Belkin Upgrades Thunderbolt Express Dock with USB 3.0 and eSATA, Bumps Price to $399.99


macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

Back in January, Belkin officially unveiled its Thunderbolt Express Dock, a single-cable hub priced at $299.99 and offering a variety of USB, Ethernet, and FireWire ports to provide easy desktop expandability for portable machines. But with the product not scheduled to ship until September, Belkin left itself with plenty of time to continue tweaking its design and today announced that it has revised the specs to boost the previous USB 2.0 ports to USB 3.0, as well as add new eSATA and audio in ports. The company has also announced a one-meter Thunderbolt cable to aid in connectivity.

"As more hardware companies announce plans to incorporate Intel's Thunderbolt technology into their products, we aim to create quality accessories that take advantage of Thunderbolt's blazing fast speeds and other benefits," said Martin Avilla, general manager of Belkin's core business unit. "Over the past few months, we have really listened to our end users and created a one-meter cable and refined the dock to make it an even better desktop solution, which we believe will make Belkin a go-to provider for Thunderbolt accessories when they launch in the summer and fall."
Belkin's improvements to the Thunderbolt Express Dock come with a cost, however, as the retail price has risen from the previous $299.99 to $399.99. The Thunderbolt cable will run an additional $44.99.

Belkin is holding firm on its plans to launch the Thunderbolt Express Dock in September, with the Thunderbolt cable making its debut next month.

Just a few days ago, Matrox announced its own Thunderbolt docking station priced at $249. The Matrox DS-1 has only one USB 3.0 port alongside a pair of USB 2.0 ports, and also lacks FireWire and eSATA ports while providing video output via DVI rather than HDMI. Perhaps most importantly, Matrox's solution does not include a second Thunderbolt port for passthrough, meaning that the docking station must be placed at the end of any daisy-chained peripheral setup.

Still, with the price difference between the Matrox and Belkin solutions increasing from $50 to $150 with the price increase on the Belkin dock, the Matrox product may prove more appealing for many customers.

Apple also essentially offers a Thunderbolt docking station built into its $999 27-inch Thunderbolt display. Apple's display offers three USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, a FaceTime HD camera, and a 2.1 speaker system, all connected to the user's computer over a single Thunderbolt cable.

Article Link: Belkin Upgrades Thunderbolt Express Dock with USB 3.0 and eSATA, Bumps Price to $399.99


macrumors G5
Oct 23, 2010
It was already too expensive at $299. At $399 I doubt it will sell well. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see USB 3.0 on the next Apple Thunderbolt Display. Why not just get that for $600 more, or even a Mac Mini for $200 more?


macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2007
at least this one has two TB ports and one FW800 and many USB3 (Matrox doesn't), but it is soooo pricey :(


macrumors G3
Sep 15, 2011
Vilano Beach, FL
$299 +with+ the USB 3.0 ports would’ve been a decent price/port/performance ratio (not factoring in the eSATA addition).

~$450 with the cable factored in? Heck, I’ll just take a 27” TB display for another $550. :)

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
In my imagination
Really, who pays $400 for a hub and even without a cable.
Exactly! It was fine at the $300 price point, but now they really should just include the cable as well to help sweeten the deal.

It was already too expensive at $299. At $399 I doubt it will sell well. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised to see USB 3.0 on the next Apple Thunderbolt Display. Why not just get that for $600 more, or even a Mac Mini for $200 more?
Spending $600 more for a TBolt display is moronic. Why complain about the price then spend 2.5x as much just to spite a company?

Getting a MacMini makes no sense either . . . because it's another computer that won't act as a hub.


Aug 23, 2005
Looks great. Looks at price. Walks away :( :eek:

That is 40% the retail price of macbook air. Ouch! Hard Sell.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 8, 2011
It was unacceptable at $300. Now it's just offensive.

This kind of pricing will kill thunderbolt. I'm unaware of any other interface that was this costly to the end user.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2007
If this had a KVM built in with the right features (e.g. you could connect multiple computers and switch between them, and route which ones use which ports, so that, for example, the hard drive stays connected to specific machine), then I might be interested. Reason why is that Displayport KVMs are pretty expensive, and I'm manually switching cables these days, so if it offered that there would be enough value in it for me.

But otherwise, this is way too expensive, and I would either play the waiting game, look at alternatives, or get an Apple Thunderbolt Display. Though the Apple display would have to have enough value compared to the cost of other 27" 2560x1440 displays combined with the hub to make it worth while. The main advantage is being able to daisy chain multiple monitors. Personally, I prefer 30" 2560x1600 monitors. These hubs need to add multiple DisplayPort ports, so you can do e.g. more than one 30" 2560x1600 monitors, and be able to use pre-Thunderbolt displays.
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macrumors 603
Jan 20, 2010
Hopefully a manufacturer is watching and can make something similar for 1/2 to 1/4 of the cost and sell tons of these things. I would want one myself!


macrumors 68030
May 28, 2008
I'm still waiting for a company to have a thunderbolt portable hard drive. None of those expensive raid arrays, just a simple 1 terabyte drive I can use for time machine.

Digital Skunk

macrumors 604
Dec 23, 2006
In my imagination
These prices are going to kill Thunderbolt.
I wouldn't go that far.

The $300 was a very nice price for it to be honest. TBolt is still going to ask for a premium price given the age of the tech. Now, add in eSATA, FW800, USB3.0, an additional TBolt port and $300 isn't bad at all.

The LaCie eSATA hub is $250 for just two TBolts and two eSATA ports. $50 more and you get a splattering of connections. Now, price it at $400 and you are just asking for users to find cheaper alternatives.

The TBolt, SSD, and other non-mainstream tech will come down in price as they become more mainstream. Besides,


macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2009
Great another overpriced thunderbolt accessory offering the basic ports that mobile computers should have in the first place.

Colour me impressed.... not.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2010
For the love of god, why $399 (or $450-$500 for that matter)? Mind as well buy a new Mac Mini and have two machines for that kind of money.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 29, 2003
Might as well just buy an Apple Cinema Display at that price -- I'd gladly trade the eSata port for a gorgeous 27" screen....
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