A Thunderbolt 3 Dock with a Tiny Footprint

Review by Erik Vlietinck

The CalDigit TS3 Thunderbolt Station has an edge. Not only does one of its ports provide 85W charging power on to Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 MacBook, but it’s also tiny compared to others. And it can be positioned upright, saving space on your desk.

The CalDigit TS3 Thunderbolt Station has two 40Gb/sec Thunderbolt 3 ports; three USB 3.1 Gen.1 ports, of which one is high-powered; an Ethernet interface; one DisplayPort; separate headphones and mic ports; and two eSATA ports, which make a lot of sense for hooking up legacy devices to one of the newest Macs.

Just as with the TS3 Lite, the TS3 Thunderbolt Station has an aluminum housing. The TS3 has a ribbed surface, which allows for better heat dissipation—very noticeable when you touch its surface.

Of course, the TS3 has dual Thunderbolt 3 ports that allow you to daisy-chain devices—up to six of them per computer port. And if you need to hook up two 4K monitors simultaneously, you can connect the first to the DisplayPort and the second one via a USB-C to HDMI video cable to the second Thunderbolt 3 port. The Thunderbolt 3 port supports 4K @60Hz, as well as a 5K @60Hz monitors, but if you connect a 5K display, you can’t hook up a second 4K monitor anymore, as is true with any currently available Thunderbolt/USB-C dock.

Finally, the TS3 features three USB 3.1 at 5Gb/s ports, which support the Battery Charging v1.2 spec.

When you buy the TS3, you can download a nifty menu applet that allows you to quickly unmount a device connected to one of the dock’s ports. A very useful feature, as it’s much quicker than disconnecting from the Finder.

The TS3 Thunderbolt Station is well built and is perfect for professionals who use legacy equipment.