Packaging and parameters
Today we will have a look at an unusual product in our portfolio. It is an accessory that we do not pay much attention to here. However, the Echo 11 is a very interesting dock that deserves your attention. Especially now that Thunderbolt 3 is part of the new Intel Ice Lake processors, there is a good chance this technology will no longer be limited to use in premium notebooks, but will appear in mainstream products as well.
Packaging and closer look
Sonnet packs the product in a brown cardboard box that appears to be recycled, so we are giving them a thumbs-up for environmental thinking.
In addition to the dock itself, the package also includes a manual, 50 cm Thunderbolt 3 cable, power adapter, and power cable.
The dock’s power cables are long enough so that you could place it anywhere on your desk. However, the length of the TB3 cable that connects the dock to your notebook limits your placement options. The ideal location for the dock appears to be under or next to a monitor.
The power adapter’s output is 180 watts, but the dock supports only 87 watts client charging. Rest of the power is used for providing power through the USB ports and second Thunderbolt 3 port.
If the half-meter TB3 cable is not long enough, Sonnet also offers a two-meter version. In general, TB3 cables are very expensive, and you should also pay attention to the rated throughput. Half-meter cables commonly offer 40 Gb/s throughput (the specified speed for TB3 connection), but some longer cables offer only half the speed, thus 20 Gb/s. Thankfully, the two-meter version from Sonnet is a 40 Gb/s version so you will see no speed difference.
The dock’s main purpose is to expand your notebook’s port selection to enable you to connect multiple monitors and various accessories. On the front you will find a green power connection indicator and a blue TB3 connection indicator. There’s also a standard SD card reader, which is now uncommon in notebooks, especially so in the case of Ultrabooks. Next to it we find two 5-gigabit USB 3.0 ports, one of which supports charging of your smartphone, for example. The last connection on the front is 3,5 mm audio connector for your headset.
There are no ports on the right and left sides. On the back you will find the main ports. There are three USB 3.0 ports, one 1Gb Ethernet RJ-45 port, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports (one used for connection to your notebook, and one for daisy chaining other TB3 devices). The main Thunderbolt 3 port can charge your Ultrabook with up to 87 watts of power as we already mentioned. That is enough for the majority of Ultrabooks on the market with low-voltage U processors from Intel with 15 watts TDP and without a dedicated graphics card. Talking about Apple MacBooks, we have verified the dock can charge the entire range, from Air up to 15″ MacBook Pro. Thanks to the Echo 11, you can leave your original power adapter in your computer bag. Next to the TB3 ports there’s an HDMI 2.0 port which supports 4K @ 60 Hz, and the power adapter port.
Both the top and bottom panels are metal. The middle black strip is shiny plastic, which will attract fingerprints and scratches, so the choice of this material could have been better. Except for this one minor issue, the dock is very well built and there isn’t much to criticize. Let’s have a look at how it actually works.