Quick Look: Henge Dock for MacBook and MacBook Pro

With MacBooks (s aapl) getting closer and closer to desktop performance, some may find themselves in need of a docking station. PC docks about, but there are few Mac options. One of those options is the Henge Dock. These docking stations are designed for MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

The model I got my hands on is for the 17-in MacBook Pro. Inside the box, you will find the plastic base along with the following cables: Ethernet, FireWire 800, USB Extenders (3) and audio (2). Not included are a MagSafe power adapter or a DisplayPort cable. You can order DisplayPort extenders and adapters from the Henge Docks site that are guaranteed to have enough slack for the dock. I would recommend buying another power adapter since removing the one used in the dock becomes rather tedious if you do it frequently. Assembly is a little tricky, but the ability to choose which ports you want to extend is worth it. It took about a half hour to assemble everything and the end result seems pretty secure.

I started by feeding the wires through with the dock laying on its side. After about half the connectors were hooked up, I flipped everything up to its normal position and hooked up the remaining connectors.

One thing that was confusing is why the audio connectors are shaped to fit into a particular slot on the dock but the other end of the cables aren’t marked as to which is headphone or line-in. Just remember which you feed through which hole.

The hardest part was getting the DisplayPort to VGA adapter to fit. I would recommend purchasing one of the official Henge Docks adapters or at least their DisplayPort extender, it will save you some trouble.

When it’s all put together, it works rather well. The manual states that you should never rock or carry the dock around with a MacBook docked. You’ll notice right away that it can be top-heavy, so place it on secure surface that doesn’t wobble to avoid accidents.

The only real drawbacks to the Henge Docks system are that you can’t access the power button or the FaceTime camera. If you accidentally shutdown the MacBook, you’ll have to un-dock the computer to open it up and power it back on. Since running the MacBook in clamshell mode is the whole point of a dock, you’ll have to get yourself an external USB webcam if you want to be able to do video chat.

With limited options for docking stations, the Henge Dock does everything it claims to. If you want to pretty up your desk, and you frequently switch between desktop and portable configurations with your MacBook, the Henge Dock is an idea companion that will save you many unpleasant plugging and unplugging rituals.