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Power brick is hidden within, removing clutter

90W to charge your laptop

Supplies a terrific 9.5W for smartphone charging

HDMI 2.1 support


Ethernet is glitchy, and requires a driver



Limited built-in display options

Our Verdict

OWC’s Thunderbolt Dock Go integrates the power brick, and that’s worth something. But this Thunderbolt 4 dock ends up big, bulky, and expensive as a result.

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OWC’s Thunderbolt Go Dock has a unique selling point in its favor: the lack of an external power brick. This helps reduce cable clutter and, in theory, makes it easier to take this Thunderbolt 4 dock on the go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite achieve its promise.

Like laptops, Thunderbolt docks can include fairly sizeable power bricks—often weighing about as much as the dock itself. Yet desktop PCs and some game consoles manage to integrate the power transformer inside the chassis itself, providing a cleaner, more streamlined look.

Note: See our roundup of the best Thunderbolt docks to learn about competing products, what to look for in a Thunderbolt dock, and buying recommendations.

OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock: Features

You can make the case that the OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock combines the best of both worlds: All there is in the box is the 28-inch Thunderbolt 4 cable, the power cable, and the dock itself. If OWC included a small pouch that the items could be kept in, you could make the case that this is a travel dock. Regardless, the lack of additional cabling is a selling point in its favor.

The front of the OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock includes well-labeled ports, including a USB-C port to charge a smartphone.

Mark Hachman / IDG

It’s worth noting that the single HDMI 2.1 port is really unusual—the massive bandwidth it provides technically allows for a single 10K display at 120Hz, which is certainly beyond today’s available hardware.

Additional ports include a legacy 5Gb/s USB-A port, a 10Gb/s USB-C port, an audio jack, and an SD 4.0 UHS-II card slot on the front; on the back, the dock includes the two Thunderbolt 4 ports, the HDMI port, a 2.5Gb/s ethernet port, and a pair of 10Gb/s USB-A ports. The dock delivers 90W of charging power downstream via the Thunderbolt 4 cable, which snakes out from the side of the dock.

OWC’s Thunderbolt Go Dock connected to two 4K displays perfectly; same for a single 4K display and a 1440p widescreen display at 100Hz.

In my experience, the USB-A ports on the rear of the dock accommodated a few random USB keys and other devices, but they’re closely spaced. If you have an oddly shaped promotional dongle, for example, it may not fit. You can use the front-facing port instead.

Despite its “Thunderbolt Dock Go” name, OWC’s dock isn’t small; at 9.5 inches long and 3.6 inches deep, it’s larger than you might expect. It also weighs 2.09 pounds, which is about a pound less than a typical laptop weighs. The aluminum chassis does a great job of dissipating heat, so that the dock never heated up beyond a slightly warm temperature in my tests.

The rear of the OWC Thunderbolt Dock Go. We think that the USB-A ports are spaced a bit too tightly together in some cases, but USB cables should have no problems fitting.

Mark Hachman / IDG

OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock: Performance

Although OWC doesn’t list smartphone charging as a selling point, the dock certainly does generate enough power to fast-charge a smartphone: 9.5W from the front-facing USB-C port, and about 12W if you use one of the rear Thunderbolt ports for the same purpose. Otherwise, the USB-A ports produce about 2.5W, just enough to charge a smartphone over several hours.

OWC’s Thunderbolt Go Dock connected to two 4K displays perfectly; same for a single 4K display and a 1440p widescreen display at 100Hz. OWC’s Thunderbolt Go Dock initially passed our streaming performance tests with flying colors, streaming our 4K60 test video over its integrated ethernet without dropping any frames.

Should you buy the OWC Thunderbolt Go Dock?

The OWC Thunderbolt Dock Go is probably a little too big and heavy to tote along on a business trip, but it is possible. It appears that you’ll need to install a software driver to enable ethernet, however, if and when that driver eventually works. And at a $349 MSRP, you’ll pay for the privilege. We certainly appreciate what OWC set out to do here with the Thunderbolt Dock Go, but its size, price, and driver issue mean that it falls a bit short of an Editor’s Choice award.

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Startech Thunderbolt 4/Usb4 Dock Review: Just Too Expensive


Delivers over 90W of power to laptops

Relatively compact


Way too expensive

Power issues with its external Thunderbolt 4 ports

No dedicated display ports

Our Verdict

StarTech’s Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Docking Station (TB4CDOCK) really works best for the Mac market, with its dependence upon Thunderbolt displays and its tolerance for premium prices.

