Separate Models for DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 2.0
Review by Erik Vlietinck
CalDigit’s Thunderbolt docks offer good value for the money, but they’re all mains powered. The new mini Dock is powered by the Thunderbolt 3 bus of your computer, offers dual 4K-monitor support, a USB 3 (5 Gbps) port, and a Gigabit Ethernet interface. It comes in two versions: with two DisplayPort 1.2 (4096x2160px) or two HDMI 2.0 ports (3840x2160px).
The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 mini Dock is Mac- and PC-compatible, and doesn’t require any drivers. It’s a small box with a tethered Thunderbolt 3 cable in an aluminum enclosure. The mini Dock doesn’t get hot, despite being bus-powered.
The main purpose of the mini Dock is to deliver ports that your Thunderbolt 3 laptop may lack. The ports that are included especially appeal to creative users. CalDigit chose to put the Thunderbolt 3 performance to good use for users who want to run two displays. And thanks to Thunderbolt 3’s high throughput speed of 40 Gbps you can hook up no less than two 4K monitors at 60 fps to the mini Dock. On the dual DisplayPort version, you get one USB 3 port and Gigabit Ethernet interface. The DisplayPort ports are too wide to accommodate yet another port, which isn’t a problem on the HDMI 2.0 version where you get a USB 3 and USB 2 port next to the Ethernet port.
It seems odd that there aren’t two USB 3 interfaces. Even at 5 Gbps, it’s faster than USB 2; but CalDigit may have decided against it because USB 3 may be more power-hungry and probably runs hotter too. The good news is that the USB 3 and 2 ports provide 4.5W and 2.5W respectively, which allows you to power a GoPro camera or even an external disk. ■