Reviews |LINEDOCK 16″

LINEDOCK 16″ Review

The ultimate docking accessory for your MacBook Pro 16-inch

LINEDOCK 16" Review
Review

Price when reviewed

£479

$479

Our Verdict

LINEDOCK 16-inch is simply an essential for any MacBook Pro user. Available in a 13 and a 16-inch version that I’m looking at in this review.

LINEDOCK 16-inch, as with the 13-inch, features streamlined looks that perfectly match those of the MacBook Pro. The LINEDOCK 16-inch is a perfect partner, providing long lost connection options, boosting storage and providing additional power out in the field.

Our review unit provided 1TB of additional SSD storage, a solid backup and working drive solution for Full HD and some 4K video.

The connection options are the real powerhouse of this dock, and while it might not provide ThunderBolt 3 or 4, there’s really no need as using the LINEDOCK free’s up the three ThunderBolt 3 options on the MacBook Pro 16-inch anyway.

Through the test, LINEDOCK proves to be an accessory that you cannot afford to be without. Workflow is seamless with the additional ports enabling accessories to be quickly connected without adapters. And it goes without saying that the additional storage and power can be an absolute godsend.

For

  • Increases battery life
  • Adds more storage
  • Boosts connection options

Against

  • Connected drives have reduced transfer speeds
  • Internal SSD is limited as a 4K working drive

What is the LINEDOCK 16″

Think carefully about what you want from your MacBook Pro, beyond the processing power; do you want more storage, better battery life, an increase in connection options?

LINEDOCK is the device that provides all of those in one slender MacBook Pro inspired shell.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

Placed next to a 16-inch MacBook Pro, you’d probably think that it’s just another MacBook. The form factor is roughly the same size, shape and colour, but actually, it’s an incredibly sophisticated dock.

Connecting directly to a power source, the LINEDOCK 16″ connects to your MacBook Pro through a single cable and then gives you a host of docking options, USB-C, USB-A, SD and HDMI, as well as pass-through power.

However, LINEDOCK is far more; it has an inbuilt battery and storage, boosting those base technical specs that MacBook Pro’s all lack.

Essentially more storage and power – or at least enough to see you through in most situations out in the field.

Specification

  • Compatible with : 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • Storage: 0, 1TB or 2TB – SATA 6 SSD
  • USB-C: 3 ports
  • USB 3.0: 3 Ports
  • SD Card slots: 2 – UHS-II 230MB/s
  • HDMI 2.0: 1 – 4K60fps
  • DisplayPort 1.4: 1 – 4K60fps
  • Transfer Speed: 10GB/s
  • Power pass through: 100W

Build and Handling

If you own a MacBook Pro or have ever owned a MacBook Pro, you’ll know just how well built they are.

The tough metal case can take a knock or two, and a MacBook Pro, looked after well can last years. It’s not uncommon to find well-travelled MacBooks that have been with their owners for years.

LINEDOCK 16″ has cleverly reflected the MacBook Pro sleek design and build which means that the two partners perfectly. A quick glance, and initially, you could easily mistake the LINEDOCK 16″ for the MacBook Pro.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

That close matching in design means that the two devices meet in perfect harmony, and the entire design merges the use of the two beautifully.

LINEDOCK 16″ is designed to sit under the MacBook Pro, and as the shape and size are identical, the two sit well together. The slight rise in the keyboard heigh actually makes for a comfortable writing height; I’m actually sat with the MacBook position on top of the LINEDOCK 16″ as I type.

When writing, I’ve found that this position works well; however, out in the field, I like to raise the height of the MacBook’s monitor and tend to use a stand and wireless keyboard and mouse. I’ll also connect the Monogram Creative kit for editing in Final Cut Pro X and to enhance in Photoshop and Lightroom.

In these cases, I’ll usually prop the LINEDOCK 16″ up on a stand or lay it flat on the work surface so I can get easy access to the ports.

Setting up LINEDOCK 16″

Set-up of the LINEDOCK 16″ is easy enough; the MacBook’s power cord goes into the USB Type-C port at the back, and then a USB Type-C cable connects to the MacBook Pro.

