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Review: Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock [Video]


Corsair’s recently released a new Thunderbolt 3 dock, the TBT100. This dock aims to deliver a lot of the same features found in the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock in a more affordable package. Read below for my thoughts.

Design

The TBT100 is designed very similarly to the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, except this time around, you’ve got much more angular edges and sharper curves, giving it a much more aggressive design. However, it’s also noticeably wider and longer than the Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock. But it hasn’t been an issue at all fitting this dock in place of my Elgato dock. It has two rubber feet on the bottom to prevent slippage. And a standout difference between this and the Elgato dock is the inclusion of an LED power button. Overall, the TBT100 offers a premium design and sturdy chassis just like its Elgato counterpart.

Video: Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock

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I/O

The I/O for this dock is really well balanced and going to suffice for most people simply looking for expansion. There’s a USB-C 3.1 port on the front which supports speeds up to 10Gbps and 1.5A power output. While you’re not going to be able to plug in a Thunderbolt 3 device, you could easily connect an external SSD and use it as a scratch disk for editing video or storing extra games. 

Next to the Type-C port is a Full-sized SD card slot. Most USB-C docks I’ve used (whether they’re Thunderbolt 3 or not) usually come with a paired micro and full-sized slots. But The SD Card slot here supports UHS-II cards, which makes up for the lack of a micro port. There’s also a 3.5mm combo stereo out port. This is going to work great for your average pair of headphones. I connected my 250 Ohm Beyerdynamic Headphones to the dock and was actually able to receive a decent audio signal.

On the backside, there are two USB-A 3.1 ports that can individually support up to 5Gbps speeds and 1.5A power output. And they support wake on USB and booting over USB as well. The TBT100’s naturally got a Gigabit Ethernet port, which is something to expect from nearly every stationary dock these days. Although it isn’t 10 Gigabit, it’s nice to have.

We’ve got an additional USB-C 3.1 port with 10Gbps speeds and 1.5A power output, as well as two HDMI 2.0 ports. These ports will individually support monitors up to a 4K resolution at 60Hz. I would have found it much more beneficial for the TBT100 to have an HDMI and display-port instead of two HDMI’s. I think it’d be more useful for users overall, offering a bit more versatility.

Lastly, there’s a Thunderbolt 3 port, which is what you’d use to connect to the computer to the dock. And this supports the full 40Gbps speeds, as well as having power output up to 85 watts. If you’ve got a 13 or 15-inch MacBook, then you’d be good to go here, getting a full charge from one cable.

Thunderbolt Utility

The TBT100 has software to use alongside the dock called the Corsair Thunderbolt Dock Utility. This is software made to properly eject the dock from the computer in order to protect any storage or devices or peripherals you’ve got connected to the dock. The Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock we reviewed is utilizing a variant of the same software. There’s been nothing new added here.

9to5Mac’s Take

As far as general usability, this dock performs identically to the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Dock we reviewed last year. I’ve had no issues connecting this to any of my devices and peripherals. I’ve mainly been using this dock to support a separate setup I’ve got for my MacBook Air, and it’s been great for that. My general issue with this dock, however, is that for the price of $259, I feel as though there should be a secondary Thunderbolt 3 port. 

When comparing this dock to the Caldigit TS3 Plus, that dock essentially offers the same I/O as what’s found on the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock, in a smaller overall form factor, for less money. The TS3 Plus has 4 USB-C ports with 2 of them being Thunderbolt-enabled, as well as having DisplayPort and USB-A ports.

There are some people who might not need an extra Thunderbolt 3 port at all. But if you’ve got a Thunderbolt 3-enabled display or a Thunderbolt 3 SSD that you want to interface, you’re essentially out of luck. You may have an extra Thunderbolt port on the computer itself, but that defeats the all-in-one idea. Given that, I don’t really find this dock competitive for the current price. But for $60 to $80 less, this is a great option for those looking for a solid Thunderbolt 3 dock with a sleek design.

What are your thoughts on the Corsair TBT100? Sound off in the comments below!

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