Hands-on: LandingZone's Docking Station grants plethora of USB ports to MacBook Pro with T...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2017
LandingZone's new USB 3.1 type-C Docking Station for the 13- or 15-inch 2016 or 2017 MacBook Pro doesn't cut corners and gives multiple USB ports and a SD card reader back to the user.




We've looked at a lot of Thunderbolt 3 ports, all with USB-A and video. What we haven't looked at yet, are genuine docking rigs, designed to insert your machine into.

While not a Duo Dock of old with a VHS-like mechanism, the idea of an enclosure for a computer granting more ports is similar. With the LandingZone Docking Station, users line up a Touch Bar-equipped MacBook Pro with the two USB-C ports on the left and one on the right, and push a lever on the back of the Docking Station to completely make the connection.




After the connection, all the ports in the dock are available. Plus, the underside of the laptop is more exposed, giving what is in essence a massive heatsink better airflow.




The plastic assembly gives the user a microSD and SD card reader, a Kensington lock slot, Gigabit Ethernet, a headphone jack, three USB 3.0 type-A ports, three USB 3.1 type-C ports on a hub, a stand-alone HDMI port capable of 4K resolution at 30Hz or 1080p resolution at 60Hz, and a combination HDMI or MiniDisplayPort capable of 4K at 60Hz.




On the right side of the dock is a pass-through USB-C port -- specifically not a Thunderbolt 3 pass-through. In a scalloped cut-out, the MacBook Pro's Thunderbolt 3 port is exposed -- making it the only Thunderbolt 3 port accessible to the user after the computer is inserted.




All of this is powered by a 97W power adapter, which supplies 60W of charging power. This is pretty good, but not quite enough for a 15-inch MacBook Pro to stay fully charged when under heavy load.

The USB-3.1 type-C LandingZone Docking Station for the 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar retails for $299 -- comparable with most Thunderbolt 3 docks which have less connectivity, but also smaller appetite for port consumption. A version for the 13-inch MacBook Pro with function keys is coming soon, according to LandingZone.

AppleInsider is using the dock on a daily basis for testing right now. We will discuss our thoughts on the dock, plus speed testing of attached peripherals and 4K display examination in a future piece.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    neilmneilm Posts: 899member
    Lots of ports — not sure what I'd do with them all, but still lots — but the implementation is clunky and complex compared to a conventional TB3 dock that connects everything with one single TB3 cable. For the same $300 or so you can have an OWC or Elgato dock tucked behind your MBP monitor, and it takes no more than scant seconds to connect/disconnect.

    I used to think that multiple USB-A ports was an essential, but now that Apple (and others) offer good wireless keyboards and mice that seems no longer to be the case.
    randominternetpersoncurtis hannah
  • Reply 2 of 19
    HeliBumHeliBum Posts: 122member
    Neither the Landing Zone dock nor the OWC dock is a complete connectivity system. The Landing Zone dock lacks a Firewire 800 port whereas the OWC dock lacks an HDMI port.
  • Reply 3 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    HeliBum said:
    Neither the Landing Zone dock nor the OWC dock is a complete connectivity system. The Landing Zone dock lacks a Firewire 800 port whereas the OWC dock lacks an HDMI port.
    The FW800 port is a niche technology at this point and has been for a few years -- but I understand why AI readers might want it. There's a reason why it's only on the OWC dock.

    A DisplayPort to HDMI cable is $11 at Amazon.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 4 of 19
    neilmneilm Posts: 899member
    There are probably few people who care too much about FW800 any more, but for those of us who still do there's the OWC Dock. I've got lots of FW800 drives, but honestly they're getting old enough that many of them are ripe for replacement anyway.

    For office use I don't much mind what kind of video connector is on a dock. Most monitors offer multiple connectivity, and DisplayPort/Mini DisplayPort/HDMI/whatever adapter cables are readily available. However many HDMI ports aren't yet v2.0 and therefore don't support 4K at over 30 Hz. Something else is needed for that, hence DP on docks that support 4K. Sorting out the appropriate video connections for a dock can sometimes be a pain, but it's a one-time effort and you're done.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 5 of 19
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Great, but even better: make it a standalone dock for any Mac. With eSATA and FireWire ports.
    edited October 2017
  • Reply 6 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    appex said:
    Great, but even better: make it a standalone dock for any Mac. With eSATA and FireWire ports.
    This is about the dumbest idea I have heard this week.
    GeorgeBMac
  • Reply 7 of 19
    appex said:
    Great, but even better: make it a standalone dock for any Mac. With eSATA and FireWire ports.
    This is about the dumbest idea I have heard this week.
    What about Compact Flash cards, ADB and an XLR socket?
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    martinxyz said:
    appex said:
    Great, but even better: make it a standalone dock for any Mac. With eSATA and FireWire ports.
    This is about the dumbest idea I have heard this week.
    What about Compact Flash cards, ADB and an XLR socket?
    Add AAUI, and HDI-45, and you've got a deal!
  • Reply 9 of 19
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,006member
    I heard somewhere that there’s these amazing technologies called WiFi and Bluetooth.  Can I be a port for them as well?
  • Reply 10 of 19
    How not to make a dock:

    1. Make a dock for a 15"
    2. Don't make dock powerful enough to charge a 15"
    3. Don't put Thunderbolt 3 in dock for a computer that only has TB3 ports.

