LAS VEGAS — Laptop docks aren’t usually the sexiest things in the world, but the latest hardware from Henge Docks could be considered somewhat titillating.
Henge’s upcoming horizontal docking station is a beauty. Its sleek, metallic profile looks like an extension of Apple’s unibody MacBook design. But this thing doesn’t only have good looks; it boasts robust port expansion, helpful cable management and automatic docking.
A small company based in San Francisco, Henge Docks is already known for its vertical MacBook dock and Gravitas dock for iOS devices. Customers clamored for a horizontal MacBook dock that didn’t require a secondary display, and the finalized version is being displayed for the first time at International CES here this week.
In a demo, Henge Docks CEO Matthew Vroom showed off the new dock attached to three additional monitors. The nicest part of the experience is never having to plug anything into the MacBook’s port manually — the dock automatically encloses the MacBook in its metal grip and fills every port.
Up to three external displays can be powered with either Thunderbolt 2, Mini DisplayPort or HDMI. The row of ports on the dock’s back expands the two USB ports on a MacBook to six. There are also two audio ports for separate input and output, ethernet, HDMI and an SD card slot. A Kensington lock can also be added.
All that’s great, but my favorite feature is that charging is built into the dock. Henge has made the first Apple-approved accessory capable of charging a MacBook through MagSafe, according to Vroom. So you don’t need to worry about plugging your Apple power brick in every time you come back to your desk.
A little helper app for OS X communicates with the dock and memorizes your multi-display setups and window placements. It can also make you enter a password to undock.
Overall, I was very impressed with the usefulness of this dock. There’s a model for the 13-inch and 15-inch Retina MacBook. At $399, it’s certainly pricey, but you’re getting quality craftsmanship and something that actually makes your life easier. Starts shipping in June.