Mac users commonly connect multiple peripherals to their laptops. Traditional Ethernet, HDMI, old-school USB, and SD-card ports are nowhere to be found on new MacBooks and MacBook Pros, and while the MacBook includes a USB-C port, it includes only one, so connecting multiple peripherals can prove difficult. Even with the MacBook Pro's four USB-C models, various adapters are typically required to connect wired keyboards and mice and displays.
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DockCase's strategy—powered in part by a KickStarter initiative that met its funding goal in a single day—is to integrate a docking station within an attractive premium leather carrying sleeve. After all, most everyone needs a laptop sleeve, so why not integrate a dock? I gave one a try, and I enjoyed the experience.
The premium microfiber leather case provides a snug-fitting sleeve that protects your Mac laptop. The coffee-colored 13" MacBook Pro case I tested boasted fine and detailed stitching reminiscent of carefully contoured leather features you find in luxury automobiles. The magnetic-closing cover simplifies closing the case and helps ensure the Mac edge it conceals is properly guarded from scratches and light impacts.
What sets the DockCase apart is the integrated docking station found on the sleeve's bottom. The sleeve doubles as a docking station once the Mac is removed from the case. DockCase includes a short USB-C to USB-C cable, which fits elegantly inside a small pouch tucked inside the sleeve when not in use and that connects the Mac to the docking station's USB-C input port integrated unobtrusively within the sleeve's left edge when in use.
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A variety of items can be plugged into the docking station, including the Mac's own power cord, as power and data flows from the docking station's ports to the Mac via the DockCase-provided USB-C to USB-C cable.
Here's the list of connections the DockCase supports:
- An SD-XC, SD, MMC, RS-MMC, SD-HC, Micro SD card reader
- Three USB-A 3.1 data ports
- A USB-C 3.1 port
- A USB-C Power Delivery port
- An HDMI port
- A LAN Ethernet port
The docking station includes function lights, so you receive visual confirmation the docking station is powered and functioning properly. For example, a green light is dedicated to displaying Ethernet port status, while red and blue lights represent power status.
Removing a Mac from the sleeve and connecting the DockCase's USB-C cable along with wired mouse, wired keyboard, Mac power connection, and HDMI display cables kept ready on a desk takes less than 10 seconds, so the process is quick and easy.
You need to protect the sleeve's dock from becoming wet when traveling, but the leather sleeve is of sufficient quality that you'd likely want to tuck it inside a messenger bag or backpack, anyway.
The DockCase for MacBook Pro 13" includes a one-year warranty and runs $129. The product is available in black, brown, red, and coffee colors. The 12" MacBook DockCases are $119 and come in black, red, and brown; the 15" MacBook Pro versions are $149 and come in the same colors as the 13" model. A black genuine leather model is also available for 15" MacBook Pros; that model runs $249.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.