Linedock 16” is for anyone who’s ever thought, “I wish my MacBook had more ports and a longer battery life. And more storage!” The docking station fits under your notebook and adds ten ports, a 99.9Wh battery and up to 2TB of storage.
I tested the version of Linedock for 16-inch MacBooks. It totally blew my socks off.
Linedock 16” review
Apple’s former design chief Jony Ive created super-slim MacBooks. These look terrific, and are very portable, but don’t have many ports.
And running low on storage happens to all of us eventually. We put all we can afford into each new computer, and often that isn’t enough.
Plus, no one has ever really thought their MacBook’s battery life was long enough.
Linedock handles all of these limitations. It adds a plethora of ports, tons of storage capacity and a hefty battery. And it all fits into a docking a station that takes up no extra room on your desk.
Hardware and design
The Linedock 16” I’m testing is designed to sit underneath the 16-inch MacBook Pro. As such, it has exactly the same width and depth as Apple’s notebook: 14.09 inches by 9.68 in. It’s 0.38 in. thick. This is a clever design. Unlike other hubs, drives, or external batteries, this one effectively takes up none of your work space.
And it’s not that big a burden when you’re traveling, weighing in at 2 pounds. It’s not small, but the Linedock 16” does so much that the extra bulk is worth it. I recommend carrying it with your MacBook in a bag designed for two laptops.
The casing is all aluminum, and matches the look of a MacBook perfectly. The only design quirk is a cloth tag on the right edge with the Linedock brand on it. It’s understandable why it’s there — if it was almost anywhere else the company logo would be hidden by the MacBook, but I find it intrusive. Still, a pair of scissors or an Exacto blade might take care it.
One of the more useful features of the Linedock 16” (and the 15-inch version too) is a trio of USB-A ports on the left side. MacBooks have USB-C but much of the world is stuck on USB-A, so you’ll want the USB-A for a range of accessories you can’t plug directly into a MacBook. I tested it with a mouse, keyboard and thumb drive. Each performed exactly as expected.
These USB-A ports use USB 3.0, so if you plug in a drive they max out at 625 MB/s. In my real-world testing, copying a 1GB file from a USB-A drive to my computer took 32 seconds, and coping the same file from the computer to the external drive took 55 sec.
On the right edge are a pair of SD card readers, making it easy to copy files off a professional-grade camera or a drone. These support UHS-II so offer a max read speed of 230 MB/s and a max write speed of 80 MP/s. In my testing, moving a 1 GB file from an SD card to my computer took 32 seconds. Copying the same file the other way took 95 sec.
On the back of the Linedock 16” is an HDMI port that offers 4K video at 30 fps. Near it is a full-size DisplayPort that supports 4K at 60 fps. These can be used at the same time, giving you two external monitors. But — and this is important — HDMI requires your MacBook to be connected to the USB-C port on the left side of the Linedock, while DisplayPort requires the laptop to be plugged into the USB-C port on the right side of the Linedock. So, two cables.
Linedock 16” offers three USB-C ports — more than most hubs. Look for one on each side and the third on the back. These support USB 3.1 Gen 2, so have a maximum data transfer speed of 10 GB/s. In my tests, copying a 1 GB from an external SSD to my computer over a USB-C connection took 28 seconds. Copying it onto the external drive took 46 sec.
These ports can handle up to 100W of pass-through power. Plug the docking station into a 100W wall power adapter and you can charge two MacBooks through the USB-C ports and three other accessories through the USB-A ports.
The Cubicable lets you makes a direct connection between the USB-C ports on the MacBook and Linedock 16” without the clutter of wires. It’s a handy little gadget.
It’s designed for the current 16-inch MacBook, but if Apple changes the thickness of future models it might not fit.
If you use another cable, make sure it’s up to handling high-speed data. Many USB-C cables are designed primarily for power.
When buying the Linedock 16” (or the 15-inch version), you have the option of 2 TB of storage, 1 TB, or no additional storage.
My test unit has 2 TB, and this is a Sata 6 SSD. It has a top write speed of 370 MB/s, and top read speed of 385 MB/s. In my real-world tests, copying a 1 GB from the Linedock SSD to my computer took 30 seconds. Copying it onto the external drive took 80 sec.
Sure, you can load up your MacBook with tons of storage capacity. The advantage of putting it into an external drive like this one is that you can also use the same storage with your next computer — you don’t have to buy it again.
Much of the internal space of the LineDock 16” is a 99.9Wh lithium-polymer battery. That’s the same size battery as the one in the 16-inch MacBook Pro. In other words, it can nearly double the length of time you go between needing a wall socket.
Just remember, recharging one battery with another is very inefficient. Run your MacBook off the docking station to get the most power out of it, rather than using it to recharge the laptop’s battery.
There’s a series of ten LEDs on the left edge of the docking station to indicate the remaining power. I didn’t find these to be very accurate, but that’s not unusual for external batteries. Next to these is a button to turn the battery on and off.
When the time comes to recharge the docking station, it supports pass-through power (as noted above). You can plug in the Linedock 16” then connect your MacBook and the notebook will recharge first.
Linedock 16” final thoughts
The Linedock 16” combines a useful USB-C multiport hub, an SSD with the additional capacity you probably need, and external battery to keep you going on the road. And all this fits into a docking station that takes up essentially no space on your desktop — it sits under your MacBook.
It’s an outstanding option for people who want to extend the capabilities of their MacBook… whether in the office or on the road.
A Linedock 16” with no built-in storage is $479. Add 1TB and the price goes to $679. The 2TB configuration is $839.
The 15-inch version costs the same for the same storage capacities.
You can buy a USB-C multiport hub, an external SSD and an external battery separately for less. You’re paying a bit more for the convenience of combining these features.
That said, a Linedock 16” is seems like a good deal compared to building up the internal storage in your Apple device. Taking the base model 16-inch MacBook Pro from 512GB to 2 TB costs $600.
Linedock provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.