HP Thunderbolt Dock G2 First Impressions

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.

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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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Conversation 20 comments

  • pachi

    25 October, 2018 - 1:23 pm

    <p>Possibly you are able to test it with multiple machines? </p><p><br></p><p> I have an hp zook g3 that I’m using as my primary machine for the next year or so and I’ve had nothing but problems with docks I’ve tried. Not sure if it’s the docks or the laptop itself and so many reviews for these mention less than adequate docks and issues abound. </p><p><br></p><p><br></p>

    • waethorn

      25 October, 2018 - 2:42 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356531">In reply to pachi:</a></em></blockquote><p>The system has to have Thunderbolt 3. If it does, this should work fine, HOWEVER, you absolutely must install HP's drivers for all of the functionality to work. If you have HP Support Assistant installed (the only worthwhile PC utility for HP systems), run a check for updates after connecting it and it'll grab the drivers and any firmware updates for the unit (as well as for your PC if you haven't used that software). </p><p><br></p><p>HP systems without Thunderbolt 3, but with a standard docking port (like the ProBook 600 series) are better suited to one of HP's standard docks.</p>

      • pachi

        25 October, 2018 - 2:56 pm

        <blockquote><em><a href="#356566">In reply to Waethorn:</a></em></blockquote><p>Last time I installed all the updated drivers via whatever HP software I had big enough problems that I had to hard reset the w10 install. Right now it works decently with only some glitches and I’m just leaving it!</p><p><br></p><p>not overly impressed on that side of things!!! </p>

  • dspeterson

    Premium Member
    25 October, 2018 - 1:31 pm

    <p>I hope this is more reliable than Lenovos version, we have had nothing but problems there!</p>

    • Jaxidian

      25 October, 2018 - 3:23 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356534">In reply to dspeterson:</a></em></blockquote><p>Hope it's better than Dell's as well. I effectively have a $200 TB3 brick.</p>

      • epsjrno

        Premium Member
        26 October, 2018 - 11:41 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#356584">In reply to Jaxidian:</a></em></blockquote><p>Which dock do you have? I am about to look at some docks for a couple XPS 15s.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      26 October, 2018 - 3:29 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356534">In reply to dspeterson:</a></em></blockquote><p>What problems are you encountering? We have a couple of them in use and I haven't had any problems so far… They have been 100% reliable (Lenovo ThinPad T480 and ThinkPad Yoga + Lenovo TB3 dock).</p>

      • Polycrastinator

        26 October, 2018 - 9:21 am

        <blockquote><em><a href="#356694">In reply to wright_is:</a></em></blockquote><p>I've seen inconsistencies here: mine works flawlessly, but a colleague 10 feet away has needed to replace his twice due to inconsistent connection issues. Lenovo sent just the dock for each replacement cycle, and we're having them send over replacement power bricks in case that's the root of the issue, but we've definitely had mixed luck with these things.</p>

        • wright_is

          Premium Member
          29 October, 2018 - 7:35 am

          <blockquote><em><a href="#356784">In reply to Polycrastinator:</a></em></blockquote><p>Sounds like we were lucky then…</p>

  • matsan

    Premium Member
    25 October, 2018 - 2:27 pm

    <p>I'd pick DisplayPort over HDMI any day just to get 60Hz refresh and glad to see it's HP's port of choice. </p><p>I wonder if this will work with a MacBook Pro…?</p>

    • jimchamplin

      Premium Member
      25 October, 2018 - 9:17 pm

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356565">In reply to matsan:</a></em></blockquote><p>Can’t see why not!</p>

  • lvthunder

    Premium Member
    25 October, 2018 - 2:42 pm

    <p>Wow that's expensive.</p>

    • wright_is

      Premium Member
      26 October, 2018 - 3:27 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356567">In reply to lvthunder:</a></em></blockquote><p>It is in the normal range for such a dock. The Lenovo Thundebolt dock is also in the same price range.</p><p>It is the Thunderbolt that makes it expensive. My Lenovo TB dock has a half meter cable, which is a bit too short, but a 1M cable is around 50€ on its own.</p>

  • madthinus

    Premium Member
    25 October, 2018 - 3:17 pm

    <p>&lt;Sarcasm Start&gt; </p><p><br></p><p>So this will be great for Surface Pro and Surface Laptop….<img draggable="false" class="emoji" alt="?" src="https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/11/svg/1f608.svg"&gt; </p><p><br></p><p>&lt;Sarcasm End&gt;</p>

    • Polycrastinator

      26 October, 2018 - 9:18 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#356581">In reply to madthinus:</a></em></blockquote><p>At least with USB-C support it will connect to a Surface Go. ?</p>

  • aussiedan

    25 October, 2018 - 7:03 pm

    <p>I have one of these (230W) with the combo cable and a HP ZBook Studio 15 G5. Can't make it work with two 27 inch 4K Dell screens. HP Support doesn't know how either…</p><p>All drivers etc are up-to-date.</p><p>It does work when only one screen is connected via the dock and using a HDMI cable directly from the computer to the other screen. But why have a dock when I have to use multiple cables anyways. </p>

  • mrdrwest

    26 October, 2018 - 11:32 am

    <p>How about a Thunderbolt 2/3 drive review? I have an old HP laptop with a Thunderbolt 2 port, but am concerned about it working. I need an external drive and would like to give Thunderbolt 2 a try.</p>

  • shmuelie

    Premium Member
    26 October, 2018 - 4:58 pm

    <p>I wonder if I could convince work to get us these ?</p>

  • ansh16

    30 October, 2018 - 12:04 pm

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  • Anlong08

    Premium Member
    21 November, 2018 - 11:12 am

    <p>I got one of these last week. Works great with a Macbook pro (stupid touch bar one), though I've only tested with one display. Strangely a 13' Inspiron with USB-C (non-thunderbolt) works with this dock. I assume in display port alternative mode?</p><p><br></p><p>Not so great with a Dell XPS 9550. </p><p>On the Dell; it charges, does the USB bits, passes audio from the headphone jack, but no video. After some digging it seems that this generation of XPS (early 2016) supports Thunderbolt 3 with an *. It never shows up in the Thunderbolt device list. More oddly, a Sonnett dual HDMI adapter works just fine. At least I'm down to just 2 cables now. Not a dig on the dock, totally a dig on Dell.</p><p><br></p><p>Anyway, this seems like a nice combination of dual displays, charge capacity, with a $250 price point.</p>

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