updated 02:45 pm EDT, Thu June 26, 2014
Vertical dock allows for stylish computer use with closed laptop
Accessory manufacturer Henge Docks has extended its Vertical Docking Station line -- a custom-designed dock that allows vertical storage and use of a MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The peripheral allows for use of all of the ports on the left-hand side of the machine and then some, including a pair of Mini DisplayPort extensions, USB 3.0, and the headphone jack. The user's own MagSafe adapter is installed into the dock, giving the laptop power while docked.
The dock does support Thunderbolt cables, and provides the means to install user-provided cables. A built-in cable organizer at the rear of the dock keeps cables in place, so they won't interfere with the user's workspace. Scallops in the dock allow for cooling of the sheathed portion of the laptop.
MacNN spent some time with the 15-inch MacBook Pro edition of the Vertical Docking Station in metal finish prior to release. Initial impressions were good -- we like the dock in conjunction with a television, allowing for local media playback with little fuss. The 3.5-pound weight of the dock prevents all but the most determined efforts to topple the unit, with a wide base assisting in stability.
We've tried the Thunderbolt cable installation process, and found it quite easy -- these aren't Thunderbolt extensions, but actual Thunderbolt cables as purchased by the user installed into the device. This does require devices be directly plugged into the dock, but this isn't much of a handicap in our usage so far.
Apple's prohibition on third-party MagSafe connectors is well known. In an ideal world, there would be a MagSafe extension for the dock, allowing for a single adapter to be used for travel or for powering a MacBook Pro in the dock. If you purchase this dock, we do recommend an additional MagSafe adapter for installation into the dock, with one for travel.
Docks are an old-school concept. Poorly executed, they can cause more problems than solutions for the user, and the universality of modern ports has made most docking stations obsolete. The Henge Docks Vertical Docking Station equals Apple's design aesthetic, allowing for vertical storage and use of the laptop in some unconventional ways. Because you lose one of the rMBP's top assets -- its Retina display when docking, the vertical approach is not for everybody, but the type of user the company is aiming for is squarely catered to.
The MacBook Pro Retina Vertical Dock is available for purchase through the Henge Docks' online store for the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Retail price for the 13-inch and 15-inch Metal edition is $119, with a Glossy White edition available for is $89.