Review: LandingZone Docking Station provides a security and port solution for the MacBook ...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 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 -- and AppleInsider has been using it daily for the last two months.




While not a Duo Dock of old with a VHS-like mechanism, the idea of an full 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 CPU and GPU load.

Speed testing

Using a USB-C SSD RAID capable of saturating a 10gbit connection, we tested the USB-A and USB-C ports. We don't believe that the ports are UASP -- and speed is slightly hampered as a result.

Using our 100GB test file suites that we've used before with one with files all greater than 3GB and the other half large files, and the other half small ones, we were able to write to the array at 265MB/sec on USB-A, and 416MB/sec on USB-C.

This isn't a major problem for most home or educational users, but it might give "professional" users hell-bent on maximum speed pause.

However, the pass-through USB-C port on the right hand side of the dock as you face the open computer is a bit faster, transferring at about 550MB/sec. Obviously, the un-connected remaining Thunderbolt 3 port moves data at native speed -- but in our two months of testing, we reserved that port for our external GPUs.

The SD Card slot we couldn't get to transfer any faster than 51MB/sec.

Video connection


The USB 3.1 Type C Landing Zone Docking Station, as with most Thunderbolt 3 docks, allows for multiple displays to be connected -- two to be precise. One HDMI port can technically do 4K, but only at 30Hz. The other connection uses USB-C alternate modes, and has physical connectors for a 4K display at 60Hz either on HDMI or Mini DisplayPort.

But, the fact that the pair of display connectors capable of 4K60 use USB-C alternate mode as opposed to a controller chip brings up an edge case -- many older Mini DisplayPort adapters for VGA or DVI displays don't work on the connector. It shouldn't be a major issue for most unless you're adapting so-called legacy displays with older connector types.

Who wants one?

The best feature of the LandingZone Docking Station is the Kensington Security Slot. This allows for the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C MacBook Pro to be used in a public environment with legacy connectivity -- and be secured from casual theft.

However, we'd like to see this go one step further. While the Landing Zone Docking Station allows for the Kensington Lock Slot to be used, in conjunction with that we'd like to see a screw-hole or similar way to fasten the device to a surface to further lean-into the security feature that sets it apart from "conventional" Thunderbolt 3 docks -- because the unit's $299 price doesn't.

Docks as far as the eye can see

There were just a couple of Thunderbolt 2 docks -- there just wasn't a lot of need for them. With the removal of "legacy" ports from the MacBook Pro, all of a sudden the concept had a renaissance.

If you need a solution that grants physical security for a MacBook Pro, in conjunction with multiple displays, USB-A ports, and a MicroSD slot then the LandingZone Docking Station is the only game in town.

If you don't hit all the checkboxes, though, there's no real reason to select it over any of the other Thunderbolt 3 dock options. But, if you're precisely that target consumer, then AppleInsider gives the LandingZone Docking Station:

4 out of 5

Otherwise, look to other Thunderbolt 3 options that will give you the same port expansion in one, smaller package -- and only one occupied port.

