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StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock Review: Price, Specs, and Verdict

Not having Thunderbolt 4 support isn’t major, but lacking a downstream Thunderbolt port is significant. Its basic plastic build and duplicate ports also diminish its relatively affordable price.

Pros:

  • Dual HDMI and DisplayPort
  • Twelve ports (kind of)
  • Five USB 3.2 ports

Cons:

  • No Thunderbolt downstream port
  • Plastic construction
StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock Review: Price, Specs, and Verdict

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Quick Review

StarTech, long supporting Thunderbolt tech, introduces TB3CDK2DH, a Thunderbolt 3 and USB dock with 12 ports, charging laptops up to 96W. Equipped with Intel Titan Ridge silicon and various chips, it’s available on Amazon for $197.12.

Included: PSU, power cable, manual, 80cm Thunderbolt 3 USB-C cable. Measuring 25cm long, it’s not portable, especially with its large PSU block.

Port selection includes dual DisplayPort and HDMI, but only two can be used. Features five USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports, one Thunderbolt downlink, and a gigabit LAN port. It lacks an SD card slot but includes a Kensington security slot.

However, at $287.99, it’s primarily plastic, lacks Thunderbolt 4 spec, and offers only one Thunderbolt downlink. Cheaper alternatives with better specs are available.

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Price and Availability

  • Cost: $288/£293/€ 338
  • Availability: Starting to be available now
  • Where to Buy: Directly from StarTech or online retailers like Amazon

The StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock is priced at $287.99, aligning with competitors’ rates for a fully-featured Thunderbolt dock.

For a better deal, check major online retailers. It’s available on Amazon.com for $244.41 and Amazon.co.uk for £204.99, offering significant savings.

The considerable price difference between direct purchases and online retailers is puzzling.

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Specs

AspectDetails
CompatibilityThunderbolt 3, USB-C
Number of Ports12
Ports1x TB4 upstream, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 2x HDMI, 2x DisplayPort, 1x universal audio combo jack, 1x 1GbE RJ45 Ethernet port
Downstream power15W or 7.5W on USB
Upstream power96W Thunderbolt
Size250 x 80 x 33 mm (W x D x H)
WeightApproximately 0.7 Kg
AccessoriesAdapter 170W 20V 8.5A

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Design

AspectDetails
MaterialEntirely plastic
VentilationLimited
Mounting OptionsAvailable

StarTech hardware often prioritizes functionality over aesthetics. The Thunderbolt 3 Dock follows suit with its two-tone gunmetal and black plastic build, lacking the robustness of its metal counterparts.

While most docks utilize aluminum for structural integrity, StarTech’s plastic construction feels less durable.

The layout is conventional, with a front-facing uplink port, USB outlets, and audio jack, while other ports are on the back.

Ventilation includes small slotted vents on both ends but lacks active cooling.

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Specs

A unique feature is the underside’s mounting pattern, allowing attachment to surfaces. However, a power button is absent, typical of many docks.

In summary, StarTech’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock lacks the industrial construction of its competitors.

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Features

  • Ports: 12
  • TB Downlink: None
  • Charging Power: 96W

The standout feature of this dock is its impressive 96W laptop charging capability, surpassing many cheaper alternatives.

Although labeled as a 12-port dock, counting reveals twelve ports if the power connection is included, which is common among dock manufacturers.

However, only nine ports are usable due to limitations like the inability to use all four video ports simultaneously.

While the dock supports Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C, the emphasis leans towards USB, lacking downstream ports and limiting connectivity with Thunderbolt peripherals.

The bandwidth is divided among various ports, including USB-A and USB-C, with oversubscription assuming not all ports will be used simultaneously.

Display output usage consumes a significant portion of the bandwidth, with limitations varying depending on the connected computer, especially notable with Apple MacBooks and their support for dual monitors.

Using USB-C instead of Thunderbolt restricts single-screen resolution to 4K, potentially limiting dual monitor configurations depending on the port’s Alt-mode support.

Due to the absence of a Thunderbolt downstream port, adding a third display via an adapter isn’t possible.

StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Verdict

Purchasing online may seem like a deal, but the absence of a downstream Thunderbolt port significantly diminishes its appeal, despite its 96W charging capacity.

While USB options are decent, the LAN port is limited to gigabit, not 2.5GbE, and having four display outputs when only two can be used isn’t very practical.

Those seeking a budget-friendly dock for basic connections might find this suitable. However, for an extra $50, you can invest in a more versatile option better suited to evolving needs.

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