Son­net Echo 11

Power up your MacBook Pro – and add ports it’s miss­ing!

Mac Format - - APPLE CHOICE - AlanS tone­bridge

£318 FROM Son­net, son­net­tech.com fea­tures 2x Thun­der­bolt 3, 5x USB-A, SD card reader, HDMI 2.0, 3.5mm jack, Eth­er­net

The lat­est Thun­der­bolt 3 dock to land on our desk, the Echo 11 fea­tures a bar-like de­sign that’s

9.1 inches long and 3.4 inches deep. That’s very much av­er­age as docks go, both in terms of foot­print shape and size. A big at­trac­tion of a Thun­der­bolt 3 dock is to add ports that aren’t built in to your Mac – al­most all types these days – and to plug in just one ca­ble to con­nect your pe­riph­er­als and power the com­puter. The Echo 11 puts out enough power to charge a 15-inch MacBook Pro.

Brand­ing is low‑key: sub­dued text and a logo on the top and front. How­ever, the two LEDs on the front panel, which con­firm the dock is re­ceiv­ing power and has es­tab­lished a con­nec­tion to your Mac, are more ‘in your face’. Dis­ap­point­ingly, Son­net pro­vides no soft­ware util­ity to dis­able or dim them.

That also means us­ing de­vices that need to be ejected safety – stor­age, ba­si­cally – is less grace­ful than with the Thun­der­bolt 3 Dock from El­gato and CalDigit’s TS3 Plus; their apps pro­vide a menu bar icon from which you can eject all de­vices. That the Echo 11 lacks such a tool isn’t ru­inous – you could even ap­prox­i­mate it with an app built in macOS’s Au­toma­tor util­ity – but it’s a nice touch that those two com­pa­nies have had nailed for sev­eral years.

The Echo 11’s back panel fea­tures two Thun­der­bolt 3 ports. One is for con­nect­ing your Mac. The other is for daisy-chain­ing ad­di­tional Thun­der­bolt de­vices or to hook up a dis­play us­ing an adapter, if the HDMI 2.0 port (ca­pa­ble of driv­ing a 4K, 60Hz dis­play) is un­suit­able. There are also three USB-A ports (5Gbps) and Gi­ga­bit Eth­er­net to add ca­bled net­work­ing to your MacBook Pro. Up front are two more USB-A ports, an SD card reader and a 3.5mm head­phone jack.

Fierce com­pe­ti­tion

El­gato’s £270 dock is stingier when it comes to USB-A ports (it has one up front, two on the back). Still, the Echo 11 isn’t the best op­tion for max­ing out on USB. CalDigit’s TS3 Plus has more, in­clud­ing one USB-C with 10Gbps through­put, plus op­ti­cal au­dio and a 3.5mm mic jack – and at the time of writ­ing can be bought for £265, down from £350 at launch.

The Echo 11 comes a close sec­ond if port quan­tity is your pri­or­ity. But the sug­gested price busts past £300 – look for a dis­count, and still weigh it against other op­tions.

A big at­trac­tion of a dock like this is to add var­i­ous new ports to a Mac

The sil­ver and black fin­ish is very Ap­ple, though there’s no darker, space grey ver­sion.

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