For some time now I have been expressing my frustration when entering Apple Retail Stores and not seeing relevant news in terms of accessories – normally stores have more variations of cases than anything else.
I finally took a quick trip to the United States on the penultimate weekend of August and, at the mandatory stop I make at some Apple Retail Store, I came across Thunderbolt Express Dock (from Belkin), very useful for people who, like me, use a MacBook Air to work.
One of the main objectives of a dock station (or base for notebooks, as many know) is to leave connected most devices, cables and accessories that you normally connect to the notebook. So, quickly, you attach your notebook to it without being in the eternal strip / cable.
In addition, usually such a base extends the number of ports available on your notebook. The Thunderbolt Express Dock is doing its homework right, as it has:
- One Gigabit Ethernet port
- One FireWire 800 port
- Two Thunderbolt ports
- One 3.5mm headphone output
- One 3.5mm audio input
- Three USB 3.0 ports
Anyone who has a MacBook Air and needs to connect multiple devices at the same time knows what it’s like to have to deal with just two USB ports. Although the world is increasingly connected via Wi-Fi and cloud services, many companies still do not prioritize this connection as the primary and we ended up using the Apple adapter that turns a USB port into an Ethernet network output – with that, I had left only a free USB port.
With an external power supply, the Thunderbolt Express Dock allows us to charge devices without consuming power from the computer connected to it. In my case, as the images show, I connected a network cable, iPhone 5 base (coincidentally from Belkin, too), VGA adapter (to connect external monitor) and iPad. When I get to work, I just connect the Thunderbolt cable to my MacBook Air and everything starts to work.
However, not everything is just joy. The USB ports are not strong enough to charge the iPad if it is in use – if you leave it with the screen off, it charges normally. When you leave it on, the message appears “Not Charging” (“It’s not charging”). At the time of writing this post, my iPad has the screen off and has already loaded about 4%. Regardless, it is possible to sync with iTunes normally and have access to your information.
Now, the part you have to evaluate a lot is the cost / benefit. The accessory costs $ 300, plus taxes. As I was almost buying a USB hub to expand the ports of the MacBook Air, for me it was very useful. Unfortunately we do not know if this product will arrive in Brazil and for how much it would be sold.
Questions about Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock? Use and abuse comments! ?