The first thing to note about the dock is the fact that it has an incredibly capable power supply. It will not only drive the peripherals you connect to it but, thanks to the included Thunderbolt 3 cable, it will also power and charge your laptop.
There’s no need to use your included Apple power adapter at your desk. Instead, the Apple power supply can take up residence in your gear bag, so you always have it with you when you travel or are on the road for an extended period.
Built into this small, unassuming rectangle of plastic and metal is a device delivering the fastest speed available today. It is so powerful that it can drive two 4K displays. At the same time, it allows you to connect and charge up to six USB devices. As “forward-looking” as this dock is, it also “looks back” and works with legacy FireWire storage. It has an audio port, a connection to tap into wired networks, and an SD cards reader. All that, and the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock delivers twice the speed of Thunderbolt 2. Perhaps best of all, all of this connectivity can be put into action by connecting a single cable to your laptop.
VIEW YOUR WORLD: Because Thunderbolt 3 delivers phenomenal bandwidth, up to 40Gb/s, Thunderbolt 3 Dock can be the foundation of your perfect custom display setup. Providing the ability to drive the latest generation 5K displays, two ultra HD 4K displays, or a combination of 4K, HD and other displays with the mini DisplayPort port and additional Thunderbolt 3 port.
I’ll dig into how I’m using the dock in a moment but before I do it is worth noting that this is not just a consumer product. As the company explains:
If you’re a pro working in the creative industries, you probably have a highly specialized workflow complete with specialized and legacy ports like FireWire and digital audio. The OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock supports FW800 and S/PDIF digital audio, as well as an SD card reader and analog stereo audio.
So what ports does it have? How about… 2 Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports, five USB 3.0 Type-A Ports, one FireWire 800 Port, one Mini DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet Port, one 3.5mm Audio In/Out, one S/PDIF Out and an SD Card Reader. Here’s a graphic showing all the connection offerings.
Data transfer rates are rather impressive. Thunderbolt 3 offers 40 Gb/s and USB 3.1 is 10 Gb/s. Coming in a bit slower there is the USB 3.0 at 5 per Gb/s and the FireWire 800 which offers “just” 800 Mb/s. As a product page from one of the distributors puts it, this dock,
…contains two bi-directional 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 ports, each of which utilizes the reversible USB Type-C connector and supports 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 and dual-bandwidth DisplayPort 1.2, allowing you to connect up to two 4K/60 Hz displays simultaneously, or one 5K Thunderbolt 3 display. Additionally, you can daisy chain up to six devices from a single Thunderbolt 3 port.