Best Prices Today: StarTech Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 Docking Station (TB4CDOCK)

We have to draw the line somewhere—and as of the time we reviewed the StarTech Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Docking Station (TB4CDOCK), prices of $415 to a whopping $484 are just too rich for our blood.

StarTech’s Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Docking Station seems tailor-made for the Mac market, which relies heavily on the Thunderbolt 4 standard as both an I/O interface as well as a display interface. There’s no dedicated display interface, just three downstream Thunderbolt 4/ USB 4 ports that can be used to connect to displays, other devices, or to additional docking stations.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing; one of our favorite Thunderbolt 4 docks, the Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station, is a virtual clone of the StarTech TB4CDOCK. But at press time, Kensington’s dock is about $100 less than StarTech’s offering, and we simply must point you to that other dock, instead.

Note: This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best Thunderbolt docks. Go there to learn about competing products, what to look for in a Thunderbolt dock, and buying recommendations.

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Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

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On the front of the StarTech TB4CDOCK is the Thunderbolt 4 host port, which supplies 96W down to a connected laptop—more than most. Next to it is a USB-A port, and a USB 2.0 port at that. Really, that port isn’t good for much more than charging a smartphone, as it supplies 1.5A (7.5W) for a phone. As a USB 2.0 port, though, it can only transfer 480Mbits per second, more suited for mice, keyboards, and peripherals that don’t require much data, like a printer. There’s also a 3.5mm mic/speaker jack and an SD card slot rated at SD 4.0/UHS-II, which transfers data at a somewhat anemic 312Mbps.

The Thunderbolt 4 cable stretching from the dock to the host computer measures 2.6 feet, which is sufficient.

Mark Hachman / IDG

On the back of the dock, StarTech includes three USB4/TB4 ports, a gigabit ethernet port, and three USB-A ports capable of transferring 10Gbps. A pair of Kensington docks (one standard, one mini) can be found on the side.

If you don’t own a Thunderbolt display or even a USB-C display, you may be puzzled at how to connect the dock to an existing monitor. For that, you’ll need to buy an additional cable like this one, with a USB-C connector on one end and an HDMI connection on the other. Be wary, though, as you’ll probably want to buy a cable rated for 4K@60Hz capabilities. You can use a cheaper, lesser cable, however, if you want to connect to a 1080p display or a 4K display at 30Hz. But shelling out any additional money might not be an attractive solution.

The rear of StarTech’s Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Docking Station.

Mark Hachman / IDG

The dock’s aluminum and plastic construction feels sturdy enough, and the dock stayed cool throughout our testing. It measures 7.6 x 3.3 x 1.1 inches, a nice thin wedge for your desk.

The front port delivered 6.63W, out of a rated 7.5W of power. The dock also delivered over 90W to the laptop. But the other Thunderbolt ports delivered about a third of the power they should have, preventing the dock from recognizing an external SSD. Otherwise, the dock performed well, transferring data at rated speeds. During our video test, where we stream a 4K60 video from YouTube, the dock dropped just a handful of frames.

The power shortfall on the Thunderbolt ports is worrying, and we’d shy away from this dock for that reason. But the overall price itself doesn’t justify a purchase.

Hyperdrive Gen2 Thunderbolt 3 Usb


16 ports

High performance

Compact design


Just one USB-C port

Our Verdict

The HyperDrive Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock has – count ’em – 16 high-spec ports and is compatible with both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 computers, making it a great choice in environments that have both.

The HyperDrive Gen2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock brings some of the benefits of a Thunderbolt 3 (TB3) dock to the world of USB-C laptops.

Two of the best Thunderbolt 3 docking stations are CalDigit’s TS3 Plus and Anker’s PowerExpand Elite. Both have a ton of ports in compact, good-looking cases.

The HyperDrive Gen2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock joins the pack but with an ace up its sleeve: it’s compatible with both Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops.

USB-C might look just like its faster sibling, Thunderbolt 3, but it’s not just speed and data bandwidth that sets the two connectors apart.

Docks using Titan Ridge are compatible with both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3. There are other Titan Ridge docking stations available, but this one has the most ports at the highest performance levels.

