LandingZone Dock for MacBook Pro review

LandingZone Dock for MacBook Pro review

I love to be able to take my 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with me when I hit the road, but when I'm in the office, I prefer to have it connected to other devices like an external display, Time Machine backup, speakers, and other peripherals. Connecting all those cables produces a lot of sideways sprawl and cable ugliness. Infiniwing's LandingZone Dock for MacBook Pro cleans all that up and provides a secure place to keep it, besides.

The Dock is made of white polycarbonate and clamps in place on either side of the MacBook Pro, giving it a bit of rise on the back end - about three quarters of an inch. It's nice to get a bit of lift for laptop's display. It's very similar to a product that they've already produced for the MacBook Air — the MacBook Pro version just became available in January (the 15-inch model is available now; the 13-inch model is coming this month).

As you close a handle on the back of the Dock it snaps in place on either side of the MacBook Pro - you need to align it carefully with the HDMI and USB port on the right side of your laptop, the MagSafe 2 port and Thunderbolt port on the left (you thread the MagSafe 2 adapter itself through a guide in the side. (Too far out of alignment and you'll know it, as you won't be able to close the clamp.) Once the Dock is clamped you'll see a bright white LED pop up on the right side to let you know that everything's working. Because it clamps in place, this dock won't work if you keep your MacBook Pro in a hard shell case.

On the backplane of the Dock you'll find an HDMI port, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, a headphone jack, and a passthrough Thunderbolt port (so it'll operate at Thunderbolt speeds on original 15-inch MacBook Pros and Thunderbolt 2 speeds on late 2013 models). All the ports face the back while your MacBook is in use, enabling you to get cables out of the way while you're working. So this more than just moves ports to the back for cleaner cable arrangements - it provides you with expansion capabilities you don't already have, like Gigabit Ethernet and additional USB ports.

LandingZone Dock for MacBook Pro review

What's more, the ports that aren't blocked by the interface - the second Thunderbolt port and left-side USB 3.0 port, the headphone jack and the SDXC card slot - all remain accessible, so you can attach additional devices if you wish.

An included power adapter powers the USB hub, so you can connect multiple devices to your Dock that might require on-board power, such as some hard drives. Two recesses in the top of the Dock fit the rubber feet on bottom of your MacBook Pro, and rubber feet on the bottom of the Dock offer some additional desktop grip to keep your MacBook Pro from sliding around when it's in place.

If you're concerned about your MacBook Pro growing feet and wandering off, fear not. LandingZone has installed a Kensington lock on the left-hand side, which keeps the Dock securely in place (you can't unlock it and free the MacBook Pro with that lock engaged).

The Dock is designed to work with any 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display (Model A1398).

The good

  • Adds more USB ports and a Gigabit Ethernet jack
  • Kensington lock offers added security
  • Adds a bit of lift in the back

The bad

  • Won't allow you to use a hard shell protective case
  • MacBook Pro needs to rest just so to clamp in place

The bottom line

Anything that reduces clutter on my desk is welcome, and it's a lot easier to put my MacBook Pro in a LandingZone Dock than it is it connect all the cables and cords I use to connect my monitor and other peripherals to my laptop. At $199, it's a premium-priced laptop dock, but if you're looking for something to reduce cable clutter and improve security for your MacBook Pro, I'd strongly recommend giving this a look.

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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There are 10 comments. Add yours.

Solamar says:

I had to decide between this and CalDigit's Thunderbolt Station. Their are benefits to both I guess.

I like the flexibility of not having to lay my laptop down flat on my desk, which is another negative I think to the LandingZone. I already had a Twelve South BookArc stand and I use 2 24" monitors mounted on a Bretford MobilePro Desk Mount.

If I used my Laptop screen at my desk, I might have considered this. I'm very happy with my Thunderbolt Station though.

Heckface says:

I'm in the market for a dock/port replicator currently and have been leaning towards the CalDigit station. Thanks for the review, Peter. Been looking at this as well but I just pulled the trigger on an mStand Rain so think either the CalDigit or Belkin (only considering since it's on sale for $150 currently at some stores) replicator will be my best bet.

Peter Cohen says:

FWIW, I looked at the CalDigit Thunderbolt Station a couple of months ago.

Heckface says:

Was sure to read that review when I was checking in to them. Thanks as always!

tool022611 says:

I was really looking forward to buying this, then I seen the price. Ouch....

erikbock says:

I'm with you there. $200 for something I really don't need. My Mac is for portability not a desktop replacement.

tape_ says:

The Bad:

* No FireWire port

Jerry Suppan says:

Ha-ha. Firewire is dead (or will be) on Mac computers, as are DVD drives (and BDs which never started in the first place).

Peter Cohen says:

FireWire is unquestionably a "legacy" interface at this point but I didn't consider its absence to be a particular flaw of the dock. After all, the dock still leaves a Thunderbolt port free, so you can hook up a FireWire adapter there if you really need it.

asuperstarr says:

Great information on the product !

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