Notebook manufacturers have eschewed ports in favor of thin and lightweight designs in recent years, which means that you'll have to use an external hub or dock to connect all the peripherals to your notebook. That's where a Thunderbolt 3 dock comes in handy.
If you have a Thunderbolt 3-enabled Windows laptop, you can just pick up a Thunderbolt 3 dock and connect all accessories to it, requiring a single cable to be plugged into your notebook. It is an elegant solution, and there are plenty of great options if you're looking for a Thunderbolt 3 dock.
Corsair's latest solution is the TBT100, and it offers all the connectivity options you could ask for in an elegant aluminum chassis. So let's take a look at what Corsair's Thunderbolt 3 docking station has to offer, and how it fares in this segment.
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Bottom line: The Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 docking station delivers 85W of power over USB PD, two USB-C ports, two HDMI 2.0 ports that can drive two 4K monitors, and Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. There's no Thunderbolt 3 downlink, but if you don't need the feature, the TBT100 has plenty to offer in this segment.
- Two USB-C ports
- Delivers up to 85W of USB PD power
- Dual HDMI 2.0 ports
- Elegant design
- Full-sized SD card reader
- No Thunderbolt downlink
- Just two USB-A ports
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock What I like
I used the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock with a Lenovo Yoga 7i, which has a Thunderbolt 3 port. As is the case with all Thunderbolt 3 docks, the TTBT100 does not work if you plug it into a USB-C port. So if you have a notebook that has a USB-C port but no Thunderbolt connectivity, you're better off taking a look at the best USB-C hubs you can buy right now.
The Corsair TBT100 has an aluminum design, and because the dock is aimed at productivity use cases, it lacks the flamboyant styling that's a common theme among Corsair products (there's no RGB lighting here). That said, the dock looks elegant thanks to the curved edges and the matte finish.
The TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 dock combines an elegant design with exhaustive connectivity options.
The front of the TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 docking station features a USB-C 3.1 port, 3.5mm jack, and a full-size SD card reader. There's also a nifty power button, and you can switch off the dock by holding down the button for three seconds.
Most of the connectivity options are at the back: you have two USB-A 3.1 5Gbps ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, a second USB-C 3.1 port (up to 10Gbps), two HDMI 2.0 ports, the solitary Thunderbolt 3 port, power in, and a Kensington lock slot.
You'll need to connect the dock to your PC via the Thunderbolt 3 port at the back, and Corsair includes a 0.7-meter Thunderbolt 3 cable in the package. Thunderbolt 3 has a data throughput of 40Gbps, and that is shared between the ports on the dock based on the accessories plugged in.
For instance, each HDMI 2.0 port can use up to 10Gbps to drive a 4K monitor at 60Hz, and with two HDMI 2.0 ports available, you get the option to drive two 4K monitors at up to 60Hz with the dock. Even after connecting two monitors, you'll still have 20Gbps of bandwidth left over for the USB-C, Gigabit Ethernet, and the USB-A ports.
Another key use case with the TBT100 is USB PD charging. The Thunderbolt 3 protocol allows for up to 85W of power to be sent over PD, and you can use the TBT100 to charge your notebook as well in addition to plugging in all the accessories. The cable sends up to 85W of power upstream to your notebook, and it can intelligently manage the charging load to deliver up to 30W of power to USB devices connected to the dock.
At any given time, the TBT100 delivers at least a 45W charge to the connected notebook, so you don't have to worry about your notebook running out of power.
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock What needs work
While the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock gets a lot right, the main issue with the docking station is that it has a single Thunderbolt 3 port. That means there's no Thunderbolt 3 downlink, and you can't daisy chain other Thunderbolt-enabled products to the dock. That limits the usability of the dock if you have other Thunderbolt devices, but if you don't see yourself using this feature and just need a Thunderbolt 3 dock to connect to your notebook, the TBT100 is a great option.
The other drawback is that with just two USB-A ports, the TBT100 doesn't have enough ports for my particular use case. Between my keyboard, mouse, Logitech C922 webcam, and a Yeti USB microphone, I use four USB ports regularly, so it would have been nice to see more USB-A ports on the dock. Most docks in this price point offer four or more USB-A ports, and Corsair is on the backfoot, hereby limiting to just two USB-A ports.
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock The competition
The best Thunderbolt 3 dock that you can get right now is the CalDigit TS3 Plus, which is available for $250 on Amazon. The docking station has five USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports, giving you the option to connect other Thunderbolt 3-enabled devices. The downside is that it has DisplayPort out and no HDMI, so if you have a monitor that connects over HDMI, Corsair's TBT100 is a better alternative.
Then there's the $250 Anker Thunderbolt 3 Dock, which has two Thunderbolt 3 ports as well as an HDMI 2.0 out. You get four USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, up to 85W charging over USB PD, and an SD card reader.
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
You want an elegant Thunderbolt 3 dock
The Corsair TBT100 has a premium design and includes all the ports you're looking for in a Thunderbolt 3 dock.
You want to drive two 4K monitors over HDMI
With two HDMI 2.0 ports, you get the option to drive two 4K monitors at 60Hz from the dock.
You want to power your notebook and other USB devices
With 85W of power over USB PD, the TBT100 docking station can provide power to your notebook and other USB devices.
You should not buy this if ...
You want to connect other Thunderbolt 3 devices
Looking to daisy chain Thunderbolt 3 devices? With a single Thunderbolt 3 port, that's not possible with the TBT100.
You want more USB-A ports
The TBT100 has two USB-A ports and two USB-C ports, so if you need more USB-A ports to connect accessories, you'll have to look elsewhere.
Corsair gets a lot right with the TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 docking station. You get a premium design with curved edges, two USB-C ports, and two HDMI 2.0 ports that let you drive two 4K monitors with the dock. The fact that you can charge your notebook and connect a range of accessories from a single cable is a big deal, and if you're in the market for a Thunderbolt 3 dock, the TBT100 is a great overall choice.
The only downside with the dock is that it doesn't have an additional Thunderbolt 3 port, meaning you can't daisy chain other Thunderbolt-enabled devices to it. While it would have made the TBT100 a well-rounded product, you are still getting a lot for your money here.
Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock
Bottom line: The Corsair TBT100 has plenty to offer if you're looking for a Thunderbolt 3 dock. It has two HDMI 2.0 ports that can drive two 4K monitors, you get two USB-C and two USB-A ports, and the dock can charge your notebook at up to 85W. If you're looking for a unified docking solution for your Thunderbolt-enabled machine, the TBT100 has plenty to offer.
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