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I have been looking for a good Macbook docking solution for months

The Belkin Thunderbolt Express Dock doesn't seem like a good option based on the reviews on Amazon.com.

I also noticed that there is kickstarter project called ZenDock which is not going to be publicly available till Q2, 2014.

Are there any other good solutions to this problem?

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A few months ago my organization made the decision to make docking stations a standard item to be ordered with all Macs. We've evaluated the Belkin Thunderbolt dock, the Matrox DS1, the Kwikdock, the LandingZone docks and had previously used Henge docks.

The Henge docks proved to be a constant pain for both users and our support team. The connections in the bottom of the dock frequently came loose, meaning the end user would lose USB connectivity, network connectivity, etc even though from their perspective the Mac appeared to be docked correctly.

The Kwikdock didn't have the build quality we desired.

The Belkin Thunderbolt dock and Matrox DS1 dock are both very similar in that they're a hub that you connect all of your connections to, then connect to your Mac via a thunderbolt cable. The downsides we found to these two were cost the necessity to order a thunderbolt cable in addition to the dock. Our end users are also much more accustomed to the traditional docks offered by Dell and other PC manufacturers, were you click it into place and go. This is the same reason we didn't pre-order a Zendock.

We ended up going with the LandingZone. It offers the traditional docking style that our users are accustomed to, the build quality seems to be very good, it's much cheaper than the alternatives and can be further reduced in cost by ordering in bulk. It DOES require a separate driver for network connectivity but it's very lightweight and they seem to be committed to providing updates in a timely fashion.

I've deployed about 25 of the LandingZones so far and aside from two support calls where it hadn't been locked completely in place I've only heard good things from my end users. We have yet to receive our 13" Retina MBP docks but we do have a tracking number so I'm confident they'll arrive soon.

Hope that helps!

  • LandingZone definitely opens my eyes, it looks like a promising solution. I am curious about the Belkin Thunderbolt dock and Matrox DS1. From your experience, which one would you recommend just between these two? Thanks! – David Liu Apr 15 '14 at 20:09
  • @DavidLiu - My only complaint with the Matrox was that it would intermittently, although frequently, have scrambled video for a few seconds when first connecting or waking from sleep. The Belkin, which I currently use at my desk right now (the Mac admin doesn't get the best toys), has alleviated this but it does have a 3-4 second period of black screen when you first connect or wake from sleep. – Mr Rabbit Apr 15 '14 at 20:13
  • @DavidLiu - Beyond that the Belkin also has an additional thunderbolt port, which I use for connecting to my external display. The Matrox only has the one port, meaning we had to order display specific models for our employees, which was another tick against it. The Belkin also seems to be a nicer fit and finish. – Mr Rabbit Apr 15 '14 at 20:14
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Most of the docks I know are very similar to the belkin one. Take a look at this article: http://www.macworld.com/article/2099483/thunderbolt-docks-review-the-best-way-to-connect-your-macbook-to-your-other-devices.html

This one from Hengedocks appears to be an interesting solution, with 3 thunderbolt ports instead of 2 and plenty of other connection, unfortunately it's not yet available: http://hengedocks.com/order_horizontal_dock.php

  • How you tried Belkin thunderbolt dock before? – David Liu Apr 15 '14 at 20:10
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ZenDock is still wrapping up production and have been keeping everyone in the loop on their progress via their blog: http://www.zenboxx.blogspot.com/

  • Good to know they are keeping up speed. – David Liu Apr 15 '14 at 20:06
  • Thing about the ZenDock that puts it in a different category than the Belkin, Caldigit et al as a Thunderbolt dock/hub is that, unless I'm mistaken, it's mostly for cable organization, that the Thunderbolt is only a passthrough. Taking your Thunderbolt output and giving you formats you don't have natively is the attraction of of the other kind. Also worth noting is the fact that a dock that's custom designed to fit your current laptop's side ports will likely not fit your next. – user77005 Apr 29 '14 at 16:45

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