    Seriously who designed this dock and thought it was a good idea?
    curtis hannah
  • Reply 11 of 19
    anomeanome Posts: 1,461member

    So this is the same price as the OWC TB3 dock (and comparable others), doesn't have Thunderbolt, and can't do Power Delivery for the 15 inch. I don't like to disparage things like this, as people often have different uses for them to me, but this one doesn't make sense.


    [EDIT] Just checked MacFixit, who distribute the OWC dock in Australia, and they have the LandingZone dock for A$10 more than the OWC dock. So that's a definite no from me.

    edited October 2017
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    anome said:

    So this is the same price as the OWC TB3 dock (and comparable others), doesn't have Thunderbolt, and can't do Power Delivery for the 15 inch. I don't like to disparage things like this, as people often have different uses for them to me, but this one doesn't make sense.


    [EDIT] Just checked MacFixit, who distribute the OWC dock in Australia, and they have the LandingZone dock for A$10 more than the OWC dock. So that's a definite no from me.

    There are a couple of use cases. We'll address them in the full review. For sure, it's not for everybody, though.
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Seems expensive & looks like a kludge. I saw a thing called a HyperDrive Hub for USB type C Macs for $99 at Best Buy the other day that does most of what this does for 1/3rd the price. 1 HDMI, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 1 USB C, 2 USB 3.1, 1 SD and 1 MicroSD
  • Reply 14 of 19
    JanNLJanNL Posts: 310member
    martinxyz said:
    appex said:
    Great, but even better: make it a standalone dock for any Mac. With eSATA and FireWire ports.
    This is about the dumbest idea I have heard this week.
    What about Compact Flash cards, ADB and an XLR socket?
    Good idea, ADB, to connect the best keyboard Apple ever made  :)
    And can I ask for at least 1 SCSI port, have some excellent hard drives laying around  ;)
  • Reply 15 of 19
    I have a Landing Zone for an older MacBook and love it. In fact it's standard issue at my company. I use it in my office with my monitor, hard drive, keyboard and mouse connected. You can dock and remove the computer in less than 5 seconds. Most importantly, I use this with a Kensington lock attached when I go to lunch. Nothing will prevent theft, but this certainly deters it. I've found it to be essential for my use and one of the best solutions for my older MacBook Pro. This new model seems to be even more useful with additional ports, and the fact that they new Pros have so few legacy ports. Also, the accompanying charger will charge the computer unless all ports are being used simultaneously, an unlikely occurrence.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,254administrator
    phil28 said:
    I have a Landing Zone for an older MacBook and love it. In fact it's standard issue at my company. I use it in my office with my monitor, hard drive, keyboard and mouse connected. You can dock and remove the computer in less than 5 seconds. Most importantly, I use this with a Kensington lock attached when I go to lunch. Nothing will prevent theft, but this certainly deters it. I've found it to be essential for my use and one of the best solutions for my older MacBook Pro. This new model seems to be even more useful with additional ports, and the fact that they new Pros have so few legacy ports. Also, the accompanying charger will charge the computer unless all ports are being used simultaneously, an unlikely occurrence.
    If you engage the onboard GPU for nearly anything 60W power delivery is insufficient on this new model -- but will obviously cut down the time to battery depletion.
  • Reply 17 of 19
    Saw this article just a few minutes after doing another fruitless search for a USB-C hub that had actual… USB-C ports.

    I've never seen the tech world work so hard to sabotage a new standard.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    anomeanome Posts: 1,461member
    Seems expensive & looks like a kludge. I saw a thing called a HyperDrive Hub for USB type C Macs for $99 at Best Buy the other day that does most of what this does for 1/3rd the price. 1 HDMI, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 1 USB C, 2 USB 3.1, 1 SD and 1 MicroSD
    I got the Hyperdrive on their Kickstarter, and it works fine. It doesn't have Ethernet, and there's a known issue with the HDMI port (won't take adapters, HDMI to HDMI only), but had no problems with it.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    anome said:
    Seems expensive & looks like a kludge. I saw a thing called a HyperDrive Hub for USB type C Macs for $99 at Best Buy the other day that does most of what this does for 1/3rd the price. 1 HDMI, 1 Thunderbolt 3, 1 USB C, 2 USB 3.1, 1 SD and 1 MicroSD
    I got the Hyperdrive on their Kickstarter, and it works fine. It doesn't have Ethernet, and there's a known issue with the HDMI port (won't take adapters, HDMI to HDMI only), but had no problems with it.
    I've been very tempted for this, but I think they just released Hyperdrive Ultra as well, with Ethernet and display port, but it is limited to 60Watt power delivery for $140. So I've been contemplating it.
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