Review roundup: Best MacBook docks

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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.

Let’s take a look at three of the best.

Twelve South’s BookArc Möd Is A Gorgeous Mid-Century MacBook Stand [Review]

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Some materials have integrity. Consider aluminum, Jony Ive’s material of choice, and then compare it to plastic. Under the skin, plastic feels wholly artificial, a lump of congealed and polished chemicals; in feel and smell, there’s something unnatural and slightly impure about it. But aluminum feels clean. It has texture. It isn’t just a facade: It is true to itself, right on down through.

BookArc möd by Twelve South
Category: Stands
Works With: Any MacBook
Price: $80

Another material with integrity is wood. It is true to itself, from the veneer to the grain. It has texture. It is clean. And it has history. Wood actually picks up the oils from your hands, and develops a patina. And because of its innate qualities, wood pairs exquisitely with Jony Ive’s chosen material of integrity: aluminum.

Which brings us to Twelve South’s latest product, the BookArc möd. An organic, well-crafted version of the accessory maker’s popular BookArc stand, it is a laptop dock that offers every bit as much integrity as the MacBook it is meant to house… both different and complementary at once.

The BookBook For iPad Air Is Here

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It was only a matter of time, but here it is: TwelveSouth’s BookBook Case for the iPad Air, which makes your fifth-gen Apple tablet look the very model of some ancient, dusty tome, just plucked off of the shelf from the Library of the House of Usher.

Both obfuscating your iPad’s value from thieves and protecting it, the BookBook Case is a perpetual fave here at Cult of Mac.

Like previous models, it allows you to prop up your iPad at a 30 degree angle, both for typing and movie viewing. It comes in black and brown leather varieties — no red yet, sadly — and costs $79.99.

Source: TwelveSouth

BassJump 2: The Tiny Subwoofer That Greatly Improves Your MacBook’s Sound [Review]

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As laptop speakers go, those built into Apple’s MacBooks aren’t bad — particularly if you have a MacBook Pro. But they can be so much better. Plug Twelve South’s BassJump 2 into one of your USB ports and you have a mini sound-system that dramatically improves your MacBook’s audio performance.

BassJump 2 by Twelve South
Category: Audio
Works With: MacBook Air, MacBook Pro
Price: $69.99

Whether you’re listening to music, watching a movie, or just enjoying a podcast, the BassJump 2 subwoofer gives you significantly richer and fuller sound that you won’t believe is coming from your MacBook. There’s no need for expensive external speakers that take up too much room in your bag, or headphones that limit the experience to just one person.

The BassJump 2 is priced at $69.99, and Twelve South calls it “an essential road tool for listening to and editing tracks on the tour bus, hotel room or anyplace else your music takes you.” Now, I’m no musician or music producer — but I definitely agree.

Twelve South Unveils SurfacePad For iPad Mini

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The fine folks at Twelve South have brought the popular SurfacePad case to the iPad mini. The cover is made from Napa leather, and it bends to form a viewing stand or typing wedge.

One of the coolest design aspects of the new SurfacePad is how the iPad mini is held in place when upright. Instead of resting the iPad in little leather notches like most bendable cases, the edges of the iPad are secured by invisible magnets.

Redesigned iPad Stand Looks More Like A Kitchen Utensil

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High-powered with a tiny footprint.
High-powered with a tiny footprint.

Kitchen Utensil. Mobile Office. Study Stand.

Sure, those don’t all go together, but Twelve South’s new iPad Air and iPad mini stand looks like nothing you’ve seen before. It might as well find a place in a kitchen drawer, next to all the Pampered Chef gizmos you’ve got in there.

This new iPad stand — made for the iPad Air and iPad mini — is foldable, easy to use, and just plain sweet looking.

ID America’s Wall St For iPhone Is A Leather Wallet Case Like No Other [Review]

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I’ve tested lots of leather wallet cases for the iPhone, but the Wall St from id America is a lot different to the rest.

Wall St by id America
Category: Case
Works With: iPhone 5/5s
Price: $34.95

It’s not a folding case like Twelve South’s iconic BookBook, but rather a sleeve that your iPhone slips into that has a large hole in its front for your display, and a little pocket in its back for your credit cards.

It’s an ideal alternative for those who like to keep things simple and don’t want to have to deal with flappy front covers when using their smartphone. It makes everything easy to get to, and it doesn’t cover up any buttons, ports, or speakers.

The Wall St fits both iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s (there’s another version for iPhone 5c, too), and it’s available in a number of pretty colors, including brown, blue, orange, and red. It costs $34.95, so let’s find out whether it’s worth it.