Dell outs USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks (and Macs can play too)

Chris Davies - Jan 6, 2016
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Dell outs USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 docks (and Macs can play too)

USB-C and Thunderbolt would distill our every cable need into a single cord, or so we were told, but it’s taken Dell to finally deliver on the promise. The company has revealed a pair of docking stations here at CES 2016, one using a USB 3.0 USB-C connector and the other a Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, targeted not only at Dell’s own laptops and tablets, but anything else with the right port.

The Dell Dock is the smaller of the two, a 155 x 110 x 21 mm box that connects to a laptop via a single USB-C 3.0 cable. It may be compact, but it isn’t short on ports: there are three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, HDMI, mini DisplayPort, VGA, a stereo output, combo audio in/out, and gigabit ethernet.

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Altogether two displays of up to 1920 x 1200 (60 Hz) can be driven from a single Dell Dock, or one 3840 x 2160 (30 Hz) monitor.

Larger, and more capable, the Dell Thunderbolt Dock comes in at 145 x 145 x 52 mm. It connects via Thunderbolt 3 (which uses the USB-C connector type) and can drive up to three 1080p displays or two 4K displays at 60 Hz.

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Like its smaller brethren it has two USB 2.0 ports and three USB 3.0, VGA, mini DisplayPort, and HDMI, but throws in a full-sized DisplayPort and a Thunderbolt 3 port too.

While, unsurprisingly, both docks support a long list of Dell’s own laptops and tablets, since they use an industry-standard USB 3.0/Thunderbolt 3 connection they’ll also play nicely with similarly-compliant third-party hardware.

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That means your 12-inch MacBook should get along fine with the Dell Dock, something likely to give owners of the Apple ultraportable considerable joy.

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Meanwhile Dell also has a new USB-C 3.0 dongle, complete with full-sized USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, VGA, and ethernet, together with an external power adapter that has both USB outlets for a smartphone and a port for charging a laptop or tablet, too.

Both the Dell Dock and the Dell Thunderbolt Dock will go on sale January 28, priced at $199 and $299 respectively.


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