This week we look at docking stations for the MacBook. Docks let you stow your laptop out of the way. With its lid closed, and yet still use its brain to power a monitor and hook up to a mouse and keyboard.
Some docks are simple dumb stands, others offer hookups that the modern MacBook lacks, like HDMI and Ethernet ports.
Elgato’s Thunderbolt Dock has a few unique features that are appropriate for a company that makes video accessories for Apple devices. First, there’s an HDMI port around back, and second, the USB ports put out enough juice to charge your iPad at a decent speed.
The Tylt Vu wireless charger looks like it would make a great iDevice stand, even if it didn’t have an induction charger hidden inside. The idea is that it not only charges your iPhone, but the shape of it means that the iPhone is always positioned in just the right spot to let the magnets do their thing, even if you just toss it into the cradle.
The Togo Dock is a new pocket-sized iPhone dock from the makers of the Une Bobine, the super-successful “handy bendy iPhone-holding snake.” The new gadget is as simple as can be: it’s a little plastic reel with a magnet on the back, which turns a lightning cable into an iPhone dock that can be stuck to anything – as long as it’s made of ferrous metal.
“Thunderbolt, ho!” That’s the cry of low-frame-rate animated big cats when they found out just how much the new Akitio Thunder Dock can do when hooked up to a Mac. And “Snarrrfff” is what their rat-like friend said when he saw the $269 price tag.
If you’re looking for an ultra-simple dock, or just for a way to stop your iPhone skittering across your desk every time you snap it’s cable, then you might like the Rolio from Blue Lounge. Not only is it one of the most versatile iPhone and iPad charging accessories around, it’s also one of the most affordable.
If you have a router (no, not that kind of router), a chunk of plywood and some mad craft skillz, then you could make your own Undulating Contours charging station. If you are missing any one of those, then, it’d be better to spend the $24 on the real thing, hand-hewn in Louisiana.