Belkin shows off Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD, no update on availability

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Announced in October, Belkin's Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD made an appearance at CES 2017 on Tuesday, but the company has yet to set a release date and price point for the hotly anticipated device.

Seen amongst a pile of wireless routers and WeMo home automation devices — and a sprinkling of Christmas lights — the Thunderbolt 3 Express Dock HD appeared to be a functional model, though its USB-C connector, headphone jack, ethernet and other ports were not plugged into a host computer. Whether or not the dock was in working order is unclear.

On aesthetics alone, the dock is an impressively stark product that would look at home next to Apple's new MacBook Pro series. With a compact, svelte aluminum design and clean front facia, the user sees only a USB 3.0 type A port, audio in/out jack and single LED status light out front.

On the back are two Thunderbolt 3 ports, two additional USB 3.0 ports with 1.5 amps of charging power, a DisplayPort, one 3.5mm audio out jack and a Gigabit Ethernet port. An external 170W power adapter connects through a dedicated socket and serves up enough juice to power peripherals and deliver 85 watts of power to a MacBook connected via Thunderbolt 3.

Along with external hard drives, audio equipment and other accessories, the updated Express Dock HD can support dual 4K displays or one 5K display over a single Thunderbolt 3 cable.

Unveiled last year, Belkin's dock promises to greatly expand the new Thunderbolt 3-only MacBook Pro's I/O options, a feature some users view as a deficiency.

While the unit on display today appeared to be a prototype, Belkin had no new information regarding pricing or availability.

When it does see release, the new Express Dock HD will face stiff competition from the likes of Lenovo and OWC, which earlier today announced its own — distinctly ThinkPad — Thunderbolt 3 docking station ahead of wide release in February. The Lenovo version comes well equipped for $280, with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, five USB 3.0 type A ports, two DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, an HDMI port, audio jack and legacy VGA connector. However, the black brick is only able to provide 64 watts of charging power, good enough for a 13-inch MacBook Pro.