HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 Dock - Full Review

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Editors' rating:
The Pros

Sleek, horizontal design; Dual 4K output; Charges over Thunderbolt

The Cons

Only works with compatible HP laptops; Pricey; Limited video port selection


While pricey, the HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 Dock is the best-looking option out there and can support two 4K displays at once.

Docks aren't usually fashion-statement accessories, and once you purchase one, it usually languishes under a laptop or monitor, never to be seen again. The $209 HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 Dock's clean, two-toned design makes it handsome enough that you'll be proud to have it sitting on your desk. It's pricey and doesn't offer the widest variety of ports, but it supports two 4K monitors over Thunderbolt 3 without a hitch -- that is, as long as you have an HP laptop that works with it.

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There's no question about it: The HP Elite is the most beautiful dock I've ever seen. It's a thin, 9.1 x 2.2 x 0.69-inch horizontal bar that has a beautiful two-toned color scheme. The leftmost side of the dock is black, while the rest is a very dark gray. HP's logo is stamped on the upper-right-hand corner of the top of the dock, and a power button is on the front. The contrast is eye-catching but subtle, inviting you to look but not gawk.

HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 DockThe bottom is made of textured rubber that keeps it from slipping and sliding. The dock is small enough to be shoved below your monitor or under your computer if you want to conserve desk space.


The Elite doesn't have as many ports as some of its competitors, but it supports USB Type-C Thunderbolt, which makes it future-proof. On the back of the dock, you'll find a lock slot, an Ethernet jack, a VGA port, two USB 3.0 ports, a USB Type-C port, a power jack and a spot for the combined proprietary Thunderbolt/AC power cable. There are another two USB 3.0 ports and a headphone/mic jack on the front.

HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 DockHowever, having the latest ports doesn't make up for a lack of choice. The dock doesn't have any options for HDMI cables, which you do find on both the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Docking Station and the Dell WD15. And there's no room for DVI, which the Plugable offers. There are no adapters in the box to use those cables, but they may be a worthwhile investment. (I found a DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapter for $10 on Amazon.)


The HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a strong performer as long as you have an HP Notebook with Thunderbolt 3 support. The device didn't work with the Dell XPS 13 or the Lenovo ThinkPad P70. When I tried the dock with an HP EliteBook Folio G1, the power button lit up, and my external displays turned on. The company told me that while the Elite is designed for HP notebooks and that compatibility with other vendors' machines depends on how they implemented Thunderbolt.

HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 DockHP promises that the Elite can support two 4K monitors over DisplayPort, and it follows through, performing well in my testing. The dock played 4K video smoothly while I browsed the web in Chrome and edited text in Wordpad. (It should be noted that the EliteBook Folio has its own 4K display, which also output at full resolution.) 


MORE: Best Laptop Docking Stations


Alternatively, you can hook up one 4K monitor over DisplayPort and one over VGA (the latter outputs at 1080p), or a single 4K or VGA monitor. Video playback and web browsing were equally smooth in each arrangement.

No matter how many (or which type) of displays I had attached to the dock, it didn't do much damage in terms of resources. Just 3.4 percent of the CPU was consumed with nothing else running. The WD15 used 3 percent, while the Plugable USB Type-C used 10 percent.

Bottom Line

The HP Elite Thunderbolt 3 Dock is beautiful and powerful enough to be on any desk, but it's limited to certain HP computers. Its support for USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 3 make it future-proof, and its performance was consistent and smooth, even when outputting at 4K.

There's not much variety in video outputs, though, and those who use HDMI or DVI monitors will need to buy some adapters for the dock. People who use a wider variety of computers or have access to more types of ports should consider Plugable's $179 USB-C Triple Display Docking Station which offers a better assortment of ports than the Elite does. However, only one of that dock's three displays can output at 4K.

Plugable's offerings eschew any semblance of style, though. If you're looking for something attractive that also works well -- or if you need two 4K displays -- go for the Elite.

Accessories Type Laptop Accessories
Battery Type/Life
Size 9.1 x 2.2 x 0.7-inches
Company Website hp.com
Add a comment
  • Dan in Dayton Says:

    This is by far the worst docking station I've used. It gets confused easily. The manual even implies it's poorly designed with the statement "HP ZBook Mobile Workstation while it is fully on or fully off (not in a standby or hibernate state)."

