 5x USB 3.0 (yes, 5; two are side-mounted with high amperages for easy access and fast charging)
- 1x FireWire 800 (FireWire is back!)
- 1x HDMI
- 1x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1x headphone
- 1x microphone
This is all packaged into a blocky box with an aluminum ring around the outside that matches the finish of an Apple product and topped by glossy black plastic. What's truly impressive is the price — OWC is offering their Thunderbolt 2 Dock for $249. Belkin's Thunderbolt 2 dock offers less connectivity for $50 more, as do a handful of others with similar prices and specs.
But there is one thing the OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock is missing: a date. It's "coming soon!" we're promised, and we'll be eager to check it out when it finally arrives.
Source: OWC (opens in new tab)
Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.
So just like all the other docks out there, they mislead by saying that there are 2 thunderbolt ports, when in fact there is only 1 usable one, since the other is needed to go to the laptop. Can't they just do a pass through?
I see what looks like a power hole in the back. Does that mean you'll still need to plug it into a wall socket? Defeats the purpose of Thunderbolt if that's the case, right? Having two USB ports on the side seems like a useful idea in terms of ergonomics, but puttingthe headphone jack at the back makes things cumbersome, me thinks.
Ehh? Hardly defeats the purpose.. The power plug does not connect to the Mac so who cares? The PURPOSE is to have only ONE cable to plug into the MACBOOK.. To have ONE cable to rule them all. ONE CABLE.. ONE CABLE.. REPEAT after me! ONE CABLE! One more time.. ONE CABLE! YES! Besides.. Those are FIVE, yes, FIVE, 2 amp, USB 3 ports.. It'd never charge your iPad Air if it was JUST powered by a TB port.
Why no E-SATA?
Because almost no one uses it. I'm slightly surprised they put firewire in it. Though I suspect in the Macbook circles, firewire is MUCH more prevalent than e-sata..
OWC also has a USB3 to E-SATA adapter that can be used.
So there's an HDMI and Display Port. Does that mean it supports dual monitors? That's the one thing about my MacBook Air. I really want dual external monitors!
I'm not sure a MacBook Air could drive 2 external screens. Maybe the new one will be able to. Sent from the iMore App
I know the chipset is capable of driving up to three displays. So technically it is possible. I just don't know for sure if this dock is capable of doing that. I believe Apple even makes a display that has two Thunderbolt ports. You can daisy chain two monitors with that. But they are also very expensive and I am not willing to pay that much.
Looks nice! I've been happy with the Belkin. I use mini display port to dvi for additional monitor with the Belkin. But the hdmi port on the owc would be convenient. The Belkin does have Firewire by the way. So this feature is not new on these docks. Works good with my firewire audio interfaces. But I have had a problem with capturing video over the FireWire on the Belkin. Sent from the iMore App
But it won't dock with a space shuttle? #Fail.
I retired my cheese grater and didn't want to spend $1k for an Apple Thunderbolt display. So I grabbed an Asus WQHD monitor and this dock and it is fantastic. It's great hooking up my MBP with just the power and thunderbolt cable. With the quick chargers on the side it powers up my iOS devices easily. Not cheap but a great device.
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