Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock

Adam Turner
6 June, 2013
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Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock





Expensive, doesn’t include Thunderbolt cable



If your Mac sports Apple’s new super-fast Thunderbolt connector, Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock lets you connect to everything on your desk with a single cable.

Belkin’s Thunderbolt dock acts as the high-speed middleman between your Mac (or more likely MacBook) and all your desktop accessories. Unfortunately Belkin doesn’t include a Thunderbolt cable, so you’ll need to allow $35 for a 0.5-metre cable or $45 for a 2-metre cable.

The dock features slick silver styling which will look at home amongst the other Apple gear on your desk. On the back you’ll find two Thunderbolt ports, three USB3.0 ports, one Firewire 800 port, Gigabit Ethernet, headphone jack and microphone jack. There’s also an AC jack, as it’s a powered dock which needs to be plugged into a power point. A cable groove runs underneath the dock, from back to front, letting you run a Thunderbolt cable under the dock and out the front to your Mac.

Unfortunately Belkin’s dock doesn’t feature any other video connectors, so the first Thunderbolt port is reserved for connecting to your Mac and the second Thunderbolt port will probably serve your desktop monitor. If you won’t be hooking up a monitor, you really need to question whether a cheaper USB2/3 dock would be more practical.

If you own Apple’s 27in Thunderbolt monitor then this dock is pretty much redundant, because it has all those connectors built-in. If you don’t own a Thunderbolt-capable monitor then you’ll need a Mini DisplayPort cable or adaptor to connect the Belkin dock’s second Thunderbolt port to your desktop monitor.

Load up the dock with devices, plug it into the Thunderbolt port on your Mac and everything just works automagically. All your desktop peripherals pop up as if they were connected directly to your Mac, and the speed of Thunderbolt ensures everything runs smoothly. Mountain Lion‘s multiple monitor options kick in, so you can spread your desktop across your MacBook and desktop monitor, or close the lid on the MacBook and work in “clamshell” mode with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse or trackpad.


Belkin’s Thunderbolt dock does pose some questions if you already own a Thunderbolt-enabled external hard drive. There’s no third Thunderbolt port on the dock for connecting up a Thunderbolt external drive. If your Mac only features one Thunderbolt port, reserved for the Belkin dock, then you might be forced to connect your Thunderbolt external drive via USB or Firewire (assuming it has such connectors). Some external Thunderbolt drives feature two Thunderbolt ports, so you could daisy chain the external drive between your Mac and the dock. Other external drives only feature one Thunderbolt port and thus must be last in the daisy chain. If this is the case, you’ll need to make some compromises.

Bottom line.

There are more cost-effective Mac docking options on the shelves, but if your budget will stretch and you’ve got a hankering for Thunderbolt then Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock won’t disappoint. Just spare a thought as to how you might connect up other Thunderbolt accessories.

One Comment

One person was compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Rob says:

    “If you own Apple’s 27in Thunderbolt monitor then this dock is pretty much redundant, because it has all those connectors built-in.”

    This is simply not true. I bought this because my Apple Thunderbolt monitor has no USB 3.0 ports. Only USB 2.0!

    The downside to this dock’s USB 3.0 ports is that’s it’s half speed: 2.5 Gbps instead of the full USB 3.0 speed of 5 Gbps. It’s disappointing to me, and only the good reviews disclose this fact. This one doesn’t – which adds to my opinion that this isn’t a very good review at all.

    The dock is very pricey and one should consider whether combination of ports offered makes it worth it. This review should not make up false facts like it is redundant to the current Apply Thunderbolt display port offerings.

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