People, these days, are interested in buying sleek, compact, and portable laptops to carry around. But, unfortunately, minimalist laptop size comes at a price, and that’s a lesser number of available physical ports. Hence you can’t find a MacBook Pro in the market that includes all the essential ports and interfaces.
That’s why a docking station is no longer a luxury but a necessity for Macbook Pro owners to connect to other devices, monitor, and transfer the data to portable hard drives.
The following article reviews the best docks for Macbook Pro that offer several high-speed ports. Not only that, but the bonus buying guide will facilitate you in selecting a suitable docking station for Macbook Pro.
Reviews of Best Dock for Macbook Pro
Are you excited to buy a dock to offer the required ports, including HDMI, USB-A ports, Thunderbolt 3 port, USB-C, and 3.5mm audio ports? Keep reading the following reviews of the best dock for Macbook Pro.
If you want to buy an affordable and compact dock for Macbook Pro, the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock is a perfect choice.
One of the most significant advantages of buying this Thunderbolt 3 dock is to connect two 4K displays at 60 Hz using two HDMI ports. Not only that, but the dock also includes one USB 3.0 Type-A, one USB 2.0 port, and a Gigabit Ethernet port with Wake-on-LAN support as well as PXE Boot.
The good news is that the 3.0 port offers 0.9 amps and 4.5 watts, enough for your iPhone and other devices. On the downside, it doesn’t provide the desired power for bus-powered drives. Also, since it’s a bus-powered dock, it means it takes power from the host Macbook Pro.
The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Mini Dock features a sleek construction comprising a metal case. Moreover, the seven-inch integral USB-C connects to the Mac desktop and laptop. Similarly, the dock separates the ports that require additional cables from those that don’t.
- Includes six ports
- Offers multi-channel audio such as Dolby Digital
- Portable and lightweight aluminum housing
- Offers 4K display support
- The USB ports don’t offer enough power to the accessories
- Extremely short Thunderbolt cable
We have great news for you if you are looking for a docking station for your 15-inch Macbook Pro.
The LandingZone Docking Station is an all-rounder docking station that includes three USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.1 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Type-A, and one USB Type-C passthrough port. Additionally, it offers an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet port, SD card slot, Micro SD card slot, and a two-way audio port.
The LandingZone docking station comes with an integrated Kensington security slot to offer the desired security to the Macbook. It’s because the security slot is compatible with Kensington laptop locks which you can buy separately to secure your data.
Lucky for you, you can use the 96W power adapter to charge your Macbook Pro using a Touch Bar.
Looking at the overall construction, you won’t find the design of the LandingZone docking station sleek or compact. However, at a weight of only 0.65 kilograms, it’s undoubtedly a lightweight and portable dock.
- It comes with a 96W LandingZone US power adapter
- Includes 16 ports
- Offers a Kensington Security slot
- Supports up to three external monitors
- It isn’t compatible with the new 16-inch MacBook pro
- Not a Thunderbolt 3 docking station
The Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 is a multi-purpose dock that offers universal compatibility by serving as a USB-C and a Thunderbolt 3 dock. In addition, you can enjoy transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps using a Thunderbolt 3 port.
It’s a rectangular dock with ports on both the front and back sides. Courtesy of the compact size, you can carry the dock even in your pocket.
The Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 comes with an aluminum shell, while the section around the ports is made of sturdy plastic. You can find an SD and microSD card slot, headset connection, a USB-C port, and two USB Type-A 3.2 Gen2 ports on the front side.
Alternatively, the rear side contains a Gigabit Ethernet port, two DisplayPort, a USB-C port, and a USB 3.2 Gen2 port along with a connection for the AC power plug.
Unlike the previously discussed Kensington docking station, the SD card slot is Ultra-high-speed UHS-II to ensure fast speed data transfer up to 280 to 290 MB/s.
Lastly, the three years coverage ensures a long-term and safe investment.
- Offers transfer rates up to 40Gbps
- Deliver 60W power to charge the laptop
- Includes SD and Micro SD card reader
- Lifetime Kensington technical support
- Provides three years of coverage
- Difficult installation
The Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock offers a total of 13 ports, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two dedicated USB-C ports, and two front USB 3.0 ports. Fortunately, the USB ports are USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports that offer a bandwidth capability of 10 Gbps. Not only that, but the dock also includes a 3.5mm audio jack, DisplayPort 1.2 output, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.