Thunderbolt 3 has been superseded by Thunderbolt 4, but the differences won’t bother most users, although there’s more to gain for Windows users whose TB3 experience was not as sophisticated as for the Mac. Smarter device daisy-chaining and improved PCIe speeds are the two major differences; see Thunderbolt 3 vs Thunderbolt 4 for more details. While there are Thunderbolt 4 docking stations available, you shouldn’t write off excellent TB3 docks such as the Hyperdrive.

HyperDrive GEN2 Dock features

One Thunderbolt 3 upstream port (40Gbps, 85W)

One Thunderbolt 3 downstream port (40Gbps, 15W)

Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)

DisplayPort 1.4 port

Two USB-A ports (10Gbps, 4.5W)

Three USB-A ports (5Gbps, 4.5W)

One USB-A (QC 3.0) port (36W)

One USB-C port (10Gbps, 7.5W)

SD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)

microSD Card Reader (SD 4.0 UHS-II)

Gigabit Ethernet port

Front-facing 3.5mm combo Audio In/Out port

One Digital Optical Toslink Audio (S/PDIF) port

One Digital Coaxial Audio (S/PDIF) port

180W power supply

That’s 16 ports, several at a higher spec than the CalDigit TS3 Plus and the Anker PowerExpand Elite. Check out our roundups of the best USB-C docks and Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 docking stations.

For example, two of its USB-A ports support 10Gbps bandwidth. The other two docks’ max USB-A bandwidth clocks in at 5Gbps, although they both feature two rather than one USB-C port.

Supporting DisplayPort 1.4, the HyperDrive can run an 8K display (at 30Hz), which is not possible using the TS3 Plus’ DisplayPort 1.2 or the Anker’s HDMI 2.0.

It also features two types of high-quality digital audio, alongside a standard 3.5mm jack combination in/out audio port on the front for your headphones or microphone, as well as two of the fast USB-A ports and the singular USB-C port.

Also on the front, is a Quick Charge 3.0 18W charging USB-A port, and both a microSD card and SD card reader, both at 312MB/s UHS-II speed.

Dock external display options

Aside from the high-end 8K video output option, the HyperDrive Dock can support two external 4K displays at high-quality 60Hz, using its DisplayPort and one of the T3 ports (requiring an adapter).

Windows PCs can even run three external displays off the dock, although sadly not Macs, which don’t support MST (Multi-Stream Transport).

There are numerous display combinations, including a dual setup of an 8K and a 4K display, both at 30Hz, or one single 5K display at 60Hz.

Design and build

The HyperDrive Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock certainly mimics the CalDigit TS3 Plus and Anker PowerExpand Elite with its compact aluminium looks, not to mention support for both vertical or horizontal placement.

Of the three, we prefer the design of the Anker dock, as it has a handy on/off switch, so you can toggle the power at the press of a button. But there’s really very little between them when it comes to design, and we like all three.

Price and availability

At the time of writing, the HyperDrive T3 USB-C Dock is only available from the Hyper Shop, although it is expected to hit Amazon shortly.

This does mean that you should expect delivery charges outside of the US, and it will take longer to reach you than via Amazon, where you can buy the other two docks mentioned here.

Taking into consideration shipping charges, the HyperDrive comes in at £255 or US$299.

In comparison, the TS3 Plus retains its crown – despite the now older, slower connections – due to its availability at £229 or $249 from Apple.

The Anker PowerExpand Elite costs £299 or $309 but is a closer match on speedy ports than the TS3 Plus.

When the HyperDrive becomes available outside of a direct-from-vendor sale, it might ship quicker and for less.


The HyperDrive Gen2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock has – count ’em – 16 high-spec ports and is compatible with both USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 computers, making it a great choice in environments that have both.

The design is great, if a little derivative. There are cheaper alternatives but none with such top-performance ports in numbers as the HyperDrive.

Related stories for further reading Specs HyperDrive GEN2 Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Specs

Compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops

Acer Timelineultra M5 Review: Big Screen, Few Pixels

We should instead call the TimelineUltra M5 what it is: a very good-looking 15.6-inch ultraportable laptop with a discrete graphics card.

Our review model, priced at $829 as of July 23, 2012, has excellent specs considering its svelte form. It packs a third-generation, Ivy Bridge-based Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 6GB of RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card. The M5 also has a 500GB hard-disk drive alongside a 20GB solid-state drive, which uses Intel’s Rapid Response SSD caching technology to boot up and resume from hibernate quickly. The M5 runs a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Home Premium.


