How to solve Mac docking problems with the Henge Docks Stone

Apple doesn't make a Mac docking station, but that doesn't mean there are no reliable docking options. The small yet powerful Henge Docks Stone more than fits the bill.

Apple does not currently manufacture a docking station for Mac laptops, but options exist—for instance, Belkin and DockCase offer models. I'll focus on how the Henge Docks Stone dock delivers.

Developed to match the Mac's own design, the sleek and compact tethered dock matches the look and feel of Mac laptops. From its solid metal body to its color and shape, the Henge Docks Stone complements a Mac laptop well (Figure A).

Figure A

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The Henge Docks Stone dock complements a Mac's design.

Image: Henge Docks

But don't buy a Stone just for its good looks. Unlike some Mac docking stations, the Stone includes a 135-watt power supply; thus, you don't need to carry the Mac's default power supply and USB-C charge cable with you. Instead, you can safely leave the native charger and cord, as the Stone pushes sufficient power to run the Mac and up to four more USB-connected devices.

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The Stone's 10 ports permit connecting numerous peripherals using a variety of ports. In addition to a power connection, here are the dock's other ports (Figure B):

  • SD Card
  • USB-C
  • USB-C 3.1
  • Audio/Mic
  • USB-A 3.1 x 3
  • 1Gb/s Ethernet
  • Mini DisplayPort (supporting 4K@30Hz)

Figure B

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The Stone dock boasts plenty of ports.

Image: Henge Docks

Note: The USB-C 3.1 port provides up to 2.4A at 5V charging. The designers at Henge Docks intend for you to use the Mini DisplayPort to drive video. Considerable flexibility exists regarding the type of external display you connect. For example, you could connect using an Apple or Henge Docks Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. Other options include employing a Mini DisplayPort to VGA or HDMI adapter. Just remember that Mini DisplayPort and USB-C are incompatible with Thunderbolt displays.

The Stone also includes a short USB-C cable. The accessory enables connecting the dock to one of your Mac's USB-C ports.

At $199, the dock is more than reasonably priced, especially considering a standalone charger and USB-C charge cable cost $88.

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One late-breaking gotcha to watch out for, however, is compatibility with Apple's 2018 MacBooks released July 12, 2018, specifically model identifiers MacBook Pro15,1 and MacBookPro15,2. Henge Docks is preparing a downloadable firmware update to address the issue. Henge Docks notes users of affected MacBook Pro models should wait to purchase a Stone and promised an update on August 15, 2018 or as they become available.

In my tests, the dock worked wonderfully; I encountered no power shortfalls, and my Mac's battery charged quickly when docked. A 22" external display, connected using a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, provided crisp resolution and excellent video performance. Other peripherals, including SD cards and USB-connected external hard drives, worked well with no errors, too.

The dock simplifies using a Mac from multiple locations. Thanks to the Stone's included power cable, the only cable I needed to connect or disconnect using the Stone is the single USB-C cable that mates the Mac to the dock—that's so much easier than connecting and disconnecting Ethernet cabling, external hard drives, power cords, and printer cables every day. Because the dock is compact, and even permits placement beneath the Mac to permit a pleasant approach angle (Figure C), little additional desk space is required to accommodate the dock. That's a winning combination, using my MacBook Pro.

Figure C

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The Stone dock features a wedge shape and can even be placed beneath a Mac laptop.

Image: Henge Docks

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By Erik Eckel

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 o...