Review: Byte-dock Thunderbolt Dock For MacBook Pro

Review: Byte-dock Thunderbolt Dock For MacBook Pro

Those who use their MacBook as a desktop or take their MacBook between home and work often find that constantly connecting and disconnecting cables can be a real hassle. Docking stations are a common solution to this problem, and while there aren’t many docks available for the Mac, we’ll take a look at one of the latest products that aims to fill this role: the Techne Industries Byte-dock (£149/$238, Link).


The Byte-dock works by connecting to all of your Mac’s ports, replicating them, and including pass-through connectors to hook your devices to. The result is a simple way to connect or disconnect your MacBook to all of your devices at once, making it easier to transport your computer from place to place.

What’s unique about the Byte-dock in comparison to other offerings is that it supports Apple’s new Thunderbolt port, allowing you to connect to a Thunderbolt Display, use target disk mode with another Thunderbolt-capable Mac, or connect Thunderbolt devices to your Mac without any trouble.


The Byte-dock is made from molded black plastic, which makes the device light and durable, but also makes it look a bit like a large shoe. To add to the Byte-dock’s awkward appearance, Techne has embossed their website on either side of the device, which looks rather tacky.

Another aspect that I found odd was the ports. The Byte-dock included the same ports found on my Mac (2 USB ports, FireWire 800, Ethernet, Thunderbolt, and audio jacks), but the placement of the ports was awkward. Most of the ports are on the back of the dock, requiring you to reach behind or move the dock to add or remove devices. This could have easily been improved by placing ports along the side of the device rather than just on the front and back.

I was also disappointed to discover that the Byte-dock did not include any additional ports. Despite the fact that the Byte-dock uses Thunderbolt technology, they did not take advantage of Thunderbolt’s ability to expand the number and type of ports included in the Mac. They also did not include a convenient way to attach and detach the Magsafe connector from the MacBook, requiring you to hook up power before sliding your MacBook into the dock.


While the Byte-dock serves a useful purpose, its usability is lessened by the awkward placement of its ports – It just isn’t as convenient as it should be to add or remove devices from the unit.

Another aspect that discouraged me was how tightly the Byte-dock gripped my MacBook. Inserting a MacBook into the dock is a breeze, but I felt uncomfortable the force required to remove my MacBook. Rather than including rigid sides, Techne might have been better served to include a release, allowing the sides to fold down for easier insertion and removal, and then clip back into place with a tight grip on your device.


While I have spelled out a number of gripes and concerns I have with the Byte-dock, in the end the device does do what its intended to – making it easy to dock or undock your MacBook without having to fuss with cables. Unfortunately, its high price and design issues significantly dampen what could otherwise be a terrific product experience.

While the materials, build, and overall quality of the product were acceptable, I felt that Techne did not produce as nice of a product as they could (and probably should) have for the money. Making better use of the Thunderbolt technology (including more ports), refining the design, rethinking the port placement, and finding a better way to secure your MacBook could significantly improve the product.

Rating & Information

Rating: 2.5/5[rating:2.5]

Considering the Byte-dock’s convenience and ease of use, and contrasting those with its price, design issues and aesthetic awkwardness, I award the Byte-dock a 2.5 out of 5, because the Byte-dock has only come half as far as it really needs to in order to be a truly excellent product.

The Byte-dock comes in three versions for the 13″, 15″ and 17″ MacBook Pro, respectively, and is available now for a retail price of £149 (about $238 USD). For more information, or to purchase the Byte-dock, visit Techne Industries’ product page on the web.


  • Convenience and ease of use
  • Strong, durable construction
  • Connects to your MacBook easily and securely
  • Includes a Thunderbolt-to-HDMI cable


  • Awkward port placement
  • Doesn’t make good use of Thunderbolt (not enough ports)
  • Aesthetically awkward – could use a visual update
  • Requires too much force to remove the MacBook