With a curved chassis and contrasting dark-colored front and rear sections, it’s an elegant and slim dock to complement your Macbook Pro. An aluminum casing encapsulates the plastic interior comprising all the ports and connectors. Moreover, the dock comes with rubber feet to grip the flat desks.
One of the most distinctive features of the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock eliminates power brick. Instead, the dock offers a power of 85W to charge your Macbook Pro, iPad, iPhone, or other devices.
You can download the Elgato Thunderbolt Dock Utility to unmount different connected drives simultaneously with a single click.
- Includes two front USB 3.0 ports for convenient access
- It comes with a single cable to connect to Macbook Pro
- Supports single screen and dual displays
- Lightweight and compact design
- The user needs to wake the computer from sleep to detect the dock
If you want to buy a sleek and compact dock that doesn’t occupy much of your desk space, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro won’t disappoint you. The Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock pro is a one-for-all and all-for-one dock with all the desired interfaces, such as USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, Gigabit Ethernet port, Thunderbolt, and DisplayPort.
The box includes a Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock, a 2.6 feet TB 3 cable, and a 170W power supply. This stylish dock features a grey-colored aluminum enclosure with glossy black panels to add to the overall aesthetics. Furthermore, the single LED on the front panel is muted, so you don’t distract yourself from work.
The good news is that the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock pro offers a power of 85W upstream to charge your laptop, thus eliminating the power brick from your desk for good. You’ll find the ultra-fast USB-C 3.1 and USB-A ports on the front panel to charge your accessories.
Moreover, the SD card reader reads SD cards, SDHC high-capacity cards, and SDXC extended capacity cards. Courtesy of the Ultra-high-speed UHS-II speed standards, the Belkin Thunderbolt 3 dock pro offers a theoretical maximum transfer speed is around 312 MB/s, which is excellent.
- Offers 85W upstream charging for laptop
- Ensures 40Gbps of data transfer
- Facilitates dual [email protected] display
- Compact aluminum exterior
- Offers high-speed SD transfer at 312 MG/s bus speed
- May get overheat
The CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock is an advanced dock offering 15 ports of connectivity. These ports include Thunderbolt 3, DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 3.1 Type-C, SD card reader, digital optical audio, Gigabit Ethernet, and analog audio.
The CalDigit TS3 Plus dock guarantees robustness and quality, courtesy of the metallic construction. Luckily, the dock includes fins that serve as heat dissipaters to cool the device. Furthermore, the dock’s design allows you to select its orientation as vertical or horizontal, depending upon the available desk space.
The box includes a TS3 Plus dock, a power cord, a Thunderbolt 3 cable, and a power adapter. With a weight of only 1.32 pounds, you can conveniently transport the dock to your office or library.
On the front side, you’ll find a status LED, analog audio input, SD card reader, USB Type-C Gen-1, and USB Type-A 3.1 ports with bandwidth capability of up to 5Gbps. Alternatively, the rear side of the dock includes four USB Type-A 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C Gen 2, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a Display Port 1.2, an Ethernet port, and a SPDIF port.
Similar to the previously discussed dock, the SD card reader available on the CalDigit TS3 Plus dock offers compatibility with the UHS-II interface to offer a maximum theoretical throughput of 312 MB/s. You should know that this throughput is triple compared to UHS-I.
- Offers 15 ports for connectivity
- Offers improved 87W laptop charging
- Connect up to two 4K monitors
- Supports both horizontal and vertical orientation
- May create an electronic noise
- It comes with one DisplayPort
If you want to download a 4K movie in 30 seconds and enjoy the transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps, the Kensington Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is one of the best docking stations. You can find LED indicators next to the two USB 3.1 ports, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.
One of the most significant advantages of buying the Kensington Thunderbolt 3 docking station is that it doesn’t heat up, courtesy of the wider surface area. Moreover, the ports are perfectly spaced at a reasonable distance to connect different cables.
You can find two Kensington security slots on the sides while three USB 3.1 ports, one Gigabit Ethernet port, a 15W Thunderbolt 3 port, an HDMI port, a 60W version, and a power supply socket are present at the rear side.
On the downside, this docking station includes an Ultra-high-speed UHS-I card reader, which is relatively slower as it offers around 100 Mbps data transfer speed.
This docking station supports 4K ultra HD in extended mode to dual monitors or 8K 60 frames per second to a single monitor.