This connection between the two devices is all that’s needed for data connection and 100W pass-through power. Sure enough, the LINEDOCK 16″ internal storage will appear on the desktop automatically as with any other drive, and you’ll see the power icon showing as connected to power.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

While one ThunderBolt 3 port of the MacBook Pro is taken with this connection, it still leaves the other three ThunderBolt 3 ports free for fast working hard drives such as the OWC Envoy Pro.

Now, rather than taking up the ports of my Mac, I can quickly connect the Monogram to the USB Type-C port on the side of the LINEDOCK 16″ and pop in the two SD cards from the Sony A7 MKIII directly into the right-hand side of the LINEDOCK 16″.

I then have three additional USB Type-A ports that I’ve found very handy for charging various devices that I seem to lug around with me, mainly my iPhone and earphones.

That still leaves me with an unused USB Type-A on the LINEDOCK 16″ and two unused Thunderbolt 3 on the MacBook Pro. I think the point here is that I have them ready to use if I need them, whereas without, I’d have a load of devices plugged in, in an untidy fashion and would inevitably run out of connection ports.

When it comes to build quality and handling, that’s about it – it’s solid, designed in the mirror image of the MacBook Pro and straightforward to set-up and use.

Performance

Anyone who uses a MacBook Pro will know that Apple likes to bander around 11 hours of usable time on the battery for the 16-inch version of a laptop.

However, that time is specified for wireless web browsing or watching Apple TV; that’s enough to watch the full extended versions of the Lord of the Ring’s trilogy and still have enough time for loo and food breaks.

That’s 10 hours 54 minutes; I haven’t included the credits and, of course, the opening sequences for each.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

The actual time your MacBook will work on a single battery varies depending on the work you’re doing. For example, writing this review and using a text application along with browsing the web a bit for research, you’re looking at around 5 hours.

That’s half the usable time of just sitting back and watching TV, Apple really just want you to relax rather than work.

Using a video editing application, such as Blackmagic Designs DaVinci Resolve with the OWC Envoy Pro attached, and you’re looking at about an hour and a half if you’re lucky. But, of course, that again is affected by how many accessories you have plugged in.

In my usual set-up, I’ll have an XQD and SD card reader attached, the Monogram Creative kit, phone charging, PSP Vita/Stadia and Magic Keyboard (It’s wireless but always seems slow unless hardwired in for video editing.)

Generally, I allow around 300 – 400GB per project on the RAW data, although this varies hugely.

Through the download process, I find that this again helps to drain the battery, and then if I need to upload the footage to a server rather than download, that sees the battery deplete at speed.

Essentially, when you’re using your MacBook Pro as a workhorse, there are plenty of optional extras placing demands on the MacBook’s power.

I always max out the charge of my MacBook before a job and have to switch off the optimised battery charging option to ensure my Mac doesn’t opt to charge to 80% rather than give me the full 100%.

This all puts into context the state of my Mac and my workflow process.

The other thing to point out is that I try to keep my Mac light and agile with 750GB of HD free. I still use the OWC Envoy Pro for editing, but that 750GB is used as an on-site backup. Nothing worse than an external drive dying on you in the field.

Although in the last few years, it’s been more common for my previous 15-inch MacBook Pro’s to wipe themselves or overheat and die than for an external HD to go down.

Back-up and survive, and that’s what the LINEDOCK 16″ enables to do.

Streamlined workflow

In the last month, the world has opened up at speed, and I have had little if any time to focus on the sudate pleasantries of a slow-paced workflow.

The LINEDOCK 16″ has managed to slip into a time-space where the workflow enhancements enabled couldn’t have been better timed.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

Plugged in the LINEDOCK 16″ turbocharges everything; it acts as a time machine backup for video and the photo files I’m editing, making sure all is backed up.

The 1TB internal drive speed in our review sample is ideal for this, and tested produced some impressive results.

Looking at the transfer speeds and the LINEDOCK 16″ internal drive resulted in write speeds of 345.3MB/s and read speeds of 385.7MB/s. These are in line with other SATA 6 SSD’s, which max out at around 400MB/s. LINEDOCK State 390MB/s read-write speeds, and to be honest, our results aren’t too far off this.

