Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
Cobbling together a docking setup from a hodgepodge of cables, dongles and connectors for our carefully-designed laptops is a minor tragedy. Zenboxx wants to change your MacBook Pro’s fate with a dock that matches its unibody aluminum casing.
The startup has just launched a Kickstarter project for the ZenDock Pro and ZenDock Retina.
Since the crowdfunding project is just getting off the ground, it’s hard to tell just how well the dock matches Apple’s own materials, but the company says its products are “precision milled from solid blocks of ultra high quality T6061 aluminum, anodized and bead blasted” and the photos suggest that they do match up quite nicely.
The base of the ZenDock Pro comes with Gigabit Ethernet, Firewire 800, Mini DisplayPort, three USB 3.0 ports (USB 2.0 on legacy MacBooks) and microphone and speaker connections. The ZenDock Retina features Mini DisplayPort, three USB 3.0 ports, microphone and speaker ports, an optional Gigabit Ethernet adapter and a Thunderbolt compatible pass through on the topside connector. MagSafe and MagSafe 2 chargers come separately, but there is space carved out in the dock for the plugs.
The docks look good, though it’d be nice to have built-in Ethernet on the Retina version, as the USB adapter really kills the whole Zen mojo.
The Zendock Retina is compatible with both the 13-inch and 15-inch models, and the ZenDock Pro works with newer 13, 15 and 17-inch versions that have the correct port lineup.
Zenboxx says it already has fully working prototypes and is ready to enter production. It expects to deliver models to backers by this October, though it did caution that any problems with its manufacturers could delay the shipping date.
The planned retail price for the docks is $179. Kickstarter backers can get a copy for a pledge of $129 or more. That’s fairly competitive with existing dock solutions, especially if you’re willing to pay extra to have the look and feel of the dock match your shiny MacBook Pro. The six-month wait is a pain, but on the bright side, it’s long enough to forget about it so you’ll be pleasantly surprised when it does arrive.
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