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Lenovo's $280 ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock adds full-size USB, HDMI, more to new MacBook Pro

Lenovo this week announced the ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock, offering owners of Apple's new MacBook Pro a high number of legacy connectivity options, providing ports that were axed in the switch to all USB-C.




A single Thunderbolt 3 USB-C connection between the Lenovo ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock and a MacBook Pro provides up to 40Gbps full duplex bandwidth, allowing users to fully utilize as many of the ports on the device as they wish. At the same time, the USB-C cable is able to feed the notebook up to 65 watts for charging, suitable for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, with the dock itself using a 135-watt AC adapter able to deliver up to 100 watts of power to connected devices with a lower drain.

For displays, the dock is capable of natively supporting two DisplayPort 1.2 streams, both at up to ultra-high definition 4K resolution at 60Hz. There is also the potential to run up to three 4K displays through the dock, using both DisplayPort connections and the Thunderbolt 3 port, though in this case only the Thunderbolt 3-connected display will be at 60Hz while the others will run at lower refresh rates.

The remaining display-related connections include a HDMI port and legacy VGA connector, aimed at business customers with older displays.




Users with large numbers of accessories will be able to use the dock's five USB 3.0 type A ports, one of which will always have power. A headset jack is also offered, as well as network connectivity through a Gigabit Ethernet port.

Shipping in February, the ThinkPad Thunderbolt 3 Dock will cost $279.99. Lenovo has confirmed that it is compatible with the MacBook Pro, and not blocked by Apple like some previous peripherals have been.

Lenovo's dock will be coming to market at the same time as another offering from OWC, with its own Thunderbolt 3 Dock offering six USB connections, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a mini DisplayPort socket, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, and an SD card reader for a similar price at pre-order.

In October, Belkin revealed the ThunderBolt 3 Express Dock HD, including two Thunderbolt 3 ports, 3 USB 3.0 ports, one DisplayPort, two audio jacks, and Gigabit Ethernet. Belkin declined to announce a release date or price at the time, though it is thought to be more expensive than the Lenovo or OWC offerings.