After a slow start, things are really heating up in the Thunderbolt accessory market. We've reviewed Thunderbolt hard disk drives and SSDs ,Thunderbolt RAID arrays, and even Thunderbolt docks. Now Kanex has introduced a new Thunderbolt to eSATA + USB 3.0 Adapter (US$79.95) that makes it easy to use your older eSATA drives with your new Mac. Let's take a look, and then enter for a chance to win one of these adapters and two Lightning charge/sync cables from Kanex and TUAW.
Dimensions: 3.19 x 1.89 x .79 inches (8.1 x 4.8 x 2.0 cm)
Weight: 2.8 ounces (79.38 grams)
System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.8.4 or later, any MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac or Mac mini produced since 2011 (Thunderbolt-equipped)
Output: USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (5 Gbps), eSATA
Not a lot to say about the design sensibilities of this adapter -- it's basically a black box with a cable on one end and two ports on the other. I do like the fact that Kanex took on the market for those Macs that have a Thunderbolt port, but no eSATA or USB 3.0 ports. It's possible to connect one of these to a single Thunderbolt port on a Mac, then plug in a USB 3.0 hub for extra flexibility.
The adapter "just works." I tried it with a USB 3.0 drive that I use for nightly backups and as I expected, benchmarks showed no increase or decrease in throughput. Kanex makes a lot of adapters for oddball situations, and in this case the Thunderbolt to eSATA and USB 3.0 adapter is probably going to be much more useful to those who need USB 3.0 on their devices than eSATA. It's good to know that if you previously owned an eSATA drive for use with a MacBook Pro, you can still use that drive with any new Thunderbolt-equipped Mac.
My only concern about this device is the price, which is probably quite high because there's such a limited demand for this type of adapter. Functionality-wise, it works quite well and can add years of life to an older Mac. This adapter won a Macworld/iWorld 2014 Best of Show award.
It should be noted that Kanex also sells a Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet + USB 3.0 adapter ($79.95), which will probably be useful to a much larger potential market.
Rating: 3 stars out of 4 star possible
We're giving away one of the Kanex Thunderbolt to eSATA + USB 3.0 adapters and two -- count 'em -- of the Kanex 4-foot USB to Lightning cables ($19.95 each). Here are the rules for the giveaway:
Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older.
To enter, fill out the form below completely and click or tap the Submit button.
The entry must be made before July 14, 2014 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
You may enter only once.
One winner will be selected in a random drawing and will receive a Kanex Thunderbolt to eSATA + USB 3.0 adapter and two (2) Kanex USB to Lightning cables, total value of prize is $119.85.