lenovo Thinkpad USB 3.0 dock Review

Introduction

After waiting over a year for Henge Docks to release their horizontal dock for the Retina MacBook Pro, I finally gave up on the wait and searched for an alternative.

From my research, there were two types of alternative docks; thunderbolt-based (very pricey), and USB3.0-based (reasonably priced). The other fruit from my research was, all USB3.0-based docks seem to run on the same chipset (DisplayLink) and thus provide the same functionality. The only differentiation between them were manufacturer brand, design, and price.

I picked the lenovo dock purely because there was an eBay seller, selling them for half-price when I was looking (this was back in mid-2014).

Summary of Experience

Something to be aware of is the poor graphics performance. I have not tried it out myself, however, have read quite a few forum posts about it. The main purpose of purchasing the dock was to increase the number of USB-ports and not having to unplug and re-plug my mouse, keyboard, etc. whenever I want to go mobile.

Even though USB3.0 theoretically have a throughput of upto 5Gbit/s, I found the single USB3.0 upstream cable to be very slow and laggy. It was so bad, I could not plug two external portable USB hard drives (USB-powered) to it and transfer between them.

This slowness was not limited to only file transfers, it affected pretty much everything connected to the dock; mouse, keyboard, even devices connected to the Ethernet port.

If the slow speed was not enough, for some strange reason, it cannot handle having all the USB-ports used at the same time. My device overloaded and burnt out. Now the front two USB-ports are completely useless. Thankfully, it did not fry the devices connected to it at the time.

The dock now just acts as a USB-charging station for my various devices.

Recommendation

This is one of my not-so-good buys. Therefore, my recommendation is to pay a bit more and get a Thunderbolt-based dock. To be more specific, look for a Thunderbolt-2-based dock, they’re like the same/similar pricing, but double the bandwidth and a bit more future-proof.

Product Photos

Figure 1. First-look inside packaging.
Figure 2. Dock and other contents inside packaging.
Figure 3. Dock sitting flat on top of 15-inch Macbook Pro.

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