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Bus-powered docks are compact as well as more affordable options for Thunderbolt docks, and the IOGear Quantum Dual Mode Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro (GTD737) satisfies both criteria nicely. While you’ll need to supply your own charger, you’ll save both space and weight in your bag or backpack.
IOgear’s GTD737 is one of the smaller docks we’ve tested, as well as relatively light (6.6 x 3.1 x 1.1 inches., 2.7 pounds). It ranks highly in our list of the best Thunderbolt docks.
About the only knock against this dock is its use of two DisplayPort 1.2 ports on the rear of the dock, which serve as the only dedicated display outputs. (We suspect HDMI is more popular.) In our testing, an HDMI-to-DisplayPort adapter didn’t work, either, which means that you’ll have to own a display with this port connection.
IOGear Quantum Dual Mode Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro (GTD737)
Otherwise, this dock is excellent, providing almost all the features you’ll want at an affordable price: a 10Gbps USB-A port on the front for 7.5W smartphone charging; on the rear, two 5Gbps USB-A ports for legacy mice and keyboards and two 10Gbps USB-C ports for further expansion. There’s also a gigabit ethernet port and a headphone jack. There is no memory card slot. The 2.3-foot Thunderbolt 3 cable supplies 60W for your laptop via the associated 135W power brick.
The performance was a little less than we expected, dropping one percent of the frames in our 4K YouTube test—a bit of jitter that was noticeable, though not annoying. The dock warmed under load, but never got hot. On one occasion, one of the USB-C ports didn’t recognize our test SSD, but powering the dock off and on solved the problem.
If the DisplayPort issue isn’t a concern and you don’t mind not having a power brick, this IOgear dock is a very good budget choice. It’s our preferred Thunderbolt dock, though supply shortages and out-of-stock notifications have pushed prices sky-high—temporarily, we hope.