A unique way to connect your MacBook to other devices.
One of the blessings of the Apple MacBook Pro is also somewhat of a curse. It’s nice to be minimalist when it comes to how many ports the machine has, but it is also detrimental to how easy it is to connect peripherals to your machine. I’ve struggled with this for 4 years now – ever since I switched to a MacBook Pro that only had Thunderbolt/USB-C ports on it. Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve set up a semi-permanent workstation in my home office. That area has a wired-in docking station. It’s great for when I’m at my desk, but what about when I eventually have the opportunity to work from our office location or even a public coffee shop? Before I had that opportunity I had to use workarounds for connecting to accessories and I ended up with an endless sea of dongles and adapters. Fortunately, LINEDOCK is available for users like me.
LINEDOCK is a 9-port power dock that is designed to simplify working conditions and productivity with your MacBook Pro. Made of aircraft-grade aluminum, the dock can be used for remote work or while you are at your desk. It offers up to 8 additional hours of battery life for your MacBook Pro as a portable power bank and you have all the modern connection ports available including (but not limited to) HDMI, USB-C, USB-A, and an SD Card Reader. LINEDOCK is only about 0.5 inches tall and weighs around 2 pounds. At first glance, it looks like a closed MacBook Pro. This device is made with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in mind, but because it connects using USB-C, you can also connect an iPad Pro (or other USB-C compatible computer). It’s capable of up to 60W of power delivery to a connected computer (up to 100W of passthrough power across all connected devices). It’s 99% plastic-free and incredibly user-friendly. Users also have the option of using LINEDOCK as an external storage device, too. There are three variations of the device — 0GB, 256GB, or 1TB SSD onboard storage.
|Ports||USB-C: 3 USB: 3 HDMI: 1 Mini DisplayPort: 1 SD Card Reader: 1|
|Data Speed||USB-C: USB 3.1 Gen 1 (5GB/s) USB: USB3.0 (5GB/s)|
|Battery||Capacity: 19,350mAh / 71.61Wh Power Output: 60W Airplane: OK|
|Charging||Standard USB: 1.5A (slow) USB-C Power Adapter: 20W-100W (best) Recharging time: 2H (with a 20W-100W MacBook Power Adapter|
|Size & Weight||Width: 11.97′ (30.41 cm) Depth: 8.36′ in (21.24 cm) Height: 0.35′ in (0.9 cm) Weight: 2 lbs (912g)|
|Storage||Capacity: 0GB / 256GB / 1TB Physical dimensions: M2 2280 Sata: Gen 3.0 Encryption: AES-256|
|Video Support||HDMI: 2.0 / 4K / 60Fps (Mini) Display Port 1.4 / 4K / 60FPS USB-C: DisplayPort 1.4 / 4K / 60Fps|
|Power||60W from battery (L & R port) 100W pass-through (from central port) 196.5W equivalent with Power Allocation Function|
|Electrical & Operating||Recommended Operating Temperature: 50-95F (10-35C) Relative Humidity: 0%-90% (non-condensing) Operating Altitude: Tested up to 10,000ft.|
|What’s in the Box||LINEDOCK: x 1 U-Cable: x 1|
The first thing I obviously noticed was how the LINEDOCK looked. As described above, it really does look like a closed MacBook computer. I have the Space Gray model and the color is spot-on with my MacBook Pro. From the get-go, I’ve been intrigued by this device because of how it has the potential of changing my workflow – especially when I’m working remotely. The LINEDOCK comes with a U-Cable so that you can easily connect your MacBook Pro and LINEDOCK without having a long cable strewn across your workspace. The design is quite unique and it certainly provides you with a minimalist option for connecting the two devices. I, however, ran into some issues with it.
When I first took the LINEDOCK out of the package, I read through the instructions, charged the LINEDOCK, and then used the U-Cable to connect the MacBook Pro and the dock. My MacBook Pro’s battery immediately showed that it was charging. The first thing I attempted was to connect to an external monitor using an HDMI cable. First of all, I was using a standard HDMI cable and it was a very tight fit on the LINEDOCK’s HDMI port. After a few seconds, the monitor finally detected my MacBook Pro, but it registered a green screen before showing the secondary desktop of the laptop. I closed the MacBook’s lid to see if closed-clamshell mode would work with the external monitor/LINEDOCK combo and when I did the monitor went to grey.
Thinking the connection wasn’t going to work, I unplugged the HDMI cable from the LINEDOCK and opened my laptop’s lid. The screen was black, but the keys were still lit up. The computer was locked up. I had to do a hard restart in order to get the laptop functioning again. After the computer finished booting up, I tried to plug it back into the LINEDOCK using the U-Cable again. There was no connection that was registered. The first sign was that my laptop wasn’t showing that the battery was charging. I tried plugging the U-Cable into the opposite side of the laptop. There was still no response.
Fearing that maybe something went really wrong when my computer locked up, I grabbed a USB-C cable and plugged it into the dock and the computer. The familiar ‘ding’ of the battery charging sounded. It was then that I also realized that the LINEDOCK’s internal storage device showed up as a connected drive on my laptop’s desktop. That hadn’t occurred with the U-Cable. Thinking the U-Cable might be faulty I tried to use it to connect an external battery to a power cable, which should have started the battery charging and it did not. While this was a little bit of a set-back and a little bit disappointing, it didn’t stop me from enjoying what the LINEDOCK could do.
After the U-Cable incident I didn’t have any other issues with external devices. The monitor connected just fine and I even used an external keyboard and mouse with the LINEDOCK. Since the dock has an internal storage device, I did run a speed test on it. The results were 236.6 Mb/s (write) and 246.2 Mb/s (read). When I first connected the LINEDOCK to my laptop and it was charging properly (with the USB-C cable), both the dock and the computer warmed up quite a bit. LINEDOCK’s FAQs state that during peak usage, it may warm up. It also states that when in stack mode (underneath your laptop). Even though that was pointed out, I think it’s important to note that the LINEDOCK was designed to work in tandem with your MacBook Pro and for it to rest beneath it. With that in mind, I hope that maybe a future version will include better cooling options.
The LINEDOCK is a really well-designed accessory for MacBooks. Not only does it fit the Apple aesthetic, but it also provides external ports and storage that ensure that you don’t have to plug in half a dozen dongles just to achieve 100% connectivity. I was disappointed that the U-Cable ceased to work before I was done testing, but I was able to make the process work just fine with a standard USB-C cable. LINEDOCK has a lot to offer, but it is also a costly investment. At the time this review is being published, the 13” LINEDOCK is being offered for $399 from linedock.co. Its original price is $419. With that sizable price tag, it will surely give a potential customer pause before completing the purchase.