image

Where to buy

The LandingZone Thunderbolt 3 Docking Station is available for Apple's 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar for $299.00 with free expedited shipping to the contiguous U.S. with no tax collected on orders shipped outside NY and NJ.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 462member
    Nice - an extra $300 on top the $2000 you already spent to get the ports that Apple should have included in the first place
  • Reply 2 of 13
    RacerhomieXRacerhomieX Posts: 95unconfirmed, member
    MplsP said:
    Nice - an extra $300 on top the $2000 you already spent to get the ports that Apple should have included in the first place
    Lol . I dont need any of those ports. But its nice to know, I can get them if I need it.
    watto_cobracurtis hannah
  • Reply 3 of 13
    MplsP said:
    Nice - an extra $300 on top the $2000 you already spent to get the ports that Apple should have included in the first place
    Get yourself an Acer Predator 21x. It'll have all the ports that you apparently need. It's only 3.3" thick and 18.7 pounds. $9000 USD. That is unless you need a parallel port, serial port, SCSI port, ADB port, or POTS line.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    linkman said:
    MplsP said:
    Nice - an extra $300 on top the $2000 you already spent to get the ports that Apple should have included in the first place
    Get yourself an Acer Predator 21x. It'll have all the ports that you apparently need. It's only 3.3" thick and 18.7 pounds. $9000 USD. That is unless you need a parallel port, serial port, SCSI port, ADB port, or POTS line.
    I think this is the perfect answer, no laptop is perfect as there is no specific use of ports, it is on ones own needs. So why not have the latest and greatest port which is backwards compatible with everything else via adapter? Better than buying something that has its own port selection, but does not have what you need and there’s no adapters available for them.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    josedebardijosedebardi Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,699administrator
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
  • Reply 7 of 13
    josedebardijosedebardi Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
    Well to quote their support team in an email to me; "The LG 5k monitor will work through the USB Type-C Passthrough port on the Right-Wing. The USB Type-C on the Right-Wing of the LandingZone is a Passthrough port and will function in the same way as directly connecting a device or monitor to your MacBook. Please be aware the LandingZone is a USB docking station and the passthrough port is the only port that is compatible with Thunderbolt devices. We also leave a USB Type-C port open on the right side of the MacBook so you can connect a device directly to your MacBook." Sounds fairly conclusive right!? I've ordered in in the hope they know more about their product that you (no offence!). I will report back my findings.
    edited January 9
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,699administrator
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
    Well to quote their support team in an email to me; "The LG 5k monitor will work through the USB Type-C Passthrough port on the Right-Wing. The USB Type-C on the Right-Wing of the LandingZone is a Passthrough port and will function in the same way as directly connecting a device or monitor to your MacBook. Please be aware the LandingZone is a USB docking station and the passthrough port is the only port that is compatible with Thunderbolt devices. We also leave a USB Type-C port open on the right side of the MacBook so you can connect a device directly to your MacBook." Sounds fairly conclusive right!? I've ordered in in the hope they know more about their product that you (no offence!). I will report back my findings.
    If that's the case, then they've revised the hardware since we got ours. The TB3 LG5K connected to the USB-C pass-through port is in 4K resolution.

    Please do report back.
  • Reply 9 of 13
    josedebardijosedebardi Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
    Well to quote their support team in an email to me; "The LG 5k monitor will work through the USB Type-C Passthrough port on the Right-Wing. The USB Type-C on the Right-Wing of the LandingZone is a Passthrough port and will function in the same way as directly connecting a device or monitor to your MacBook. Please be aware the LandingZone is a USB docking station and the passthrough port is the only port that is compatible with Thunderbolt devices. We also leave a USB Type-C port open on the right side of the MacBook so you can connect a device directly to your MacBook." Sounds fairly conclusive right!? I've ordered in in the hope they know more about their product that you (no offence!). I will report back my findings.
    If that's the case, then they've revised the hardware since we got ours. The TB3 LG5K connected to the USB-C pass-through port is in 4K resolution.

    Please do report back.
    Good news! Dock arrived today, LG 5K TB3 display plugged in to the passthrough port, and if I go to Display settings, option key+scaled I can sucessfully select 5120x2880. It connected in the default half that in 'retina' mode as you would expect. So as you say, I can only presume a change has been made to the hardware. It is confusing though as the port is still labelled as USB-C, and the literature still doesn't mention TB3. I also noted that the dock powered up without it's own power supply and the USB audio worked, albeit with the status light yellow as opposed to the green it goes when you feed it power, so that's a handy extra in case you needed to use it away from it's PSU for any reason. I imagine it's abilities to supply power to the USB ports etc is deminished in that state though. As a side note, my only minus point on the dock so far is it's a bit fiddly to dock it, but I don't plan to take it on/off my desk very often so no biggy!
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,699administrator
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
    Well to quote their support team in an email to me; "The LG 5k monitor will work through the USB Type-C Passthrough port on the Right-Wing. The USB Type-C on the Right-Wing of the LandingZone is a Passthrough port and will function in the same way as directly connecting a device or monitor to your MacBook. Please be aware the LandingZone is a USB docking station and the passthrough port is the only port that is compatible with Thunderbolt devices. We also leave a USB Type-C port open on the right side of the MacBook so you can connect a device directly to your MacBook." Sounds fairly conclusive right!? I've ordered in in the hope they know more about their product that you (no offence!). I will report back my findings.
    If that's the case, then they've revised the hardware since we got ours. The TB3 LG5K connected to the USB-C pass-through port is in 4K resolution.

