Lynette Kent | What's Up Dock???

What's Up Dock???

March 20, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Laptops are great for travel. But to replace a desktop? 

Oh those dongles and plugs!

 

Having just upgraded my 2013 MacBook Pro to a late 2017 MacBook Pro of identical screen size, I was surprised by the lighter weight of the new model.  The 2013 was really lighter, especially for those of us who have used the original “PowerBrick” from Apple - way back when! Still this new model is so light, I can pick it up with two fingers. That really helps with travel and weight restrictions, plus it is all around more comfortable to use.

However, I was still clinging to my old modular Mac Tower, loaded with RAM and cores - you know that silver box that takes two people to carry it somewhere if it needs a repair? Why? Not because the processors are any faster, because they are not compared to the new MacBook Pros! It is all about the ease of connections - the ports - the ability to connect multiple USB devices, memory card readers, internet cables, and firewire and some from legacy external drives that are still working well for storage.  The new laptops may have up to four ports, with one needed for charging, and even with a USB powered hub, I found it limiting. And then when you take your laptop somewhere, having to disconnect and reconnect a plethora of plugs and dongles or reconnect them when you get back! Well that is just inconvenient.

When I read that OWC (MacSales.com) had a "Thunderbolt Dock,” i thought it worth looking into. I have used OWC (Other World Computing) products a number of times, including "geeking out" my old MacPro Tower with various internal drives which are faster than the original ones it came with, and also for adding internal PCI cards which gave me USB 3 connectivity for various external devices. So I was already familiar with some of their products and also their "live" tech support (a real person answers the phone, how novel!). And they also have numerous How-To videos that enable even the least techie person to successfully do some technical installations and upgrades - such as internal hard drives and PCI cards!

My new MacBook Pro has Thunderbolt 3, also known as USB-C connecting ports, so that is the version of the Thunderbolt Dock that I tried. Just to be clear, OWC also makes a Thunderbolt 2 version of the Dock for MacBooks and Macbook Pros that use USB 3 with the original type connectors, called Standard A ports.

The TB3 Dock is a sleek and relatively small box with many connection options. Plug the TB3 Dock into power and connect it to the laptop, and suddenly any connected external drives, card readers, external monitors, and more have power and are available.  I simply connect my MacBook Pro with one cable, boot up, and I can use all the externals without connecting and disconnecting anything. My screen appears on the external Monitor I love, my Wacom tablet is ready, and the card reader, external speakers, and external drives are all good to go.

In the past, I had to purchase a second MacBook Pro charger so I could leave one in my travel case and not have to crawl under the desk to disconnect or reconnect the charger for my laptop when taking it for travel. The OWC TB3 Dock comes with its own power supply. So now I just keep the original charger the laptop came with in my travel bag. The Thunderbolt dock has the power for my laptop and all my devices, and it is ready and waiting for me when I reconnect the laptop. That's it, one cable to connect  when I use my MacBook Pro at my home office, one cable to disconnect when I take my MacBook Pro on the road. And I did not have to purchase another MacBook power charger.

In fact, the OWC Thunderbolt dock has proven so convenient that when a friend was debating between using a 2013 MacBook pro and getting a new iMac, I showed him the connective simplicity and he bought the OWC Thunderbolt 2 dock to match his MacBook Pro. It was less expensive than purchasing another iMac and it gave him everything he needed as well.

This OWC Thunderbolt Dock just works and its affordable! 

 

Finally, I can use my laptop conveniently without 

dangling dongles and a plethora of plugs!

 

 

 


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