Docking stations for the Mac are few and far between, leaving those who need such functionality in a bit of a bind. Following our previous review of the Byte-Dock, we’ll now take a look at another option: the Henge Dock ($59-$75, link).
The Henge Dock is a very simple solution for docking the MacBook Pro, made up of a sturdy plastic stand and a series of cables, which are secured into the stand to allow for easy insertion and removal of your MacBook.
With it’s simple design and its clean, minimalist appearance, the Henge dock is among the more Apple-like dock designs in appearance, and looks great on a desk as a compliment to other Apple gear.
While the Henge Dock’s simplicity and appearance initially seem promising, the Henge Dock unfortunately suffers from a variety of design problems.
First, the initial setup of the Henge Dock is very taxing, and took much more time and effort than I liked. Threading each cable through the appropriate hole and fastening them in place is an absolute chore, and if you don’t place your MacBook in the dock before securing the cables, you’ll have a difficult time inserting and removing your MacBook in the future, as the ports won’t line up quite right.
Another concern I had was with how the Henge Dock handled the MagSafe connector. The dock comes with a variety of clips to secure your MagSafe into the dock, but it’s difficult to secure the clips, since the MagSafe connector is magnetic, and every time the MagSafe snapped itself into my Mac, I had to begin securing the MagSafe connector all over again.
My final gripe against the Henge Dock is its obvious branding – the product name is hideously plastered right on the face of the dock. I hate it when companies feel the need to plaster their company name on their products, and advertise to you after you’ve already made a purchase – especially when it’s not done tastefully.
While the Henge Dock works well for people that rarely dock or undock their MacBook, it doesn’t work very well for people that frequently take their MacBook from place to place for a variety of reasons.
After enduring the considerable setup process for the dock, I quickly found that alignment of the cables you secured can slip very easily, and when they do, it can be a pain to get your MacBook back into the dock once it’s removed. I also found that removing your MagSafe adapter is almost as much of a pain as installing it in the first place. Unless you have a spare power adapter, this can become extremely aggravating very quickly.
I also found myself concerned about inserting and removing my MacBook Pro from the dock – the Henge Dock is just a piece of plastic, and contains no padding of any kind. After adding and removing my MacBook just a few times, I noticed a mark building up on the casing, which left me concerned about posible long-term scratching and damage in the future.
I was also especially disappointed that the Henge Dock does not come with a Thunderbolt/Mini Displayport cable. What’s the point of a dock that doen’t include everything needed to perform its main purpose (connecting to an external display)? Including such a cable, or allowing customers to choose one of the various adapters (DVI, HDMI, etc) with the dock would significantly add to its value.
While the Henge Dock is the least expensive docking solution available for the MacBook Pro, its design problems, frustrating setup experience, the difficulty involved with removing the MagSafe adapter, and more clearly show that cheaper isn’t always better.
It seems as though Henge Docks was more concerned about cutting costs than about providing the best possible user experience, and their product has suffered tremendously as a result.
Rating & Information
Considering its clean and minimal appearance, its low price, and its basic usefulness, and contrasting those with design issues and the fact that it doesn’t include all necessary cables, I award the Henge Dock a three out of five.
- Clean, minimal appearance
- Inexpensive ($59-$75)
- Includes all necessary tools, and most necessary cables
- Inconvenient setup process
- Difficult to install/remove MagSafe adapter
- Cables can easily shift, making it difficult to dock your MacBook
- No padding inside, could damage your MacBook in the long run
- Doesn’t include Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort cable
- Obvious branding detracts from appearance