    Please do report back.
    Good news! Dock arrived today, LG 5K TB3 display plugged in to the passthrough port, and if I go to Display settings, option key+scaled I can sucessfully select 5120x2880. It connected in the default half that in 'retina' mode as you would expect. So as you say, I can only presume a change has been made to the hardware. It is confusing though as the port is still labelled as USB-C, and the literature still doesn't mention TB3. I also noted that the dock powered up without it's own power supply and the USB audio worked, albeit with the status light yellow as opposed to the green it goes when you feed it power, so that's a handy extra in case you needed to use it away from it's PSU for any reason. I imagine it's abilities to supply power to the USB ports etc is deminished in that state though. As a side note, my only minus point on the dock so far is it's a bit fiddly to dock it, but I don't plan to take it on/off my desk very often so no biggy!
    Good deal, I'm glad it worked out for you! Out of curiosity, why this one, and not a single-port dock?
    edited January 10
  • Reply 11 of 13
    josedebardijosedebardi Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
    Well to quote their support team in an email to me; "The LG 5k monitor will work through the USB Type-C Passthrough port on the Right-Wing. The USB Type-C on the Right-Wing of the LandingZone is a Passthrough port and will function in the same way as directly connecting a device or monitor to your MacBook. Please be aware the LandingZone is a USB docking station and the passthrough port is the only port that is compatible with Thunderbolt devices. We also leave a USB Type-C port open on the right side of the MacBook so you can connect a device directly to your MacBook." Sounds fairly conclusive right!? I've ordered in in the hope they know more about their product that you (no offence!). I will report back my findings.
    If that's the case, then they've revised the hardware since we got ours. The TB3 LG5K connected to the USB-C pass-through port is in 4K resolution.

    Please do report back.
    Good news! Dock arrived today, LG 5K TB3 display plugged in to the passthrough port, and if I go to Display settings, option key+scaled I can sucessfully select 5120x2880. It connected in the default half that in 'retina' mode as you would expect. So as you say, I can only presume a change has been made to the hardware. It is confusing though as the port is still labelled as USB-C, and the literature still doesn't mention TB3. I also noted that the dock powered up without it's own power supply and the USB audio worked, albeit with the status light yellow as opposed to the green it goes when you feed it power, so that's a handy extra in case you needed to use it away from it's PSU for any reason. I imagine it's abilities to supply power to the USB ports etc is deminished in that state though. As a side note, my only minus point on the dock so far is it's a bit fiddly to dock it, but I don't plan to take it on/off my desk very often so no biggy!
    Good deal, I'm glad it worked out for you! Out of curiosity, why this one, and not a single-port dock?

    I wanted...
    5K TB3 Support (rare - most docks only support up to 4K)
    SD Card slot (micro SD is a big bonus as well as I often use them for my GoPro/DJI Phantom)
    USB-C + USB-A expansion ports
    Power passthrough (this one gives the full 85W from the LG, if I unplug the LG it drops to 60W from the dock - as expected)
    3.5mm Audio Out
    Gb Ethernet
    HDMI port is a bonus but not critical

    After LOTS of research I believe only the LandingZone fits all of the above.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 2,699administrator
    I just contacted Landing Zone and they claim my LG 5K TB3 display will work using the pass through port on the right. However your review states clearly it is USB-C only and seems to prove that with your HDD speed tests...
    I am ordering from the UK and don’t want to get it and then find it’s useless to me with complicated return shipping!
    As you obviously have the dock can you offer any more info on this!?
    In the "pass through" port labeled as USB-C, the display will be limited to 4K as the display is a Thunderbolt 3 display, not a USB 3.1 Type C display.