Transfers speeds:
LINEDOCK Internal Write Speed: 345.3MB/s
LINEDOCK Internal Read Speed: 385.7MB/s

External SD Card Reader through MacBook Write Speed: 198MB/s
External SD Card Reader through MacBook Read Speed: 251.2MB/s

LINEDOCK SD card port write speed: 221.6MB/s
LINEDOCK SD card port Read Speed: 252.1MB/s

LACIE tough drive SSD through MacBook Write Speed: 483.7 MB/s
LACIE tough drive SSD through MacBook Read Speed: 511.5 MB/s

LACIE tough drive SSD through LINEDOCK Write Speed: 36.6 MB/s
LACIE tough drive SSD through LINEDOCK Read Speed: 38.5 MB/s

While this speed is slower than the latest M.2 Nvme drives, it isn’t bad and means that you can use the internal storage as a working drive for HD video if you wish or optimised 4K video.

One issue that the review has kicked up is the speed of connected external drives.

The battery also kicks in to provide further enhancement to your workflows. LINEDOCK state that this provides an additional 8 hours of use but doesn’t specify doing what.

In our tests, we managed five hours of additional typing and an hour and a half of video editing, so it boosted the usability of the Mac out in the field. As with the MacBook Pro’s internal battery, power times vary greatly depending on what you’re doing.

That additional time and storage make a huge difference to how you work. When it came to storage, I tended to use the LINEDOCK 16″ as an on-site backup; once footage had download to the working drive, I then backed up that content to the LINEDOCK 16″, or at least TimeMachine does with a little prompting.

Backup and support

As the review progressed and I became more entrenched in the LINEDOCK workflow there were a few questions that arose about the hardware choices.

Why SATA 6 and not Nvme, USB Type-C and not ThunderBolt 3 or 4? The other question was why does LINEDOCK not include any software for monitoring power, storage use or even a mass ejector like the OWC Dock ejector.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

For the hardware choices, it comes down to a balance of unit price and features.

It is all too easy to think, why not include these cutting edge technologies Nvme and ThunderBolt 3? But when you get into the workflow of everyday work, you realise that LINEDOCK 16″ actually provides everything that you really need.

For example, once my files downloaded to the OWC Envoy Pro, I can then set up a backup of those files to the LINEDOCK 16″. This backup is carried out with third-party software, I’m backing up in the field and have complete peace of mind.

The battery is another feature that could do with software support. For example; I have the laptop battery burning through power when using Final Cut Pro X, but how much longer do I have when it switches to the LINEDOCK battery.

In this review, I’ve run several tests and timed each manually; it’s a long-drawn-out process, the result is that the extended time made possible with the LINEDOCK 16″, as with the internal battery power varies greatly.

Just having software that gives you an idea of power left would elevate the workflow.

As it is, LINEDOCK  has managed to get a balance. I’ve been using it for almost a month, but it feels like I’ve always had it.

The LINEDOCK 16″ is incredibly useful, boosts workflow and is one of a few devices I’ve had in for review that I now use constantly.

All I can say is that if you have a MacBook Pro 16-inch and work out in the field, away from power and require backup storage, then you need a LINEDOCK 16″.

At around £500, the LINEDOCK 16″ may seem expensive but balanced up, as a 1TB hard drive (£100), Powered Hub (£100), External Power supply (£120) and SD card reader along with pass-through power, HDMI in very neat design works out at a decent cost.

Final thoughts

LINEDOCK 16″ is unique in the world of accessories. In design, it mirrors the MacBook Pro neatly, and that match makes the integration work exceptionally well.

That’s not all the slim design offers. Along with the MacBook Pro, it very comfortably slips in by the side backpacks such as the WANDRD PRVKE.

LINEDOCK 16" Review

I’ve been using a LINEDOCK for a couple of years; it’s seamlessly blended in with my workflow and has more than once provided me with the backup data storage and power that I’ve needed when out in the field.

As lockdowns lift, it has also meant that I can sit in coffee shops for extended times without the need for a power supply. I could, of course, plug into a wall socket, but these are usually blocked by plug hoggers sipping fruit tea or water they’ve brought with them.

It’s amazing how one small device can transform your working life. Of course, at £500, it is an investment; however, for any freelancer, jobbing photographer or videographer, I would say that the LINEDOCK 16″ is essential.

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