- Offers transfer rate up to 40Gbps
- Download a 4K movies within 30 seconds
- Delivers 60W power to the laptop
- Supports single 5K and dual 4K displays
- It isn’t compatible with the new Macbook Pro 2020
As the name suggests, the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock serves as a Thunderbolt 4 mini dock and offers 85W charging for laptops, 15W charging for phones, single or dual displays, and a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port.
Hence the dock includes an ultra-fast Thunderbolt 4 upstream port, three Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports, and a single USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 port. Unfortunately, the dock doesn’t have an SD card reader or an HDMI port.
The package includes a mini dock, 3.9 feet power cord, 100W power adapter, welcome guide, and 2.3 feet Thunderbolt 4 cable. Luckily, the included 18 months warranty ensures a long-term and safe investment.
The upper and lower side of the dock contains aluminum grooves to give it an elegant and distinctive look. Furthermore, the ports have enough spaces between them to prevent overcrowding of the dock.
The ports are placed in such a way to offer you convenience while connecting the devices. For instance, the Thunderbolt 4 upstream port is present on the front side, allowing you to charge the laptop.
- Includes an 85W Thunderbolt 4 upstream port
- Thunderbolt 4 downstream ports support data transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps
- Five-in-one functionality
- Allows you to extend the display options
- It becomes hot while downloading Blue-Ray ISO files
- It contains a single USB-A port
How to Buy the Best Dock for Macbook Pro?
Finding a suitable and affordable dock for Macbook Pro is undoubtedly challenging. But, don’t worry; the following buying guide will help you look for the essential features present in a reliable and multi-functional best dock for Macbook Pro.
Thunderbolt vs. USB-C Ports
If you have a newer version of the Macbook Pro, you should buy a dock that offers Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C ports.
For example, plain USB-C ports offer a transfer speed of 5Gbps or 10Gbps; however, Thunderbolt 3 provides a maximum speed of 40Gbps.
Moreover, you should know that using a USB-C dock with a Thunderbolt 3 laptop won’t offer you ultra-fast speeds. Hence, it would help to buy a Thunderbolt 3 dock for the T3 Macbook Pro to ensure faster data transfer speeds. Similarly, you can’t connect a USB-C laptop with a Thunderbolt 3 dock.
Thunderbolt 4 offers more benefits than Thunderbolt 3, such as daisy-chaining and, most importantly, faster PCI hard-drive connection.
The advanced docking station supports multiple displays and power delivery. That’s why it’s better to buy a Thunderbolt 3 dock instead of a USB-C. Moreover, Thunderbolt 3 docks offer fast data transfers to the 4K or even 5K display monitors as well as charge your laptop and smartphones.
To maximize performance, it’s essential to buy a dock with an auto-switch between USB-C and Thunderbolt.
A pro tip: It’s recommended to update the firmware and driver on Macbook Pro to ensure smooth operations of a Thunderbolt 3 docking station.
Total Number of Ports
As discussed in the above reviews of the best docking stations for Macbook Pro, we can infer that the docks offer a variety of ports. First, however, you need to analyze your requirement and purchase a docking station with the desired number of ports.
A word of advice: You shouldn’t buy an expensive dock with unrequired ports that you would never use.
On the other hand, a dock is a long-term investment you’ll need in the longer run. Moreover, you’ll replace your current Macbook Pro with a new one. That’s why you should evaluate the universal compatibility of the available ports with the latest Macbook models.
It’s recommended to buy a dock that can charge the Macbook Pro. For instance, 12 inches Macbook requires a power of at least 30W while a 13 inches Macbook Pro needs 61W of power to charge. Furthermore, a 15-inch Macbook Pro charges at 87W, while a 16-inch Macbook Pro requires 96W to charge.
You’ll find docking stations for Macbook Pro in all sizes ranging from freestyle to dedicated docking stations. One of the most significant benefits of buying a freestyle dock is placing it anywhere on your desk.
Alternatively, some docking stations also serve as desktop stands that facilitate you in minimizing the cable clutter on your work desk.
It’s a digital era about high-speed data transfer, compatibility, and connectivity with multiple electronic accessories and 4K monitors. That’s why you need to invest in buying robust docking stations for Macbook Pro.
As the laptops keep getting thinner over time, the docking station becomes necessary to connect Macbook Pro to different accessories, devices, and hard drives. So whichever docking station you select from the above guide, you won’t possibly go wrong.
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