On PCWorld Labs’ WorldBench 7 benchmark tests, the TimelineUltra M5 earned a mark of 104 –not a bad score, but far below the category leader, which happens to be the M5’s predecessor, the Acer TimelineUltra M3. Though the M3 carries a second-generation SandyBridge-based Intel processor, the CPU is a more powerful i7, not an i5; and the M3 rode it to a much better WorldBench 7 score of 155.

The M5 lacks the M3’s i7 processor, but it has the same Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics card, and it performed well on our graphics and gaming measures. In our graphics tests, the M5 managed excellent frame rates ranging from 39.9 frames per second in Crysis 2 (at high quality settings and 1366-by-768-pixel resolution) to 114.7 fps in Dirt 3 (at low quality settings and 800-by-600-pixel resolution). In short, the M5 is among the few ultraportables that should have no problem handling the vast majority of your gaming and graphical needs.

The M5’s battery life is very good, too, considering the laptop’s screen size. In our tests the battery held out for 7 hours, 24 minutes–about 40 minutes less than the battery life we recorded for the M3.

Design: Chassis, Keyboard, Trackpad

Though the M5 fits Intel’s broad technical specifications for an Ultrabook–it has an Intel processor, is less than 21mm thick, and resumes quickly from hibernation–it is nothing like the tantalizing slivers of the first wave of Ultrabooks.

The M5 looks exactly like its immediate predecessor (the M3), and it’s housed in a slim, dark silver, brushed aluminum chassis. The cover is simple, with a small raised metal Acer logo in the center, and the screen is slim and sturdy on its hinges. The interior features graceful lines with a wide wrist-rest area, a full-size keyboard, a full-size 10-key number pad, and a large off-center trackpad.

Like the M3, the M5 has all of its key ports located in the rear: three USB ports (two 3.0, one 2.0), an ethernet jack, an HDMI-out port, and a Kensington lock slot. The left side of the machine is reserved for the M5’s tray-loading DVD drive, and the right side of the machine sports an SD Card slot and a combination headphone/microphone jack. The power button is located on the front of the machine.

Screen and Speakers

The biggest draw–and regrettably, the biggest disappointment–of the TimelineUltra M5 is its 15.6-inch screen. The M5’s big display has a native resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels–the same resolution you’ll see on much smaller computers, such as the 11-inch MacBook Air. On such a large display, that resolution leaves individual pixels easily visible and makes text and other lines look a little fuzzy. I’m not sure why Acer decided to keep the resolution so low, especially given the processor upgrade and the nice graphics card.

Once you gt past its low resolution, the screen looks pretty good. Colors seemed accurate, though a bit washed out at times (especially at higher brightness settings), and off-axis viewing angles were solid. Video looked and sounded fine on the M5, with virtually no artifacting or noise, even in darker, action-packed scenes.

The TimelineUltra M5’s audio was especially impressive, managing to sound both loud and full-bodied at the highest volume setting.

Bottom Line

The TimelineUltra M5 runs on a newer but weaker processor than the M3 used, and Acer pulled the older model’s speedy 256GB SSD in favor of a 500GB HDD with a 20GB SSD boot drive. The result is slower overall performance, which is reflected in the 50-point difference in the systems’ WB7 scores.

Another disappointment: Acer shortchanged the TimelineUltra M5’s 15.6-inch screen with 1366-by-768-pixel resolution–a huge letdown on a system with nice graphics performance.

The only real upgrades are in the ports, and those aren’t great. You now get two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0 port (the M3 had one USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports), and the headphone/microphone jack is now located on the right side of the machine (the M3’s jack was located, inconveniently, on the rear). But these minor port upgrades aren’t enough to justify calling the M5 a winner.

Smartphone Screens: How Big Is Too Big?

Smartphone Screens: How Big is Too Big?

I head up the Consumer Devices group at Current Analysis, where we have two complementary products: data – we track product pricing, availability, and specs – and analysis – our assessment on how competitive various products and initiatives are. I recently had a client ask a question that crossed both: how many smartphones today have super-sized screens, and how big is too big? (I warned them that the answer would make a great SlashGear column.)

The data answer is simple: 13% of the smartphones at the four national carriers in the U.S. have screens 4″ or larger.

The analytical answer is a bit more complicated.

When discussing screen sizes, I don’t think you can ignore the elephant in the room – Apple – which limits its product line and does a lot of thinking and experimenting before launching anything. Apple believes that 3.5″ is the perfect screen size, and they’ve sold over 100 million iPhones with that screen size, so it’s hard to argue that they’re widely off the mark. But I will say that as long as you keep the dimensions small with minimal bezel and a thin case I think you can comfortably go to 3.7″ without any negative impact on holdability whatsoever. If you asked me what the ideal screen would be, a high pixel density 3.7″ display would be it.

