OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock

Top right view of the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock.

OWC provided me this product for review at no cost. All opinions are mine and have had no editorial input from OWC.

A Thunderbolt 3 dock is a necessity if you have a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. If I’m honest, when this initially became a reality, I resented it. But after seeing the flexibility and versatility that a dock like the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock can afford you, I’ve never been more in love with USB-C and Thunderbolt 3.

Since OWC’s first iteration of this dock, there have been a few changes. The back of the device has four USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 ports, an S/PDIF digital audio out port, Gigabit Ethernet, Mini DisplayPort 1.2, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, one of which is now capable of delivering up to 85W; a significant change since the first version which could only deliver up to 60W.

Top left view of the back of the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock.

In my testing, even 60W was just fine for keeping my laptop charged, but I spend most of my day at my desk either sitting or standing and connected to the dock. So while 85W is a welcome change, I didn’t notice much of a difference.

The Firewire 800 port was dropped, which a year ago would’ve been more significant to me because of my then audio interface. Since then I’ve upgraded to an audio interface that conveniently plugs in through Thunderbolt 3.

Regrettably, the vacant space goes unused. We didn’t get anymore Thunderbolt 3 ports or even anymore USB-A ports which is unfortunate. I’m unsure of the technical constraints of making this possible, but if you have a Thunderbolt 3 display (like the LG UltraFine 5K), you’ll need to connect any other Thunderbolt 3 devices directly to your Mac, which is no longer a convenient one-cable solution.

Back view of the back of the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock.
Space left open by removing Firewire 800 isn’t used to add more ports

I assume this is a problem dock makers haven’t quite figured out yet, because none of the competing docks seem to offer more than two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

The front of the device has been upgraded with a microSD slot and a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port. Just like the previous iteration, the front also has a USB-A 3.1 Gen 1 port, a 35mm headphone jack, and an SD Card reader which unfortunately doesn’t seem upgraded with UHS-II support.

Close up front view of the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock.
This iteration comes with a microSD; slot and a USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 port

Just like before, you can choose between Silver and Space Gray. I received the Space Gray version, which I would’ve preferred anyway. Its color nicely matches my MacBook but unfortunately still has a shiny plastic top which easily attracts fingerprints and dust. I hope that they’ll move to matte plastic in the future.

Overall I think the OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock is still one of the best docks I’ve seen out there. No product is perfect, but it has a wide range of ports, a competitive price, an attractive design, and it just works.

By Timmmmy

A human hoping to be empathetic and kind with all. I'm a geek, coffee drinker, stoner, maker of things, and forever an optimist. Brightly-colored clothes weren't enough, so I dye my hair too (he/him)

2 replies on “OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock”

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