HyperDrive GEN2 Thunderbolt 3 Dock full review

The HyperDrive Gen2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock brings some of the benefits of a T3 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.

Now, 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.

While a Thunderbolt 3 laptop can connect with a USB-C docking station - albeit losing its bandwidth advantage in the process - a USB-C laptop won't work with most T3 docks. The exceptions use a chipset called Titan Ridge.

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.

HyperDrive Gen 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Dock Ports

HyperDrive GEN2 Dock features

  • 85W PD charging
  • Up to two external displays (4K at 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort 1.4 port
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) ports
  • Two USB-A (10Gbps) ports
  • Three USB-A (5Gbps) ports
  • One USB-A (QC 3.0) port
  • One USB-C (10Gbps) port
  • 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 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.

HyperDrive Gen 2 USB-C dock screens

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.

HyperDrive dock vs Caldigit TS3 Plus

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.

HyperDrive Gen 2 docking station

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.

HyperDrive-dock-front-back

Verdict

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.

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Specs

HyperDrive GEN2 Thunderbolt 3 Dock: Specs

  • Compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C laptops

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