The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2: Solid Design, Stable Performance, Great Price
Thunderbolt 2 Dock Comparison
We’ve discussed a number of competing products in this review so, before we conclude, it would be helpful to compile a direct comparison table of the current and upcoming Thunderbolt 2 docks.
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A few caveats in relation to the chart above. First, the OWC dock carries a retail price of $299, but is available during its pre-order period for $249. Second, the Sonnet dock is offered in a number of configurations, including models with a built-in Blu-ray drive and internal hard drives. Models range from $469 to $1,299 for a configuration with a Blu-ray burner and two 1TB SSDs. Considering the numerous delays, however, there’s also a decent chance that the Sonnet Echo 15 Thunderbolt Dock will never see a release.
As is reinforced by the chart above, the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2 wins on price before you even start to consider its other attributes. While it doesn’t have as many ports as some of its competitors, it offers a feature set that will satisfy most consumers and delight professional users who still rely on eSATA.
The hardware design and reliability of the unit is top-notch, which we’ve come to expect from CalDigit, and we appreciate the flexibility to use the dock in either a vertical or horizontal position. If you’re planning to use a 4K display, you’ll want to make sure to connect it via DisplayPort (Thunderbolt) to avoid the dock’s HDMI 1.4b limitation. Other than that minor restriction, however, we can find nothing wrong with CalDigit’s latest offering. As long as three USB 3.0 ports is enough, you can’t beat the CalDigit’s feature set at this price.
The CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 2 is available now for $199.99 from the CalDigit website and third party retailers like Amazon. A $235 bundle which includes a 1-meter Thunderbolt cable is also available. The dock requires OS X 10.8.4, Windows 7, or later, and is covered by a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.