  • HP - no bueno Says:

    I received one of these for work... terrible. You need to install the latest drivers yourself, it won't work straight out of the box.
    If you reboot, you lose your monitor connections, have to power cycle the thunderbolt to get them to work again.

    I protested before I got the new HP setup from work because I've had HP in the past, and it's always been crap. Similar to the old school 'E machines' .

    Don't buy.

  • DerekT Says:

    Been using this for a couple of months now with a zbook running win7 ent. In contrast to others' experiences I've had no issues with stability/compatibility of connections - two monitors (dell/samsung) via dvi adapters, ethernet, keyboard, mouse etc. The usb high power port has been very useful for running my qi charging pad, with the advantage that it stays powered when you disconnect your laptop from the dock.

    I plug in, switch on via the dock power button and log-in using the connected monitors/keyboard/mouse. The only action I have to perform on the laptop is the bios encryption unlocking.

    I second others' requests for a longer, more flexible thunderbolt/ac cable. Hey HP - if you're thinking of making one I'd be happy to test it for ya! ;)

  • MattKPSU Says:

    This docking station caused me weeks of hassles with my HP zbook studio 3. The software is buggy and will cause flickering and other display issues. It also made my laptop run very hot and struggle with basic CAD files. Network drops randomly, the monitors drop randomly, there is significant keyboard or mouse lag in chrome, etc. etc. When I switched to a much cheaper Kensington dock, 90% of my issues disappeared. Avoid this product and avoid Windows 10 if you are a drafting professional. It is not worth the aggravation.

  • vee vee Says:

    Docking station will not allow a monitor that isn’t HP to connect to your device. The reason I bought this station was so I could connect my tablet to a monitor. I am person with General IT knowledge and one wouldn't assume a monitor would not connect to a docking station.
    The reason they won’t return my product is because I am out of the 14 day return policy by a few weeks and it is my fault. I should know that “this product won’t connect a monitor as it doesn’t state it does, and therefore the product is not faulty” - Mind you it does not state that not all monitors are compatible!
    I’ve never been so disgusted in a level of service. I’ve spent hours arguing and trying to get a refund, as a replacement or credit will not work, I’ve already placed the docking station with one from an external brand.
    For such a large company HP Is a joke with terrible customer service – I’ll be sure to never purchase an item from them again.

  • Chris Says:

    I just want a longer Thunderbolt/AC power cable! Mine works fine, you have to have the current bios though.

  • Steve Says:

    This review fails to address some critical issues:

    The thunderbolt dock is software driven unlike the old hardware based, so has to be hooked in under a user for it to work properly. You cant just leave a laptop hooked in and closed while you work in your workstation. Powering up requires using the laptop first to log in. Adds more steps for less reliability.

    Another issue, aesthetics. Instead of a nice dock that is central to all the hookups you have a loose bar with cables running out of 3 sides. You can't have a nice presentation on a workstation. This is not a good solution for enterprise.

  • Dean H Says:

    We've purchased 2 of these docks and they don't work. We've spent hours with HP trying to fix the problems that include:
    1. Unrecognized drivers
    2. Won't charge the battery without a firmware update.
    3. Random freeze of mouse and keyboard.
    4. Need to unplug & re-plug in the dock after turning on the laptop.

  • Maris Says:

    And yes, when you pack it out from the box and connect together the HP ZBook Workstation did not recognize it and driver aplication did not offer drivers for it.

  • Maris Says:

    I have 6 HP Zbooks and those docks, I think they are rubish compared to previous type docking stations. This comes with short stiff cable and is very uncomfortable. I am really curious how others use it. Please try it out before purchase.

  • JeffInBreck Says:

    Have an XPS 13 9350, I too have heard that this dock might work with my machine. Would be curious if someone could confirm. Dell's WD15 and TB15 docks are problematic at best.

  • PAPPL Says:

    A user reports, the HP Thunderbolt 65W Dock works with XPS13. Maybe a firmware update makes it work now. Can this be confirmed?

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