CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 MiniDocks review

CalDigit’s Thunderbolt docks offer good value for money, but they’re all mains powered. The new MiniDock is powered by the Thunderbolt 3 bus of your computer, offers dual 4K monitor support, at least one USB 3.0 (5Gbps) port and a Gigabit Ethernet interface. It comes in two versions: with two DisplayPort 1.2 (4096x2160px) or two HDMI 2.0 ports (3840x2160px).

The CalDigit Thunderbolt 3 MiniDock is Mac and PC compatible and doesn’t require any drivers. It’s a small box with tethered Thunderbolt 3 cable in an aluminium enclosure. The MiniDock doesn’t get hot, despite being bus-powered.

The main purpose of the MiniDock is to deliver ports your Thunderbolt 3 laptop may lack. The ports that are included especially appeal to creative users.

CalDigit chose to put the Thunderbolt 3 performance to good use for users who want to run two displays. And thanks to Thunderbolt 3’s high throughput speed of 40Gbps you can hook up no less than two 4K monitors at 60fps to the MiniDock. On the dual DisplayPort version, you get one USB 3.0 port and Gigabit Ethernet interface. The DisplayPort ports are too wide to accommodate yet another port, which is not a problem on the HDMI 2.0 version where you get a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port next to the Ethernet port.

It seems odd there aren’t two USB 3.0 interfaces. Even at 5Gbps it’s faster than USB 2.0, but CalDigit may have decided against it because USB 3.0 may be more power hungry and is probably running hotter too. The good news is that the USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports provide 4.5W and 2.5W respectively, which allows you to power a GoPro camera or even an external disk.

The HDMI version sells for $109.99, the DisplayPort model for $99.99.

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