MacBook Dock: Henge Apple MacBook Docking System

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Desktop-SetupIntroduction:

Laptop docks provide an excellent way of incorporating machines into desktop setups or multimedia home theatre systems taking up far less space than dedicated desktop systems. Whereas most PC manufacturers cater for this function, surprisingly Apple haven't provided something similar for their users to support their range of MacBooks.  This situation has recently been remedied by the introduction of Henge docks to the market that cater for modern and even most older MacBooks: from the 13 & 15” MacBooks (machines from late 2008 to mid 2009) to the larger 17” MacBook (machines from mid 2009 to 2010).

Specifications:

The package includes a rigid thick white gloss plastic casing that houses supplied leads that dock with ports on the docked Apple MacBook.  The package includes all tools, leads and a manual that describes assembly of the dock in detail. The only leads not supplied are the MagSafe power source and Mini-DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

Port-CloseReview:

Docks are really a great idea for laptop users, making the use of external peripherals and monitors far easier, minimising the need for constant plugging and unplugging when moving the machine between locations.  It really surprises us that Apple haven't provided solutions for its' MacBook users!  The Henge Dock we reviewed was a 15" version, which fitted a variety of 15" models each of which have a similar port layout on the side of the MacBook. As suggested in the specifications section, the Henge Docks do require assembly, which is described in detail in the included manual.  Basically each connector is positioned in the dock so as to complement the ports on a compatible MacBook, and are held in place using a simple screw system (that can mark cables used in the dock).  We found installation straight forward although a little fiddly if you have fat fingers and cable routing is easy with plenty of room for the cabling.  The dock unit itself, although plastic, feels strong and stable whilst in use, easily supporting the weight of the installed MacBook.  The one thing we were slightly disappointed with is the lack of a supplementary MagSafe power source (presumably not included due to patent rights) meaning that to fully benefit from a Henge Dock you would have to get a spare from the Apple store.

Price:

13" Henge Dock - £59 inc.

15" Henge Dock - £69 inc.

17" Henge Dock - £79 inc.

Left-Right-DockedVerdict:

3.5/5 For the price, the henge dock provides an efficient way for docking your MacBook for use in a home theatre system or dektop computing environment.  The unit we reviewed seemed well built, providing a stable platform for docking your MacBook and assembly, although a bit fiddly was well documented and easy.  It's a shame that the package doesn't include an additional power adaptor and that the dock doesn't house a USB hub of some kind for easier connection of other devices, but this is reflected in the relatively low price tag (especially for something to complement an Apple product - sorry couldn't resist the dig!)