Think of it as an iPhone-style dock for your MacBook. At home you might have several things plugged into your MacBook’s various ports (hard drives, USB products, speakers, etc), which means disconnecting and reconnecting everything each time you leave or return with your MacBook. With LandingZone, everything gets connected to ports in the back of the dock, allowing you to simply place your MacBook in the dock and instantly connect to all your peripherals. When you leave, you can pop out your Mac and walk away in seconds without thinking twice about all the connected cables. It also packs in a 5-port USB hub, ethernet adapter, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort all while reducing cable clutter on your desk. I’ve been using the latest LandingZone Dock model for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro for a couple weeks and it has truly transformed my workspace.

Docking |

Connecting to LandingZone is easy. After placing your MacBook on the dock, either side slides in to connect to the MacBook’s Thunderbolt, USB, and HDMI ports. You’ll still have access to one USB port, one Thunderbolt port, headphone jack, and the SDXC card slot, but the rest of the ins and outs are used to connect to the dock. When you’re ready to undock your MacBook, a small lever at the back expands the dock to disconnect it from your MacBook’s ports. Docking the MacBook is super easy and only takes a couple seconds once you get the hang of it, and undocking is as easy as pulling the lever. After you’re docked, the only cable coming out of the side of your MacBook will be the MagSafe connector for power. Apple doesn’t let accessory makers build the MagSafe connector integrated into their products, but the company has done its best by notching out a groove to let the MagSafe pass through (pictured above). The dock props up your MacBook at a slight angle, which I personally prefer but it’s something that might not be ideal for everyone.

SAMSUNG CSC

Ports |

You lose one of your USB ports when connecting to the dock, but LandingZone has 5 on the back (three USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0), a gigabit ethernet port, HDMI, 1 Mini DisplayPort, and a headphone jack. There’s also a keyed lock slot that you can use for some added security if you purchase a Kensington laptop lock. I was mainly using the Ethernet port and the USB ports to connect my drives and audio interface, but the HDMI and DisplayPort would obviously come in handy for those with multi monitor setups, and an indicator light on the dock lets you know if your MacBook is on without having to open the lid. For those without an audio interface, the company has added a 3.5mm jack for plugging in speakers (the older MacBook Air model didn’t have it and that’s something we complained about in our previous review). Putting the MacBook screen down makes accessing the ports on the back easy and you still have one Thunderbolt and USB port available on your MacBook if you want to quickly plug in a camera or hard drive.

Cable Clutter |

The ability to quickly dock your Mac and not have to worry about plugging in cables is one benefit, but decreasing cable clutter on your desk might be the best part of LandingZone. No matter how you route or attempt to hide your cables in and around your desk, you can’t do much about the spaghetti of cables flowing out from either side of your MacBook. Before LandingZone, I used a 4-port USB hub on one side of my Mac for an external hard drive, a USB powered audio interface, mobile device charging and connecting USB accessories. That’s on top of the Magsafe connector for power and a couple cables often plugged in on the other side for a connected camera, display, or other accessory. The result is a mess of cables coming out from the sides of the MacBook and running across your desk that looks something like this:

Without LandingZone

Without LandingZone

Because Landing Zone moves all your ins and outs to the back of the MacBook, the result is a much cleaner desk with no cable mess. Here’s the after shot:

With LandingZone

With LandingZone

Should you buy it? |

The LandingZone is clearly a bit of a niche product. Not everybody will have multiple pieces of hardware plugged into their MacBook and also frequently want to pick up and take the machine with them. With a spot for a Kenginston Laptop lock, however, it makes a lot of sense for people that use their MacBook at work or in other public spaces. If you do fall in one of those categories, the LandingZone will surely save you a lot of time and effort and is just about the only way to eliminate cable clutter for MacBook users. For me, decreasing all the cable clutter in my tight workspace was reason enough to make it a permanent part of my setup. It would have been nice if the design and materials were made to match the MacBook, but once you’re docked you can’t see much of the dock anyway.

The LandingZone Dock for 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $199. Well worth the price if you add up the cost of entry for a 5-port USB hub and Ethernet adapter, not to mention the convenience of docking and everything else you get with the LandingZone. Other models for the MacBook Air start as low as $49 with less features.

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23 Responses to “Review: How I transformed my workspace w/ LandingZone’s MacBook Pro Dock”

  1. I am more interested in the iPhone Dock hiding back in the pic. What is that?

    • Jordan Kahn says:

      It’s actually just a stand for iPhone or iPad. A company called Cygnett used to sell it, but I don’t see it on their site anymore. You’d have to reach out to them to find out if it’s still available. http://us.cygnett.com/

      • syed ali says:

        I leave iPhone Dock, but Mac Book Dock really useful. One of my friends really trouble with Mac Book, I will suggest to him. Thanks. Jordan.

    • I was thinking the same thing…the iPhone stand is what caught my eye here, not the landingzone product, heh.

