Ars Technica reviews Belkin’s $299 Thunderbolt Express Dock: Works well, costs lots

“Thunderbolt-powered 1Gbps Ethernet adapters arrived last year, finally, but those devices lack flexibility—they take the entire Thunderbolt port when connected and, at least on MacBook Airs that only have the one port, they leave you Thunderbolt-less,” Lee Hutchinson reports for Ars Technica. “The thing I’ve been looking for, really, was a Thunderbolt port replicator/dock thingy—something like the Thunderbolt Express Dock that Belkin finally released this year.”

Hutchinson reports, “It’s a well-made device and it’s nice and fast. It does exactly what it’s supposed to (minus any Apple SuperDrive-related hiccups). The thing that makes it impractical—aside from the sticker shock-inducing $299 price—is that you gotta have a Thunderbolt-equipped computer to even need the dock in the first place.”

Much more in the full review here.

Related articles:
Belkin finally ships Thunderbolt Express Dock – April 30, 2013
Belkin updates new Thunderbolt Express Dock, drops eSATA, cuts price by $100 – January 8, 2013
Belkin upgrades unreleased Thunderbolt Express Dock with USB 3.0, eSATA; ups price to $399.99 – June 5, 2012
Belkin previews new Thunderbolt Express Dock at CES 2012 – January 9, 2012


    1. Unfortunately Apple seems to be following its Firewire blueprint with Thunderbolt — a great connectivity interface but no one uses it because it costs too much to license the tech, create adapters, etc.

      Thunderbolt will suffer the same fate as Firewire, relegated to high-end users and its potential unfulfilled. USB 3 will kick its butt because it will be ubiquitous, peripherals will be significantly less expensive, and there will be a large number of options rather than people having to hunt high and low for one peripheral.

  1. Ordered mine three days ago. I have two 30 inch Apple Cinema Displays, one at home, one at the office, which I connect to my MacBookPro. Since I use Ethernet at both locations, I cannot connect my external Thunderbolt hard drive, which is a serious problem. I sincerely hope Apple releases a new Apple Display this fall with something like the Thunderbolt Express Dock included. It is definitively very expensive, even for professional use.

  2. Anyone notice the Mac Pro out soon, has NO SDXC slot?
    Most ALL cameras use this now, so what is Apple thinking?
    Maybe I’m wrong, but can someone point out where it is exactly?
    Might even be good to have more than one.

  3. So, there’s an SDXC slot (plus USB), one the i-Mac
    An SDXC slot on the Macbook PRO
    An SDXC slot on the Mac Mini, but…
    I have to buy an adapter for the Mac PRO ??

  4. ThunderDUD, basis for the new Mac Mini Pro Home Theater PC that masquerades as a Pro replacement. What an overpriced and underwhelming POS.

    Apple can’t innovate anymore, my ass.
    YEP. On this count, you are riding the wrong horse.

  5. Dear Ars Technica,
    Whaa whaa whaa. Thunderbolt is for the Mac. Get it? THE MAAAAAAAAAAC. Not the PC. Not Windows 7, 8, 8.1 or whatever sucka$$ version coming out. And it doesn’t take a genius to figure out this dock wasn’t meant to be portable, either. This has to be the most bellyachy review I’ve read in a long time. Seriously, Ars. Get a clue.

  6. Nice opinions (but you know what they say about opinions) about the cost/licensing/etc. issues for TB peripherals, but as I haven’t found anything authoritative anywhere, does anyone have actual knowledge (with links) that supports such opinions?

    Or am I asking too much?

    I suspect the “issues” (particularly over licensing costs) have more to do with peripheral makers attempting to squeeze as much profitability as possible from devices that, by their nature, will not possess mass market demand.

    I mean, really… what is Intel asking? $50 per TB port? Not likely.

    Apple only asked for $1 per FW port… and that was only if you wanted to use the designation “FireWire” on the device. If you used IEEE 1394 you didn’t owe them a dime.

  7. …in this thread.

    It appears only 1 person actually read the article. Apple didn’t invent Thunderbolt you morons. It was a joint venture with Intel and Apple got first exclusive rights to incorporate it into products as part of the deal since unIntel can’t do anything future-proof on their own. AND YES thunderbolt WAS intended by intel to be cross-platform. Asus and HP both announced in 2011 they would push new product in 2013 with it. However right now Asus is only shipping next gen logic boards for DIY PC’s with thunderbolt. Current iterations of Windows 8 will play fine with it as a full pass through port (video & data) as long as you get proper drivers from Intel and Asus. And $299 is not very much to pay considering in an Apple only ecosystem your only alternative was a $999 27″ Thunderbolt Display in order to get a dock-like experience.. Anyone who actually has been relying on Thunderbolt for the past two years professionally (IT people in particular-me for example) know how freaking awesome it is for data transfer, system imaging, etc. Thunderbolt is nothing like Blu-Ray licensing-you are talking about a desire to get rid of a physical medium like discs period. Steve’s licensing remarks years ago were excuses to not show his cards early before HD content was available in iTunes. And to say USB 3 is some amazing long lasting winner above all port is the dumbest and most ignorant thing ever. The same PC people were saying that same crap about eSATA 6 years ago. Honestly MDN, you need to make people take a computer IQ test before they post on these forums.

  8. How many years do we have to wait for ThunderDud to be a viable option? RIght now the cost is too damn high. USB is kicking ThunderDud’s ass. Big Time.

  9. Thunderbolt throughput = 10 Gigabits per second. Top SSD throughput is around 650 Gigabytes per second Max. Thunderbolt 2 will be 20 Gigabits per second. What’s the problem?

  10. Thunderboltwas initially called “light peak” by intel. They flubbed around with it for 3 years, was touted by media as the future of data transfer, and they couldn’t finish it. They partnered with Apple after 3 years of pissing around, and 8 mos later it was finished.. The PC industry doesn’t see a need for it. Let it mature. In 3 years it should be rocking 50gbps transfer speeds and the cost will be down along with SSD storage (when HDD goes extinct).

    Then what will you say about thunderbolt? Just like everyone said that Apple was crazy about GUI and the Mouse. It’ll never take hold!!!!! Yeah. Right.

    Patience, friends

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