Screen sizes of 4″ – 4.3″ push the limit of what is comfortable to hold — and cross that line for many consumers. While this size is too big for some users, it does appeal to people looking for the biggest possible screen. There can also be retail marketing benefits to this screen size: these devices stand out on the shelf, and poorly trained retail sales staff often gravitate to them as hero devices (even if smaller screened devices are more technically sophisticated).

With this size display, case thickness and tapering matter as much as the display size itself: HTC’s 4.3″ Thunderbolt and Samsung’s 4″ EPIC 4G (which has a sliding QWERTY) are both bulky, while the 4″ Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 is quite manageable.

Above 4.3″ is too big. I have seen a phone with a 4.5″ display in an exceptionally thin case that almost works, and the retail marketing bump it will get is probably significant. However, its size excludes half the population (how many woman will want to carry a phone that large?) so I would consider it a niche size at best.

The 5″ devices I’ve used are not only too big, they are also too small. Once you get beyond the 4 – 4.25″ size, the promise is that you’ll get a better browsing experience. But browsing doesn’t really get better until you hit at least 7″, and you need to get to 9″ before you can comfortably see a whole page without scrolling (or squinting) in portrait orientation.

Devices with a 5″ display are not just uncomfortable to hold to your face as a phone, they make you look a bit ridiculous when doing it. However, 5″ does offer a significantly better media and navigation experience than 4″, so dedicated GPS devices with 5″ screens make a lot of sense. For example, Samsung’s 5″ Galaxy Player (which I played with recently) could make a lot of sense if Samsung makes it easy to get movies and TV on the device.


How To Permanently Stop Dock Icons From Bouncing

The Dock is an easy way to get access to the apps and utilities available on your Mac. It’s dynamic and interactive, meaning if an app wants to grab your attention, it can bounce itself to attract your eye. This works fine for some apps, but you don’t want every app to keep on bouncing and distracting you from what you’re doing.

Fortunately, you can stop icons bouncing in the Dock on your Mac, including a permanent method that helps you get rid of this annoying behavior. But there are actually multiple ways to prevent the Dock icons from bouncing.

Table of Contents

Also, be sure to check out our YouTube channel from our sister site where we go through the same steps mentioned below in a short video.

Stop Icons Bouncing in Dock Using System Preferences

One of the easiest ways to save yourself from the constant distraction of the bouncing Dock icons is to disable the icon bounce option in the System Preferences pane on your Mac. Once it’s disabled, your icons will no longer animate.

On the following screen, you’ll find several options that let you customize the behavior of your Dock. You need to find the option that says Animate opening applications and untick it. This will disable the feature.

The Dock will relaunch and your app icons will no longer bounce.

Stop Icons Bouncing in Dock On Mac Using The Terminal

Some apps do not follow the directions given by your Mac and they still bounce regardless of the changes you made to your Mac.

If disabling the animation feature didn’t do the job for you and your app icons continue to harass you, you might want to kill them permanently. There’s a Terminal command that will let you do it.

Once the command is executed, the icons will be back to action.

Get Rid Of Bouncing Dock Icons From Your Sight

One of the reasons why you notice that your Dock icons are bouncing is because they’re large enough to be in your sight. If you could somehow change their icon size, you wouldn’t see them.

Your Mac allows you to set a custom size for your Dock icons and you can reduce the size of the icons so they no longer annoy you.

Use System Preferences To Reduce The Dock Icon Size

This method lets you reduce the size but only to a minimum size allowed. For more flexibility, go for the second method below.

The changes are instant and you can see them by hovering over the bottom part of your Mac’s screen. To reverse the effect, simply drag the slider to the right and it’ll increase the size of your icons.

Use The Terminal To Reduce Dock Icon Size

Terminal can decrease the size of your icons up to 1px so they’re hardly visible.

If you ever want to bring the icons back to their original size, replace 1 with 64 in the above command and execute it.

Hide The Dock On Your Mac

The Dock isn’t something unique and many of its features can be accessed by other tools as well on your Mac. For example, you can use Launchpad to access your apps instead of the Dock, and so on. 

In that case, you can hide the Dock and it’ll help you get rid of the bouncing Dock icons.

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