      • Jordan Kahn says:

        The full name is the Cygnett Universal tablet stand. It’s currently unavailable on Amazon, here’s the link: http://amzn.to/1ge1fql

        Looks like it’s out of stock everywhere online but you could try Walmart (they used to carry it) or contact Cygnett to find out if it’s available anywhere. I like the stand too!

    • cm477 says:

      I like how the Lightning cable to the iPhone disappears in the “after” picture… I guess the Pro Dock includes wireless charging for iPhones!

      • Jordan Kahn says:

        I addressed that in comments below. The Lightning cable runs from the back of the dock through a cable pass through in the back of iPhone stand. Even if the phone was plugged in you’d only see the tip of the Lightning connector in the phone, no cable.

      • cm477 says:

        In the “after” picture, you don’t even see the tip of the Lightning connector. (I zoomed in to make sure). Also, on the iPhone, I cannot make out the “lightning bolt” icon next to the battery level icon which seems to be present in the “before” picture when it is plugged in. Therefore, to me, iPhone seems unplugged in the “after” picture. But nice work cleaning up of the cables, nonetheless.

      • sonnymattera says:

        cm477, seeing as how Jordan’s comment wasn’t clear enough for you, let me reiterate:

        There is no lightning cable in the after picture. Not because it is no longer needed or that it is powered by the tears of unicorns, but because he simply forgot to plug it back in. Given this mistake, even if the cable were to be in the picture, it would run through a hole in the back of the iPhone stand and you would only see the tip underneath the iPhone as the cable could be properly routed out the way to connect with this handy dock from LandingZone.

        Zoom all you want, you’re not going to see a Lightning cable or a charging icon on the iPhone because it simply isn’t plugged in.

      • cm477 says:

        My sincere apologies! Somehow I didn’t see his comment that he forgot to plug in the iPhone. Thanks for correcting me.

  2. 9to5savio says:

    Intriguing but my plan is to use Thunderbolt Display as my dock along with Apple USB keyboard and a bluetooth mouse (with macbook in clamshell mode) when I am at home. But this is an intriguing, cheaper alternative if you don’t mind using the smaller screen when at your desk.

    • sonnymattera says:

      I love my Thunderbolt Display. I use it exactly as you described with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse (with the macbook in clamshell mode). The screen real estate is key, especially when programs such as Davinci Resolve require a minimum screen resolution not offered by a 15″ MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

  3. yojp says:

    For the same price, I picked up a CalDigit Thunderbolt Station. I keep 3 USB devices. Ethernet, audio-out, HDMI monitor, and a daisy chained Thunderbolt 4GByte Time Machine drive plugged into the Station. All I do is plug power and a thunderbolt cable into my MacBook Pro.

    Works like a champ out if the box. All high speed. No configuration. Great product.

    I would have gotten an Apple Thunderbolt monitor, but I didn’t want to drop back to USB 2.

    Jim in Boulder

    • Tim Jr. says:

      I did the exact same thing.. Love my CalDigit Thunderbolt Station! Even decided against the Thunderbolt Monitor for same reason..

      I will re-look at the monitor once they update it to TB 2 and USB 3.0 though… I just can’t see investing in USB 2.0 and I want the style and benefit of the current iMac screen as it has much less issues with glare from light…

  4. Doug Kreitz says:

    Two observations. It appears from the pictures that this solution completely negates the benefit of the magsafe. If you are using multiple displays, it also appears there is no way to make them level with this solution. I am using a Ghost Stand and 2 external monitors for a total of 3 screens. For $200 plus compromises, I think I will continue to plug and unplug :-)

  5. PMZanetti says:

    After having similar docks years ago for older MBP’s…I am much more inclined to opt for Belkins Thunderbolt Hub.

    I have yet to do so only because the price is about $150 too high to justify.

  6. So you basically unplugged the iPhone, right? ;)

    • sonnymattera says:

      If you look more closely, that’s a usb hub on the left connected to a few peripherals by a black usb cable, while on the right is also a black usb cable. After connecting to the new dock, those cables are gone, but apparently the iPhone cable wasn’t put back in place.

      • Jordan Kahn says:

        Ya you’re correct about the USB hub (before landingzone I used it to plug in my audio interface, hard drive, and some other acessories, as I mentioned in the review. Forgot to plug in my iPhone for the after shot unfortunately. But with LandingZone my Lightning cable runs out the back of the MacBook and through the back of the stand I have my iPhone on (the stand has a hole for the cable to pass through like an iMac stand). So even with the iPhone plugged in you still can barely see the cable.

  7. I have a Audioengine USB DAC. Do you think I can plug it into the dock.

  8. Dale Schmidt says:

    I’m sure it’s too late now but have you heard of the ZenDock by Zenboxx? This dock is aluminum to match the MacBook. It only connects onto one side so if you use the HDMI and not the ThunderBolt it may not be the best choice for you. Check it out: zenboxx.com

  9. Hi Jordan …my nephews 4 year old Macbook Pro just died no fall …the hard drive is dead…do you or anyone out there know of a way he can retrive 1 file from the documents folder…it is a final paper for a college class …he is a senior…I would so appreciate advice. thank you