Companies have been building port-laden Mac docking stations for about as long as Apple’s been making portable Macs, but I feel pretty confident in saying that none have ever been as advanced as the Henge Horizontal Docking Station.
Let’s start with the basics: You put your 13" or 15" Retina MacBook Pro (the previous generation model; versions for the new USB-C-based Macs are coming soon) into the dock, press a button, and a massive array of ports on the back will be connected and ready to use in seconds (more on how later). You get instant access to six USB 3.0 ports, gigabit ethernet, ThunderBolt 2, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, a couple of headphone jacks, and even an SD card slot. Assuming you already have monitors, hard drives, and other peripherals connected to the dock and ready to go, it’s the fastest way to turn your Mac into a powerful, expandable workstation.
Sure, there are breakout boxes like the Belkin Express HD that accomplish something similar over a Thunderbolt cable, but even that offers far less connectivity, and doesn’t double as a docking station to power and prop up your Mac.
The way it all works is actually extremely impressive, or over-engineered, depending on your point view. Once the Henge detects that your MacBook is in place via a pair of pressure pads, the dock’s single, touch-sensitive button will turn green to indicate you’re ready for action. Once you press it, a series of precisely positioned plugs (including a MagSafe power adapter - what?!) emerge from the sides of the dock like turtle heads, and in one slightly unnerving moment, insert themselves into all of your Mac’s ports at once. Of course, your computer blocks your view of this happening, so I taped down the laptop-detecting buttons to capture some gifs:
I was worried about absentmindedly putting my laptop in backwards and damaging either it or the dock, but Henge includes three different failsafes to ensure the plugs don’t damage themselves or your MacBook if things aren’t lined up properly.
Sounds great, right? Well, the bad news is that Henge costs $499. I know, I know, I was disappointed too. That means it’s not for me, and it’s probably not for you either. It’s for creative professionals and programmers who are constantly driving multiple monitors, reading off of external drives, and generally pushing the boundaries of connectivity that are possible with a Mac laptop. But if you’re that kind of person, and you
have $500 to spare can get work to pay for it, this is the biggest, baddest Mac dock money can buy.
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