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Belkin comes clean on its Thunderbolt Express Dock

What everyone expected to be Belkin's Thunderbolt dock appeared IDF a couple of months back and it was a rather stylish if somewhat impractical design. Now the company has unveiled the final product design and well, it's a grey slab of what looks like rendered metal in the pictures, but could just as well be plastic.

What everyone expected to be Belkin's Thunderbolt dock appeared IDF a couple of months back and it was a rather stylish if somewhat impractical design. Now the company has unveiled the final product design and well, it's a grey slab of what looks like rendered metal in the pictures, but could just as well be plastic.

Practicality aside, we have to wonder what went through the mind of Belkin's designers when they went from the first design which you can see below, to what ended up being the final design. We can imagine one consideration was cost and in all fairness, Belkin did add some additional functionality to the new, uglyfied design, but somehow it all doesn't add up to us.

The one that wasn't to be

Anyhow, in terms of functionality Belkin has done a pretty decent job with one Thunderbolt in and one through port, although what appears to be another peculiar design choice has put one Thunderbolt port on the front of the Express Dock and next to it is a rather large hole through which the cable appears to be feed to the back of the dock, another head scratcher, although this is presumably the input port and as such it might be more practical for notebook users. We'd preferred a side mounted port to this design though.

Beyond the rear Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining the Express Dock, we find a Gigabit Ethernet port, a headphone jack, a FireWire 800 port, a power socket, an HDMI port and three USB 2.0 ports. It's pretty clear that Belkin designed the Thunderbolt Express Dock for Mac's initially, as very few PC users use FireWire 800 and most Ultrabooks should have an HDMI port. The lack of USB 3.0 connectivity is also disappointing.

Sadly this is not one of Belkin's best products and with an asking price of US$299 (S$388) when it arrives in September (yes, that's about nine months from now), we'd hope that there are plenty of more affordable, competing solutions in the market with better designs and features.

Source: Belkin

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