Docking stations are nice if you use the laptop primarily at one location or have lots of things to plug into it that don’t move — input devices, webcam, monitor. This leaves the BookEndz with a good chance to market third party docking stations. This is a hard thing for the company to manufacture since the laptops don’t just have a docking port like most laptops that have first party docking stations. They are left with plugging into the external ports and then just moving them to the outside their device.
BookEndz still have some options that users can work with, though. With their MacBook docking station, they have a USB hub inside, so you can have 6 devices plugged in, while the MacBook only has two USB ports on the side.
The docking station has all the original laptop ports plus the mini DVI is converted to either a DVI or a VGA. You can only use one at a time. If you plug in both only the VGA is recognized.
The BookEndz also use a sliding switch on the side to plug in the speaker/headphone port. This is important since the MacBook enables the port based on a sensor that detects something plugged into the port. When the headphones or speakers are plugged in the laptops speakers are disabled.
The switch on the Bookendz unit I was given was a very sticky. It is hard to move from plugged in and unplugged. This will loosen over time with usage. The company said that the one I was sent may be an early model and the new ones are looser and easier to switch to plugged in, or unplugged. They do make it easy enough to just plug everything in at once.
I like that when I use a BookEndz I can go from standard laptop to having a big monitor, and normal keyboard. Using a USB video card, it’s possible for a Macbook to now have two large monitors plugged in, and then it’s easy take it away when you need to go.
One part that makes it hard with the newer Apple laptops is the much toted power plug. Apple does not appear to let any third party companies make Mag-Safe adapters. BookEndz have a space for the original power bricks to be used. This could have been done better. They seemed to have decided to make it easy for the user to unplug the power brick to take with the laptop, instead of leaving the power brick in the docking station. This means every time you go to unplug the docking station, not only do you unplug the docking station, but also the power adapter. This also requires sitting the docking station on top of the wire so it will all sit flat. I think they should have made the docking station hold the power adapters more snugly. That way you can just plug everything in at once.
The design of the plastic casing is fairly smooth and flowing like the MacBooks, but the devices have touches here and there that look more hobbyist.
Overall I think it’s a very good and useful product for what it does. I think it beats just plugging in each port separately every time I get to work. For what they had to work with I think they did a great job. I just wish Apple thought of this sooner.
By the way: Because of a reporting error, we removed the line “Apple hasn’t ever produced a docking station for their laptops.” It was incorrect.