1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Has some limitations, but still thunderingly good,
This review is from: Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock (Accessory)
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This product is useless without a Thunderbolt cable, yet it doesn't come with one. The reason for this isn't because Belkin doesn't manufacture a Thunderbolt cable of its own (it does), but because said cable would make an already pricey item even pricier. Just remember that, if you don't have any Thunderbolt cables lying around, the price of at least one cable has to be added to the Express Dock's price tag.
The styling of the Express Dock is suitably Apple-esque. It's very low-profile, with a solid aluminium shell and a cable channel on its underside to accommodate the Thunderbolt cable that runs to your Mac. The device looks good and feels good. What isn't so great is the fact that, while the Dock's range of connections necessitates the use of mains power, the device doesn't have an internal AC adapter; instead, it comes with a large "power brick" type of adapter, which is something to consider if you're intent upon using the Dock as a portable expansion unit.
The Dock is simple to use and has a decent range of connections, with Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, two Thunderbolt ports, two 3.5mm audio ports and three USB 3.0 ports. There really should have been more than two Thunderbolt ports, since one of them is taken up the requisite connection to your Mac; this means that if you want to connect a hard drive and a monitor via Thunderbolt, and neither device is capable of daisy-chaining, you're out of luck. The USB ports have slower transfer speeds than typical non-hub-based USB 3.0 ports - a well-documented drawback of the Express Dock. It should also be mentioned that, while MacBook Pros with Retina displays have graduated to the next-gen Thunderbolt 2 standard, the Express Dock is limited to first-gen Thunderbolt (this probably won't make much difference to many users in practice).
Another drawback of the Dock is the fact that it doesn't play nice with Apple's USB SuperDrive. I couldn't get mine to work with it, though my SuperDrive has been especially temperamental ever since the advent of OS X 10.9 "Mavericks", refusing to work except when connected directly to the Mac, so this shortcoming might not be the fault of the Dock itself. I also couldn't get an Edimax USB Wi-Fi adapter to work with it; this adapter works when connected directly to the Mac, but refuses point-blank to do the same via the Dock.
Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock is a nice product that does its job well and looks good while doing it. As long as you're aware of its limitations, and aren't put off by the high price tag, then it's a worthwhile, attractive expansion unit, especially for use with slightly older or port-deficient hardware configurations.