Talking tech since 2003

We’ve talked before about using a docking station with your laptop as a way to simplify your setup while sitting at your desk. In my recent OWC Thunderbolt 3 Dock review one of the things I discussed is how it adds an additional 13 ports to your MacBook Pro, making it much more versatile. This time I’ll be reviewing a competitors product, the IOGear Thunderbolt 3 dock.

The basics

The IOGear Thunderbolt 3 dock is a well-built device that adds an additional 9 ports to your laptop and can connect to your computer via a single Thunderbolt 3 cable. It comes with a single Thunderbolt 3 cable as well as a power cable. The dock offers two Thunderbolt 3 ports which operate at maximum transfer speeds of 40Gb/s (that’s 8x faster than USB 3.0). The other seven ports are: 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x USB-C port (USB 3.1 Gen1), 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A port, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Port, 1 x 3.5mm audio input, and 1 x 3.5mm audio output.

IOGear Thunderbolt 3 dock basics.

The features

Like the OWC dock, IOGear’s supports dual 4K displays or a single 5K display and you can use one of the Thunderbolt 3 ports to daisy chain up to 5 devices such as external drives. I had it powering my 5K LG UltraFine display during my tests. The only port the IOGear has that the OWC dock doesn’t is a single DisplayPort capable of handling a 4K display at 60Hz. Another nice thing about the IOGear dock is that it has an USB-C port on the front alongside a standard USB port, something I wish the OWC dock did as well, especially as more USB-C devices come into existence.

You can get an idea of the type of configuration that can be setup using this dock from the graphic below:

The verdict

Truth be told, this device works fine for what it is, the problem is its price. The IOGear Thunderbolt 3 dock retails for $299 which is also the same price as the OWC Thunderbolt 3 dock and for that much money you’re better off getting the OWC dock which offers more legacy ports and versatility. I just have a hard time recommending a very similar product that does much less but costs the same — if it was selling for $200-$250, then yes, I’d say it’s a good buy for those on a tighter budget.

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