Spending a decent amount of money for something that is primarily designed for sitting and holding things may not sound enticing. But a dock that is designed and built well is something that is definitely worth adding to the modern geek’s desk. On that note, we see tablet and phone docks all the time here at GS. What you don’t see nearly as often – laptop docks.
For Apple’s line of Macbook Air/Pro lines, docks are somewhat hard to come by. Where as PC manufacturers make specific enterprise models with a special, gigantic multi-port exclusively for docks, Apple’s abstinence from most things enterprise and smattering of port placements means the typical dock simple won’t work.
Today, we’re taking a look at CoolerMaster’s ARC dock. And even though it isn’t a “powered” dock (you don’t plug anything into it; it’s sole purpose is to hold stuff), it’s still worth checking out. So let’s get to it.
Design & Construction
The first thing you’ll notice about the ARC dock is its weighty feel. It’s definitely heavier than it looks. That said, it’s far from a back breaker. The ARC is meant to hold laptops from 11″-17″ afterall. It has to be sturdy enough to hold a high-end 17″ MacBook Pro and not fall over during the act.
The entire dock is covered in a smooth, white or black plastic. It’s easy to whisk dust and fingerprints away and resistant enough to scratches that we don’t foresee “damage” being much of an issue. The center of the pockets that hold your Mac and/or iPad features a more rubbery, grey finish that does a good enough job of keeping your gadgets from moving. While we’re on the subject of the pockets, we’ll note that iPad docking in particular will benefit from hidden cables as the cutouts offer enough depth to swallow up the dock connector and associated cabling.
The underside of the ARC is ribbed and also covered in a grey rubberized finish that is just as grippy as the pockets on top. Under most circumstances and on most desktop finishes, quite a bit of force is needed to push the dock (if it moves at all). In actuality, you’re likely to knock the dock (and your laptop) over long before the base gives way and starts sliding. Finally, a chrome(ish) ring surrounds the very bottom of the outward facing dock, adding a touch of class.
Not For Retina Macs
As simple and robust as the ARC is, there’s one thing it can’t do – hold our Retina MacBook Pro reliably. The normal cutout for MacBook laptops is too wide and simply allows our Retina MacBook Pro to lean heavily to one side. It’s not in danger of falling out (easily at least), though, it doesn’t particularly look very nice either. A “normal”, non-retina MacBook Pro with its thicker dimensions sits much more snuggly and comfortably inside the ARC. Sticking our Retina MacBook Pro in the iPad slots won’t work either as they are too shallow to hold a laptop to begin with. If you’re one of the growing number of Retina MacBook Pro owners, you’re going to probably want to hold off on the ARC for now.
At $59.95 for a simple stand, one might wince a bit. But for what it does and how it looks while doing it, we quite like the Coolermaster ARC.
***At the time of writing, the CoolerMaster ARC’s original spot on the Apple online store is now gone, leading us to believe this model has possibly been discontinued in favor of a more Retina MacBook Pro-favorable design. We’ve sent a message to our CoolerMaster contact asking for clarification.