HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 First Impressions

Posted on October 25, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware with 20 Comments

The EliteBook 1030 G3 isn’t the only new HP hardware that arrived today: The firm also sent its stunning new Thunderbolt 3 Dock along for testing.

And this one looks impressive.

Priced at $240 to $375, depending on configuration—it can be had with in 120- and 230-watt variants and with or without an optional audio module—HP’s second-generation Thunderbolt Dock cuts an impressive figure. Where the original unit was a bland gray rectangle, this one looks like a miniature black PC, and it’s both attractive and festooned with connectivity.

The new design isn’t just for looks: One of the issues with the first-generation unit was that it was too light, and too easy to move it inadvertently across the desk. So the G2 Dock is a little tank: It’s tall and (appropriately) weighty.

Inside, the new Thunderbolt Dock also benefits from some ongoing improvements from Intel. So where G1 supported only Thunderbolt 3 connectivity and then inconsistently, the new also supports (non-Thunderbolt 3) USB-C PCs as well.

On the front of the unit, you’ll find a hardwired USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 cable for connecting the Dock to your PC, plus a single USB-C port.

On the side, you’ll find a headphone jack, a single full-sized USB 3 port, and a Kensington security slot for easy access.

But the real action is on the back.

Here, you’ll find two full-sized USB 3 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, VGA-out, one USB-C port, one USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 port, and two full-sized DisplayPorts. Yes, it can drive two 4K displays at once. (The power port is also on the back.)

What’s missing, of course, is HDMI. But HP tells me this is by design. The Thunderbolt Dock is aimed at its corporate customers, and most of the business-class displays it sells to this market utilize DisplayPort. A future version of the Dock will add HDMI, but those who need that now can use an adapter.

My review unit has the optional audio module pre-attached to the top of the unit. This user-installable option provides a speaker and a microphone for audio conferencing.

I’m eager to test the HP Thunderbolt Dock, and I will use it with the EliteBook G3 as a desktop replacement starting this week.

More soon.

 

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