After a slight delay from its expected release date in September 2012, Belkin's Thunderbolt Express Dock is now available, at a price of $300. Such docking stations have become popular with the advent of Thunderbolt ports in Apple Macs.
Like other Thunderbolt docks, the Express Dock has a number of different I/O ports to enhance your Mac's connectivity options, with three USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, a FireWire 800 port, 3.5mm audio in and out, and two Thunderbolt ports.
In its initial press releases, Belkin suggested the Express Dock would include an eSATA connection; however, this has been removed from the final version and replaced with the second Thunderbolt port to allow daisy-chaining of additional Thunderbolt devices.
The second Thunderbolt port offers a distinct difference from competing devices like the Matrox DS1. While the DS1 was the first to market, it requires you to pick your video adapter type from either HDMI, VGA, or DVI connections, and since it has only one Thunderbolt port it is required to be the last device on any Thunderbolt daisy chain.
In contrast, the dual Thunderbolt ports on the Express Dock will allow more configuration options, including the use of any display type that can be connected to a Thunderbolt bus via adapters or with a native Mini DisplayPort connection.
Another such dock on the market is the Sonnet Echo 15, which offers numerous I/O options along with optical and internal drive bays.
As with other Thunderbolt devices, a Thunderbolt cable will be required and must be purchased separately for around $40 to $50, though Apple recently announced a 0.5-meter Thunderbolt cable for $30.