    In the open port just underneath it on the picture, it'll be 5K.
    Well to quote their support team in an email to me; "The LG 5k monitor will work through the USB Type-C Passthrough port on the Right-Wing. The USB Type-C on the Right-Wing of the LandingZone is a Passthrough port and will function in the same way as directly connecting a device or monitor to your MacBook. Please be aware the LandingZone is a USB docking station and the passthrough port is the only port that is compatible with Thunderbolt devices. We also leave a USB Type-C port open on the right side of the MacBook so you can connect a device directly to your MacBook." Sounds fairly conclusive right!? I've ordered in in the hope they know more about their product that you (no offence!). I will report back my findings.
    If that's the case, then they've revised the hardware since we got ours. The TB3 LG5K connected to the USB-C pass-through port is in 4K resolution.

    Please do report back.
    Good news! Dock arrived today, LG 5K TB3 display plugged in to the passthrough port, and if I go to Display settings, option key+scaled I can sucessfully select 5120x2880. It connected in the default half that in 'retina' mode as you would expect. So as you say, I can only presume a change has been made to the hardware. It is confusing though as the port is still labelled as USB-C, and the literature still doesn't mention TB3. I also noted that the dock powered up without it's own power supply and the USB audio worked, albeit with the status light yellow as opposed to the green it goes when you feed it power, so that's a handy extra in case you needed to use it away from it's PSU for any reason. I imagine it's abilities to supply power to the USB ports etc is deminished in that state though. As a side note, my only minus point on the dock so far is it's a bit fiddly to dock it, but I don't plan to take it on/off my desk very often so no biggy!
    Good deal, I'm glad it worked out for you! Out of curiosity, why this one, and not a single-port dock?

    I wanted...
    5K TB3 Support (rare - most docks only support up to 4K)
    SD Card slot (micro SD is a big bonus as well as I often use them for my GoPro/DJI Phantom)
    USB-C + USB-A expansion ports
    Power passthrough (this one gives the full 85W from the LG, if I unplug the LG it drops to 60W from the dock - as expected)
    3.5mm Audio Out
    Gb Ethernet
    HDMI port is a bonus but not critical

    After LOTS of research I believe only the LandingZone fits all of the above.
    Regarding the "fiddly to dock it" part, if you secure part of the dock with velcro or something, it makes a giant difference. Those four rubber dots on the bottom just aren't enough friction.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    I bought this dock for the features and its a mixed bag.  I also have a Caldigit TS3+ and have been comparing em with new 2017 Touchbar Macbook Pro at home and at work.

    Pros: Running 3 monitors including 4K 4:4:4 at 60 Hz. 1 MiniDP at 2560x1440@60Hz, 1 HDMI 1920x1080 @ 60 Hz, and one TB3 -> HDMI 2.0 cable at 3820x2160 @ 60 Hz  (40" Samsung TV).  The passthrough port on the right is not limited to 10G USB-C as the review states and another reader noted above.  Its certainly a 40G TB3 port as amazing curved Sammy display works perfectly.

    Kensington Lock: Need this for work.  Mac's get stolen.  IT/Security requuires locks to comply.

    SD Cards/lots of ports(like that it has two HDMI or 1 DP'/1HDMU Flexibility). 
    Lots of USB ports
    Lots of external USB ports

    No Issues mainting 100% charge

    Comes with power supply 

    CONS:
    Its "fiddly" as noted above.  There is no guidance mechanism like a PC dock.  The mechanism will break IMO.

    GigE does not work at corporate network.  had to plugin Belkin USB-C.  It sees a 1Gig connection but doesn't work. Messed with 802l.11x settings and no luck. Belkin GigE adapter out back of dock works well out the box perfect PNP.

    Cheap POS construction.  This plastic POS is poorly constructucted.  It weighs nothing,  its feels flimsy in hand, finish is sub par.   Compared to the CalDigit TS3+ which is anodized aluminum and had much better asthetics.   Its not just thats its plastic it not nice plastic it just feels loike cheap junk and i am concerned the clam shell mechanical mechanism will break soon.  I can't see it lasting 1+ years in daily enterprise use.   At $300 thats not acceptable. Have a hendedock on pre order still testing the the Caldigit.

    Strange issues with monitor config docking and undocking.  Dont see this with the TS3+ but not running 3 displays off multiple ports on that one either



       
    edited June 14
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