Henge Docks Docking Station
Henge Docks, www,hengedocks.com
Stylish; sturdy; perfect fit; inexpensive
Fully docked Macs have limitations, such as lack of access to webcam and power button
US$59.95 to US$74.95 + shipping
Docking stations help you save space and reduce cable clutter when you use a laptop at your desk. But it’s been nearly 14 years since Apple sold any sort of dock accessory, and, until recently, MacBook users have had only one option – BookEndz.
Now we’ve got another choice, thanks to Henge Docks, a company offering stylish and sturdy ways for storing your MacBooks or MacBook Pros upright when they’re connected to external displays.
Each Henge Docks Docking Station sports a full complement of MacBook connections, tailored specifically to a particular MacBook model. You must choose the precise dock that fits your laptop’s size and port arrangement.
Picking the right dock can be a challenge, given the variety of Henge Docks models (priced from US$59.95 to US$74.95), but the company’s website makes the process easier. The initial setup of the Docking Station requires a bit of patience
and manual dexterity, as the male connectors – really just the plugs
at the end of cables – don’t come preinstalled; you must manually insert them into the Docking Station’s openings before the first use.
For the dock designed for the 17in MacBook Pro, Henge Docks includes one Ethernet cable, one FireWire 800 cable, two audio cables and three USB cables. A video cable and a MagSafe power adapter aren’t included.
Henge Docks doesn’t include a video cable because of the variety of cables and adapters necessary to connect to different displays. Apple refuses to license the MagSafe connector, so you’ll want to buy an extra one (for $89 from Apple) to keep securely connected to the dock – it’s too much of a hassle to remove the MagSafe connector every time you need to take it on the road with you and then reinstall when you return.
Once set up, the Docking Station is a pleasure to use. You simply slide your laptop into it – the Mac fits perfectly, and its weight is enough
to engage all the various connectors without your having to shove it down.
Removal is equally simple: You just hold the dock down with one hand and lift the laptop out with the other, again with minimal effort.
Though the dock is made entirely of plastic, it looks stylish and is sturdy and stable. I also found that it didn’t interfere with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, letting me use wireless keyboards and mice.
Even after several weeks of use, my MacBook Pro shows no sign of scratches, scuffs or other wear on the exterior.
The dock’s design also ensures that the MacBook’s remote receiver remains clearly visible, which makes
the Docking Station a great accessory for the living room – plug it into a TV that supports HDMI or DisplayPort connections, and you can use your MacBook as a first-class gaming or home-theatre device.
Some of your laptop’s accessories are inaccessible when it is docked. For example, the MacBook’s camera, positioned above its screen, is obviously unusable, as is the MacBook’s power button – if you shut down your laptop, you must remove it from the Docking Station to start it up again.
Macworld Australia’s buying advice
As long as you can live with the limitations that come with a fully docked MacBook or MacBook Pro, the Henge Docks Docking Station is as good as it gets. The product fits the MacBook like a glove without ever making docking or undocking difficult.