With the quick adoption of Thunderbolt three and now Thunderbolt four, customers have by no means had extra alternatives to increase their pc connectivity. Whether or not it’s for ultrafast storage or 4K shows, Thunderbolt docks are the final word docking stations lately.

The Anker PowerExpand Elite Thunderbolt three Dock is a fixed-location dock, however it’s compact if you wish to carry it alongside and construct a neat work setup in your resort room.

That mentioned, control the ability provide dimension as a result of the included 180W (20V, 9A) energy provide is fairly sizeable, however that’s sadly regular for this Wattage.

The 180W energy provide is massive. Use the USB connectors as a dimension reference

I like how compact and well-built this product is, and at 1.1 Lbs, it feels very sturdy. The chassis is all metallic and acts as an environment friendly heatsink. That’s significantly helpful for those who energy a laptop computer immediately from the PowerExpand Elite Thunderbolt three dock as a result of it is going to get heat when used to its full potential.

“USB COMPATIBILITY MIGHT BE AN ESSENTIAL FEATURE IF YOU WANT TO RE-USE THE DOCK”

This dock’s enormous benefit is that it will possibly additionally perform over USB protocol by way of a USB-C port with DisplayPort Alt Mode and Energy Supply (test your pc handbook for affirmation). Additionally test the compatibility wonderful prints on the official web site, particularly you probably have an M1 Mac.

Many individuals are shocked to study that some Thunderbolt docks don’t work in any respect when linked to a non-Thunderbolt pc.

USB compatibility is likely to be a necessary function if you wish to re-use the dock with a plain USB three.x pc, like some AMD-powered 2021 computer systems (Thunderbolt is an Intel know-how).

The entrance of the dockThe again of the dock

The sheer variety of ports is spectacular, particularly given the compact nature of this design, however take a look at the listing beneath:

2x Thunderbolt three ports (85W + 15W, 1x 5K@60Hz)2x USB-C ports (18W PD)4x USB-A ports1x HDMI port (4k@60Hz)1x Ethernet port1x SD/microSD card slots1x three.5 mm AUX port.Picture courtesy of Anker

Out of the field, it’s doable to attach two 4K/60 displays utilizing the dock’s HDMI port and one of many Thunderbolt ports concurrently, which is greater than sufficient for many customers.

In some situations, you should use a USB-C to Twin HDMI splitter (not included) to attach three shows to the dock. In the event you want even increased show connectivity or decision, you would possibly need to test the upcoming Thunderbolt four docks.

Picture courtesy of Anker

The ports placement makes numerous sense too. Those that you’ll fiddle with extra usually, akin to SD+microSD, headphone jack. A couple of often accessed ports are within the entrance.

All of the networking, displays, mounted storage, and energy ports are within the again. If it had a quantity knob within the entrance of the highest, that might be excellent (Anker: trace, trace).

The underside of the dock has a rubber floor to stop slippage as a lot as doable, however I’d use each fingers if I want to attach/disconnect one thing. There isn’t a method to safe it to the desk with screws. That’s a standard state of affairs with docks.

In the event you don’t use it on a regular basis, there’s an ON/OFF button. It’s handy you probably have plenty of high-powered tools that you just solely use every so often.

It is also useful if it is advisable to “reset” the dock by simulating a cable disconnect. I depart it on on a regular basis, however I’ve been in these conditions earlier than (with different docks) when some peripherals require a connection reset.

As a result of the non-slip rubber is on the backside, this dock wants to take a seat vertically, so test for its peak (four.96”) if you wish to place it beneath your monitor (or monitor stand). You received’t be capable to lay it down on its facet as a result of the metallic floor will not be flat and is sort of slippery.

“JUST AS FAST AS OUR FASTEST INTERNAL THUNDERBOLT NATIVE PORTS”

As standard, we’ve examined SSD drives and Ethernet speeds, and we will report that the dock is simply as quick as our quickest inner Thunderbolt native ports. We’ve examined this with the brand new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 that has TB4 ports.

The Gigabit Ethernet port will maximize the web or community connectivity, and we will saturate our 1Gbps symmetrical web connection on the workplace. WiFi-6 normally maxes out between 300 Mbps to 600 Mbps relying on the machine. Wired Ethernet additionally has a decrease latency for those who’re a gamer or do one thing latency-sensitive.

The three.5mm port exhibits up as a brand new “Realtek USB2.zero Audio” sound machine in Home windows. That’s regular as there isn’t a analog audio passthrough possibility in any of the docks we’ve examined.

With 85W of most laptop computer cost, this dock can accommodate extra highly effective computer systems than the 60W docks we checked out. In case you have a reasonably power-hungry laptop computer, you’ll be able to nonetheless have a neat 1-cable setup, and that’s considerable to anybody who desires a minimalist desk.

A few different USB ports assist 15W and 18W to fast-charge cellular gadgets. Some mobiles can now cost at an insane 160W however understand that this 180W probably has to energy the laptop computer and different peripherals.

The Thunderbolt three cable is barely 2.three ft and reduces your choices when putting the pc and dock a bit far aside.The cables are comparatively costly, however given the value of this dock, I’d like to see an extended cable.

The Anker PowerExpand Elite Thunderbolt three Dock is a wonderful Thunderbolt dock that provides customers glorious connectivity in a super-compact dimension.

I believe that its worth of $269.99 would possibly make some individuals assess their wants earlier than buying it, however that is as a lot connectivity as you’re going to get with Thunderbolt three. There are different docking stations choices, however the twin USB-C / Thunderbolt connectivity and the compact design set it aside.

Filed in Computer systems >Critiques. Learn extra about Anker and Docking Station.

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