Fourteen Ports, Plenty of USB Power, and Stylish Design
Review by Erik Vlietinck
The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock, with 14 ports, delivers every conceivable connection technology you may need. The dock’s front is designed for easy connection of portable devices, headphones, and media cards, while the rear features a multitude of ports for static devices.
The Thunderbolt 3 Dock has the traditional OWC dock design: It’s a long, flat, high-quality aluminum box with a glossy black top and bottom, standing on four rubber feet, with yellow and blue power and activity LEDs glowing from the bottom onto your desktop surface. The design is elegant as much as it is functional.
The devices you’re bound to use the most can be plugged into one of the front ports, i.e., the SD and microSD 4.0 card slots, headphone port, USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB-C type USB 3.1. Gen 2 port. The dock provides 85 watts of power to your computer via the Thunderbolt 3 connection and it has four high-power USB ports to charge your mobile devices.
The back of the unit has a Mini DisplayPort 1.2, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and an S/PDIF digital audio output port. The dock’s Thunderbolt port supports up to one 5K display at 60 Hz or two 4K displays at up to 60 Hz; the former via a native Thunderbolt 3 display, or 4K at 60Hz via a native display or a USB-C display adapter. The Mini DisplayPort 1.2 port supports up to 4K at 60 Hz.
The two media readers are both version 4.0 compliant, which means they’re capable of 300 MB/sec offloading. The microSD slot was a bit awkward to use. If you keep your fingernails very short (as I do), you’ll need a pair of tweezers to pull the card out of the slot once it’s been inserted properly. ■