July 01, 2017

Product Note: OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock for Macs

Nicole Black
Neither the ABA nor ABA entities endorse non-ABA products or services. This review should not be construed as an endorsement.

If you’re an attorney who uses a recently acquired MacBook Pro along with multiple secondary displays, then the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is just what you need for your primary office setup. I was provided with a complimentary, pre-certified version of the dock for review purposes (certifications from Apple and Intel are still pending.)

This dock is designed to expand the docking capabilities of the new MacBook Pro. It offers 13 ports through which you can connect an assortment of different devices to your MacBook, depending on your needs. A 0.5-meter Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) cable is provided with the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, which allows you to connect your MacBook Pro to the dock. The dock itself measures approximately 9” x 3” x 1”, so it’s relatively sleek and small, with an attractive brushed aluminum exterior.

Three of the most often-used ports can be found on the front of the dock: (1) an SD card reader that allows you to copy photos and movies directly from your media cards, (2) an audio in/out port through which you can connect speakers, headphones, and mics; and (3) a USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 port that delivers up to 5 GB per second of data speed and provides high power to your devices.

On the back of the device you’ll find 10 other ports and the power input. On the left are four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports through which you can connect all your USB devices. Next to those you’ll see an S/PDIF port that is used for digital audio output. The port to the right of that is a FireWire 800 port that can be used to connect legacy devices. Next to that is Gigabit Ethernet port that allows you to connect to high-speed wired networks. To the right of that you’ll find two Dual Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports that provide a data connection of up to 40 GB per second. Next to those is a mini DisplayPort that allows you to set up secondary displays. And finally, on the far right you’ll find the input for the power cable that comes with device.

Although the device itself is relatively small and sleek, the power supply cord and box add bulk to it, given that the power supply box is nearly as large as the device itself. But since this dock is clearly designed to be part of an office setup rather than being used as a portable device, the additional bulk isn’t all that problematic. The power supply box does heat up quite a bit during use, but not more than you would expect given its hefty 60 W power supply. The device itself makes a faint, high-pitched whirring noise while in use, but the company has advised that it is aware of this issue and that it will be fully resolved prior to shipping out post-certified devices to customers.

So, if you’re an attorney who owns one of the newer MacBook Pros that includes a Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) port and requires the ability to connect multiple devices and displays to your laptop, then this might just be the device for you.

Be prepared to pay for the convenience and power provided by the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock—it will set you back $299. But for attorneys who need the ability to conveniently and seamlessly connect multiple devices to their laptops, the flexibility provided by this dock will undoubtedly be worth the price tag.

 

 

 

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