Corsair makes a range of great products for PCs and laptops, including everything from the best PC cases to more recently, best Xbox Series X and Series S headsets. Since grabbing my Razer Blade 15 Pro, I've been looking for a Thunderbolt dock to expand my range of ports, while also making my laptop more portable. Being able to connect all of my PC accessories up with a single cable is naturally far more convenient if I need to unplug and go mobile.
However, the vast majority of Thunderbolt docks I've used on the lower end have been inconsistent, to say the least. With some having issues with data bottlenecking, and others flat out freezing up in certain scenarios.
My colleague Harish has already given the Corsair TBT100 a full a proper review, but I had to throw in some comments of my own, having hunted for a Thunderbolt dock for so long that actually works. Say hi to the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt dock, which is by far the best Thunderbolt dock I've ever used, finally giving me the consistent experience I need. Quality does come with a premium, though.
Bottom line: The Corsair TBT100 is expensive, but you really do get what you pay for. This is the ideal Thunderbolt 3 dock for anyone who needs a powerful and reliable dock that does virtually everything you could possibly need it to do.
- Good weight with rubber feet to prevent cables pulling it around
- Large range of ports and features
- Consistent experience without issues
- It does get quite warm
- Rather expensive
Corsair TBT100: What I loved
|OS requirements||Mac OS 10.14 Moajve or later, Windows 10 or later|
|Power Delivery||Up to 85W upstream to laptop, up to 15W for USB-C ports, up to 7.5W for USB-A ports|
|Video||HDMI 2.0 @ 4K x2|
|USB Ports||USB-A SuperSpeed 5Gbps x2|
|USB-C||SuperSpeed 10Gbps x2|
|Ethernet||Gigabit Ethernet x1|
|Audio||3.5mm combo port, 24-bit 192kHz x1|
|Lock||Management Kensington Security Slot x1|
|Media Reader||SD Card Reader, UHS-II x1|
|Product Dimensions||228mm (L) x 83mm (W) x 25mm (H)|
I've got a bit of a mixed history with docking stations. Having previously mained Surface devices as my go-to work devices, docking stations were a big part of the experience. Those who grabbed the Surface Dock and tried to use its multi-monitor function may remember that they were prone to crashing and freezing, until a firmware update was issued (after months of problems). I've found other cheaper Thunderbolt docks I've purchased suffered from similar issues with throughput and power delivery, with Windows giving me "USB device has crashed" on occasion. Microphones and other streaming devices I've used through docks have struggled with bandwidth issues, leading to data corruption too, on cheaper docks. I was keen to really put the Corsair TBT100 through its paces to see if it would suffer from a similar fate, and thankfully, the TBT100 has handled everything I've thrown at it with ease.
The TBT100 has handled everything I've thrown at it with ease.
This dock sports a professional-looking metallic design, with a decent amount of weight and rubberized feet. It could probably do with a bit of extra weighting (something I miss from the Surface Dock), but it's weighty enough to stay put and not slide around while having stuff plugged in.
It sports an impressive array of ports, including two HDMI 2.0 ports for 4K video, an 3.5mm combo audio port, two USB-A ports, two USB-C ports with power delivery, one Thunderbolt port for hooking in your PC, and a full-size SD card reader for good measure. For business users or those who want added security, the TBT100 also has a Kensington lock port.
It has some control utilities on Mac, but on PC it's a simple case of plug and play. Once you hook up the power and Thunderbolt port, Windows 10 will download the drivers from Windows update and you'll be good to go. I hooked up my 4K TV, several peripherals, and my Elgato 4K capture card to see how well the Thunderbolt cable could handle the data stress. In some ways, the Thunderbolt dock handled the inputs better than my Razer Blade's motherboard.
When connecting HDMI up to my Razer Blade's HDMI port, it has given me issues in the past, causing my laptop to freeze for some reason I have yet to fully diagnose. HDMI from the TBT100 works flawlessly, though, circumventing whatever weird issue I'm having on my Razer Blade's motherboard. I also had no corruption on data streamed from my video capture card or when recording from my microphone, which added only a sliver of additional latency at all in ACID's recording software.
I have to say, all in-all, this may be the best Thunderbolt dock I've used in terms of seamlessness and power. All that quality comes with a big price tag, though.
Corsair TBT100: What I didn't love
It's hard to overlook the fact this beefy boy costs a pretty hefty $250, which comes in at £270 in the UK. There are far cheaper options on the market, but like I noted, I've often encountered issues with the cheaper docks. You really have to need a Thunderbolt 3 dock to justify this price point. For those using ultrabooks which sacrifice ports for thinness, grabbing a Thunderbolt dock can really unlock options for your workflow, providing your laptop actually supports full Thunderbolt 3, that is (Surface devices don't).
The main issue with this dock is that it gets quite warm. The same is true of most Thunderbolt docks I've used that sport power delivery, owing to the laws of physics most likely. It's worth being aware of, though. It also has a large power brick that generates heat too. For those who like to keep their workspace as minimal as possible, adding in an extra device might seem unnecessary. For those who just want extra ports and don't necessarily want the power delivery features, there might be cheaper, simpler options available.
The Corsair TBT100 RRPs for $250 generally in the U.S., hitting £270 in the UK. The product is available to buy through most retailers, notably Amazon and Best Buy, although you can also buy it through Corsair's own official website store.
Availability on this product seems to fluctuate, particulary given the big move to work-from-home culture in recent months. It's compatible with both PC and Mac, giving it a broad audience. Each time we've checked, stocks have been decent at Amazon and other big tech retailers, meaning you shouldn't have too much trouble trying to find one. I do find it odd that the UK price is significantly higher than the U.S. price, but that seems to be a trend among most tech companies right now.
Corsair TBT100: Should you buy it?
Thunderbolt docks, like most products, come in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs. You may not need the full-blown power of a power-delivery Thunderbolt dock that includes a dedicated power source and a power brick. A smaller USB-C based port hub might be a better option in scenarios where all you need is a few more USB ports. This $80 SOHO dock option from CalDigit might be better for you if you're looking for something a bit more accessible.
CalDigit also does a "Pro" version with more features for $200, which offers a fairly significant saving over this option from Corsair, at the cost of a Thunderbolt 3 downstream, however.
This is not a cheap product, but as someone who is expecting to travel frequently again in the near future (pandemic willing), having something that encapsulates all of my accessories on a single port is incredibly convenient, and well-worth the price of admission for yours truly.
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