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CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review

Back again, CalDigit adds to their impressive Thunderbolt Docking lineup!

Published Tue, Sep 11 2018 10:00 AM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:57 PM CST
Rating: 93%Manufacturer: CalDigit
CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 99 | TweakTown.com

It seems every spring since 2014; I've have had a Thunderbolt Station from CalDigit on my desk. Today is no different as we take a look at the latest solution CalDigit has put together.

Every year CalDigit comes back adding new technology to their docking solution while removing some of the more dated connectivity. With the latest model, CalDigit has updated the standard TS3 enclosure, removing eSATA connectivity adding in its place three more USB 3.0 ports bringing the new total to five. Additionally to this, CalDigit is the first I know of to throw a Gen 2 USB-C port on a docking station along with an SD 4.0 slot on the front and Optical Audio on the back.

Compatibility includes both Windows and macOS platforms with an available Thunderbolt 3 port. MSRP of the CalDigit TS3 Plus+ comes in at $249.99 with a one-year warranty. However, the warranty can be extended to two years for free by purchasing your TS3 Plus direct from CalDigit.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 02 | TweakTown.com

The box houses a good bit of info on the left including support for 5K60p monitor or dual 4k60p solutions. We also see 85w charging over Thunderbolt 3 with this device, seven USB ports, and the UHS-II capable SD 4.0 slot.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 03 | TweakTown.com

The back goes into more detail with a full specification list and port diagram above.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 04 | TweakTown.com

Included with the TS3 Plus, we have the power brick at 20v 9a for 180W of power output, a Thunderbolt 3 cable, and the docking station.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 05 | TweakTown.com

The front houses CalDigit branding on the left and following that to the right we have a small blue LED indicating power, SD 4.0 port, audio, and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 06 | TweakTown.com

The back has changed slightly from the OG TS3. Left to right, we have ethernet optical audio and the Gen 2 USB-C port. This is followed by four USB 3.0 ports, and along the bottom power input, DisplayPort and Thunderbolt 3.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 11 | TweakTown.com

Above, I have the raw performance numbers from each interface on the TS3 Plus. As you can see the Gen 2 USB-C found on the back performed quite well reaching 756 MB/s read and 695 Mb/s write. Both the front and rear USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports performed as expected and the UHS-II slot was able to hit around 250/250.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 12 | TweakTown.com

Above, I used our real-world data test with a 15GB batch of mixed video, music and photos. I ran it through each interface with a SanDisk Extreme 900 and SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II card.

CalDigit Thunderbolt Station 3 Plus Review 13 | TweakTown.com

Last, we have the throughput numbers for the onboard gigabit ethernet. The TS3 Plus did great pulling in 942Mbps.

CalDigit has done a remarkable job over the past four years pulling in the best technologies and putting it into their Thunderbolt Station lineup. With this latest solution, the TS3 Plus, I'm not sure they can make it any better. The build quality is fantastic with the aluminum construction on point and the small form factor of this device blends with ease into your desktop.

As with past solutions, performance was top notch with each interface reaching the full potential of the device connected. In my testing, the USB 3.0 ports topped out around 350 MB/s with the Extreme 900 and gen2 USB-C peaked near 750 MB/s read 650 MB/s write. The UHS-II slot is a must have for any creative professional and hit 250 MB/s read and write with ease and the gigabit ethernet cut no corners topping out at 942Mbps.

On top of these things, the TS3 Plus can handle dual 4K monitors at 60p and if we add in the MSRP sitting at $249.99 as of this writing, this is simply the best Thunderbolt dock to ever come through the lab at TweakTown.

Tyler's Test System Specifications

TweakTown award

The Bottom Line: Every year CalDigit raises the bar and the market follows, with the TS3 Plus they might have outdone themselves with insane connectivity options making this solution the best docking solution Ive ever seen.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

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DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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