Apple has made adapters for its thunderbolt 3 ports, like thunderbolt 2, lightning, USB-A (the kind you’re used to seeing on the side of a computer), AV port adapters for HDMI or VGA, gigabit ethernet, and so on. That means that if you’re working primary at your desk with your laptop, you’ll have pretty much all of your ports filled with all the stuff you’ll need to be constantly plugging and unplugging. A lot of companies have seen this issue and have made their own docking stations for the new MacBook Pro. In this article you’ll see three options laid out in a spreadsheet, and an explanation about which one is the best value to get your new computer hooked up to all of your devices.
OtherWorld Computing’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock (top = front; bottom = rear)As you can see from the comparison above, Other World Computing (OWC) seems to have the best value, but that really hasn’t been determined yet, as Belkin and Elgato have yet to officially announce the price of their units. There have been a few sources online putting the Elgato dock at about $299 and the Belkin dock at a rather steep $430 according to The Verge. That number cannot be treated as fact until both companies release an official price, but if those are in the ballpark, OWC’s pre-order price of $279 ($299 when it’s released in February) has them both beat.
Even putting price aside for a moment, you get 5 USB connections from OWC’s dock instead of 3, which means you can hook up a DVD Burner, wired scanner, iPhone/iPad lightning connection cable, wired keyboard, and backup hard drive, and still have 3 of your MacBook Pro’s thunderbolt 3 ports free for other things. OWC’s thoughtfulness towards Apple customers is also evident in the inclusion of a FireWire 800 port for those people still wanting to use a DV video camera, or just an older hard drive connector that uses FireWire 800. The use of a Mini DisplayPort is thoughtful as well, because anyone who has bought a MacBook Pro or Mac Mini in the past 7 or 8 years has probably already purchased a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI or VGA adapter. The SD card reader is a must-have for some people, particularly those who are using a point-and-shoot or DSLR camera that uses an internal memory card.
In summary, the OWC dock seems to be the best value for the money, particularly for current mac users looking to upgrade their computer to the latest and greatest. With a really thoughtful approach to their dock, a great warranty, and excellent customer service, this is the hardware we would recommend for connecting all of your devices.