If you’re looking for expandability with your Late 2016 (or later) MacBook Pro (or even the brand new 2018 MacBook Air), this company has designed an interesting and option. It’s called the Linedock and it offers three USB-C ports (Gen 1), three USB 3.0 ports, an SD-Card Reader, an HDMI port, and MiniDisplay port.
And if that wasn’t enough, it’s packed with a 20,000mAh battery (enough for approximately 1.5 full laptop charges). Oh, and they have an optional configuration where you can add an internal SSD for extra storage in 256GB and 1TB capacities.
Needless to say I was intrigued, so when the company reached out and offered to send me a unit to review I jumped at the opportunity.
The Linedock looks sleek–the closest way I can describe the design is that it looks like the bottom of a MacBook Pro. The product comes in two colors: Space Gray and Black. I was sent the Space Gray color option and I have to say, the team over at Linedock certainly have done an excellent job matching the color of Apple’s Space Gray. Plus, the aluminum finish of the Linedock is on par with the MacBook Pro.
One of the things that’s really interesting to me about the Linedock is the unique design choice: going for a flat surface that you could place your computer on making it feel like a single unit instead of feeling like an adapter that has been added on and is protruding from the side. Additionally, while the Linedock 13″ was originally designed with the MacBook Pro in mind, it can also be used with the latest MacBook Air.
I wouldn’t recommend sitting with the Linedock and a MacBook on top of it in your lap (I found the laptop slide around a little and the Linedock can get hot) but the solution does work well at a desk.
I mentioned the various ports that can be found on the Linedock earlier but what’s really nice is that you can use up to seven of the Linedock’s ports at once and in the same vein you can charge up to seven devices at once with the Linedock. The Linedock also has a feature called Saiyan Mode, which is a powerful charging mode that allows you to fast charge any device, especially laptops. You can access Saiyan Mode by double tapping the Linedock’s power button when the Linedock is connected to a USB-C device. When the yellow LED light appears that means it’s on! The company also recommends not to have the Linedock stacked under your laptop when in Saiyan Mode as it may overheat both devices (which I can attest to, it gets a bit hot in Saiyan Mode).
If you’re interested in using an external display with your computer, the Linedock can power one external display (up to 4k @ 60Hz) using either the HDMI, MiniDisplay, or USB-C ports.
One thing worth noting is that the side USB-C ports are slightly different than the one found in the middle of the device. The side USB-C ports are capable of supporting up to 60W of charging, while the central (middle) USB-C port is capable of supporting up to 100W — the central USB-C port is where it’s recommended you charge the Linedock from. You can use any regular USB-C laptop charger to charge it–including the one that ships with the MacBook Pro and new MacBook Air.
If you elect to go with a Linedock that has storage built-in (either 256GB or 1TB), the company uses standard flash SSD in a M.2 2280 slot (which is actually upgradeable but doing so will void your warranty). In my tests, the storage performs okay, but didn’t meet the advertised speeds on the site (540mbps read / 365mbps write).
So as you can see the storage is alright, not the best, but again, it is upgradable if you want to put in a faster SSD.
For the price, if you’re looking to get one of these, it’s probably best to get the Linedock 13″ 256GB model which retails for $399. The one without any storage goes for $299 (for the extra $100, might as well get some extra space) and the 1TB model goes for $749 (which seems a bit much, in my opinion).
It’s a nice dock, it works as advertised and comes in a convenient form factor that will likely appeal to many. The company also offers add-ons like its MagSafe module which plugs into one of the USB-C ports and brings back the much loved MagSafe power port to your computer. If you own a 13″ MacBook Pro or one of the new 2018 MacBook Air’s it is certainly worth a look.
If you own a 15″ MacBook Pro, it’s not recommended you use the Linedock 13″ (the one in this review) due to the different power requirements of the 15″ MacBook Pros, but the company is supposedly releasing the Linedock 15″ sometime this summer so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.