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What Is A MacBook Pro Dock?
Docking stations are special peripheral devices that are designed to enhance the utility of your Macbook. They are essentially communications hubs. They plug into your MacBook and drastically expand the range and number of ports that it has available to interface with various external devices.
They are also specifically designed to be out of the way. Most docking stations are designed to let your Macbook rest on their surface while it is docked so that it takes up minimal desk space. These docks also raise the computer off of the desk a little, which allows it to dissipate heat better.
Docks for the MacBook Pro, which are designed to accept MacBook Pros slid sideways into a slot, also exist. This essentially turns them into desktop machines, as they are made to be connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
In addition, many docking stations are designed to be compatible with both MacBooks and PC laptops, both for market profitability and adaptability on the part of the users.
A docking station can allow you to easier connect peripherals that were designed to be used with a different type of device than the one you have.
If you have a MacBook Pro with a Mini DisplayPort, for example, a docking station will allow you to connect an HDMI port to your MacBook even if you don’t have the corresponding port.
In general, docking stations are designed for people who like to connect a lot of peripheral devices to their machines, or for those who want to use their PC laptop or MacBook like a desktop computer when at a desk.
If you are one of these people, you will definitely want to sit through this article. It will go over the best docking stations and their features, prices, comparisons to other docks, and what to look for in a docking station in general.
CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock
The TS3 Plus is the fitting solution for Thunderbolt 3 Mac users who need to connect multiple devices to their laptops such as SD Card Readers, USB hard drives, dual monitors, digital audio devices, Thunderbolt 3 components, and more.
In addition to all this, the TS3 Plus is a solid option for Mac charging. CalDigit’s Thunderbolt 3 dock provides up to 87W power delivery for the users. With the TS3 Plus, a single Thunderbolt 3 port from your laptop expands to 15 ports! Power users needing as many ports as they can get hold of and the TS3 Plus. Whether you need multiple USB ports, dual 4K display connectivity, Digital Optical Audio out, or an SD Card Reader, the TS3 Plus packs everything into an incredibly small unit.
If you're a photographer or a videographer, transferring data from SD cards to computers has become an integral part of any project, especially digital photography and 4K videography. TS3 Plus’ SD card reader supports SD 4.0 and UHS-II speeds with a maximum theoretical throughput of 312MB/s, which means that transferring data from SD, SDHC, or SDXC cards gets done in no time.
With the TS3 Plus, users have the option to connect dual extended 4K 60Hz monitors or a single 5K 60Hz monitor. The versatile DisplayPort connector can be used to connect to any monitor through the use of a DisplayPort cable.
TOTU USB Type C Adapter Docking Station
The TOTU USB C Hub is specially designed for MacBook Pro 2020. It expands the two USB C ports on MacBook Pro into eight. The hub comes with dual HDMI 4K ports, Type C charging port, three USB-A 3.0 ports, and SD and TF card reader slots. The Hub basically meets all your needs and expands your MacBook capabilities while keeping it convenient for taking it with you on-the-go.
The TOTU USB C Hub has support for triple display on Mac OS. This allows you to mirror or expand the display of your MacBook Pro to three TVs, monitors, or projectors with resolution up to 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 at 30Hz).
The three USB 3.0 ports that come with the hub support data transfer at speeds of up to 5Gbps. They enable you to connect three peripherals simultaneously including keyboard, mouse, hard drive. It is also backward compatible with USB 2.0 devices. The SD slot makes it simple to read the micro SD memory cards of cell phones, and the TF helps read the cards of cameras at the same time. The Hub supports SD memory cards and TF memory cards up to 512GB in size. Definitely an ideal tool for photographers and designers.
The USB C HUB supports PD charging up to 87W. It can charge your MacBook Pro at full speed while connecting multiple peripherals or transferring data. One thing to keep in mind is that, while it is charging and conducting high-speed transmission simultaneously, the hub generates heat. The aluminum alloy case has decent heat dissipation so it gives a warm feeling to the hub, however, it does not affect regular use.
LandingZone Docking Station Model A1707
The LandingZone Model A1707 docking station is specifically designed to fit the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and is not compatible with older MacBook Pro models with Retina Displays.
This beast of a docking station comes equipped with SIXTEEN PORTS! If you’re the kind of person that has to connect their MacBook Pro with every peripheral device on the planet, you can do no wrong buying a dock like this.
- 3 USB 3.1 Type-C Ports (data only, no video)
- 2 USB 3.1 Type-A ports (data only, but does allow video)
- 1 USB Type-A Port (data and 1.5A high-speed charging)
- 1 USB Type-C Passthrough port, an HDMI port (3840p x 2160p resolution @ 30Hz)
- Mini DisplayPort at the same resolution (cannot be used at the same time as HDMI port)
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- SD card slot
- Micro SD card slot
- Two-way audio port
- Kensington security slot
- 96W LandingZone Power Adaptor
- 3-color LED status indicator light
This is an extremely powerful and adaptable docking station, able to provide your MacBook Pro w/ Touch Bar with an entire science lab’s worth of port connectivity. You’ll never run out of space for ports again!
This dock also has the added benefit of serving as a rest for your MacBook Pro. The front rests on the dock and connects to the MacBook via the aforementioned 96W Power Adapter, which also powers the dock.
When the MacBook is mounted on the dock, it is raised off of the surface of a desk by up to an inch and a half. This improves the level of airflow in and around your MacBook, allowing it to stay cool for longer periods and under a more strenuous workload.
The LandingZone Model A1707 docking station is designed to turn a 15-inch MacBook Pro w/ Touch Bar into a versatile, stationary workstation. It can also turn this same model of MacBook into a powerful media center able to connect with many different media devices at once.
If either of these two applications is something that you’re looking to use your MacBook for, then this docking station is an excellent choice. There also exist models of this dock that are compatible with the 13-inch MacBook Pro w/ Touch Bar and without Touch Bar.
Docking stations are designed to provide your PC laptop or MacBook with much more versatility and connectivity than before. They’re designed to enhance the processing power and utility of your computer, making it a more efficient workstation or media center.
When you decide to buy a dock, it is best to buy one that suits your needs and intended uses for your machine. Look for the features, port options, number of ports, and interface style that suits your preferences and needs.
The TOTU hub has been the best Macbook accessory purchase I’ve made. With the amount of things I carry around that need USB input, it is very handy. It’s great for photographers as well with its SD card reader. Highly recommended! I really like the LandingZone dock as well, but I’ll have to sift through the reviews first to see if there are any common complaints.
I’m also intrigued by the LandingZone dock but the reviews and price leave me hesitant to make a purchase. I would really like a dock with all of those ports to make up for lack of ports on the MacBook. I use a dongle right now but it doesn’t have enough ports.
The CalDigit TS3 is what I have! For my home setup which includes dual monitors, speakers, a couple USB sticks and other stuff, it’s perfect. The price is quite high but it feels like a very premium device and it works great. Also, it’s very small and easy to carry around if that matters to you.