Published on April 4th, 2013 | by Greg
Dock Your Macbook Air: Ethernet And More With LandingZone
One of the best parts of owning a Macbook Air is the ability to take it anywhere and barely notice the weight. It’s light and sturdy, and that’s a real advantage when you’re traveling, even if it’s just from coffee shop to bookstore to classroom. But there are plenty of times when those strengths become weaknesses- it’s a powerful machine, but short on ports, lacking ethernet and offering only a measly pair of slots to plug in your many USB devices. We have a mouse and an external hard drive connected by default, but if we want to add anything else- a thumb drive or a camera card reader for instance- we have to unplug one of them. Plus, we miss docking stations, where we could simply pop in our laptop and have everything else already connected.
The Landing Zone 2.0 Pro solves these problems, and even adds a handy security slot, so you can walk away from your laptop for a bit without worrying about it disappearing. It also includes a Mini DisplayPort plug, for those with monitors that don’t support Thunderbolt (which is most everyone). Adding a complete powered 4-port USB 3.0 hub as well as a gigabit ethernet port, it’s a great solution for Macbook Air users. There’s a small catch- you’ll need to figure out how model number and order the right unit. We have one of the newer kind, from mid-2012, technically an 11-inch A1465, but those with older units might need to grab the 1.0 model (13-inch models are also supported as well). Also, those who simply want a pair of ports and a security lock but don’t need the ethernet or Mini DisplayPort can opt for the less expensive Lite model.
On the upside, the Lite model doesn’t require separate or additional power. The Pro version does, which makes sense considering that it includes a powered USB hub. We didn’t have any trouble connecting or using the Landing Zone- every device we tested worked like a charm. And we were able to leave a printer and hard drive connected to the docking bay and then return, dock, and not have to worry about reconnecting or disconnecting cables. Most recently, in a hotel room that didn’t have wireless, the ethernet connectivity provided was a lifesaver.
Originally a Kickstarter project, we’re thrilled that this one was funded (after only about 12 days). The white plastic isn’t quite as sleek as aluminum, but feels pretty sturdy. It took a bit of time for us to get used to the angle- it tilts the keyboard a bit- but it feels fairly natural after a bit. Certainly, it’s well worth the money, and is available now directly for $200. The LandingZone deserves to be in the Apple store, and is a must-have for business Macbook Air users.