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Aegis NetDock – Mac Edition Notebook Docking Station for MacBook or MacBook Air – ‘Book Mystique Review

The Aegis Netdock isn’t exactly a new product, having been around since 2008, but Apricorn recently announced a new Mac Edition ($229 for 1TB model), the main difference between it and the model that’s been on the market for several years now being that it comes with a Mac formatted hard drive, and a particular marketing focus on the MacBook Air. As you’re probably aware, Apple’s thin and light laptop achieves those characteristics in part by losing the internal optical drive that’s been standard equipment on all other Mac laptops since the PowerBook 1400c back in 1996.

While most of us don’t give our laptop optical drives very heavy use any more, with the Internet and increasingly the Cloud having filled many of the tasks and roles that used to be the territory of CDs and DVDs, there are still times when nothing but an optical drive will do — when you’re going to need to install software or run a diagnostic or repair program that demands an optical drive, rip an audio DVD or watch a movie. Burning discs is often the most economical and convenient way to move or store data.

And especially for digital photographers and cinematographers, SSD storage at a premium.That’s why when I first checked out the Aegis NetDock back in 2009, it almost immediately occurred to me that If I ever get a MacBook Air, and that’s now a distinct possibility with a laptop system upgrade tentatively scheduled for me for sometime this year and my unibody MacBook Core 2 Duo tying the knot on its third anniversary in March, the NetDock would be the perfect solution for occasional optical drive needs as well as for file backups and as a USB port expansion hub for the typically port-challenged Air.

The second-generation MacBook Air does have two USB 2.0 ports, which is a 100% increase from the original Air’s pathetically oversubscribed single port, but even two is not really sufficient. Most PC laptops do better than Apple in the USB port department, with even many netbooks having three ports, while the only MacBook that comes with three is the big 17-inch MacBook Pro. For many of us, two, or even three USB ports aren’t nearly enough. Currently, for example, I have three four–port USB hubs connected to my 13-inch MacBook, and only two ports are unoccupied. Earlier today it was just one. One of my axioms is that you can never have too many I/O port options.

“With so many mobile professionals and students using the MacBook Air as their primary computer, the ability to conveniently add desktop features when needed makes the Aegis NetDock an ideal companion for the MacBook Air,” says Mike McCandless, VP of Sales & Marketing at Apricorn. “Its tiny size, affordable price and comprehensive feature set make the Aegis NetDock an appealing addition.”

Dual Layer DVD Burner

The Aegis NetDock’s optical drive will do the job installing or restoring software that requires disk installs, access archived data you have stored on DVD or CD, listening to music CDs or watching DVD movies or videos, or playing games, as well as burning data to CD or DVD media. The NetDock’s drawer-loading optical drive’s Dual Layer recording engine lets you can record up to 8.5GB of data per DVD, virtually doubling data storage capacity on a DVD recordable disc from the single layer recording capacity of 4.7 GBs.

Compact Design

With its candy-red enclosure and its space-saving vertical stand facilitating a tiny footprint small enough to fit on small or cluttered desks, the Aegis NetDock is an ideal solution for mobile professionals, students and others looking for a simple and compact way to connect all of their mobile devices.

4-Port USB Hub

Capable of connecting and charging Apple “i” devices, including iPhone, iPad and iPod, the NetDock’s 4-port USB Hub with two “Always On” USB ports, enables you to connect up to four USB devices using a single USB port on your MacBook or MacBook Air.

Dual Layer DVD Burner

The Aegis NetDock’s optical drive is a solution for installing software that still ships(ped) on DVD or CD, data you may have stored on burned optical disks, playing games or watching DVDs. Need to burn al iMovie or iLife project to a DVD? With its Dual Layer recording engine you can record up to 8.5GB of data per DVD, virtually doubling data storage capacity on a DVD recordable disc from the single layer recording capacity of 4.7 GBs.

High Capacity Hard Drive

Fully compatible with Time Machine, the Aegis NetDock’s built-in 500GB or 1TB hard drive also gives you plenty of space to store your media collection, photos and videos in one local and always-accessable location.

The Aegis NetDock is also available without a hard drive. The easy open enclosure enables you to add, swap, or change out the hard drive in a snap. The enclosure fits any 2.5″, 9.5mm SATA hard drive.

Green Energy Efficient Design

In addition, the Aegis NetDock’s energy efficient design incorporates an auto “ON” and “OFF” feature, automatically turning on when connected to your MacBook, and powering down when not in use.

“With so many mobile professionals and students using the MacBook Air as their primary computer, the ability to conveniently add desktop features when needed makes the Aegis NetDock an ideal companion for the MacBook Air,” says Mike McCandless, VP of Sales & Marketing at Apricorn. “Its tiny size, affordable price and comprehensive feature set make the Aegis NetDock an appealing addition.”

Included in the box are the drive enclosure (with or without drive installed), a vertical power supply brick, a USB cable, AC Power Adapter, a disk containing DVD Burning Software and Synchronization Software (Windows only), and a Quick Start Guide.

Note that the NetDock does require power from its included power supply brick, and does not bus power through the laptop’s USB port, which means that you can’t access data on it unless 120 volt AC is available. And while on the subject of power, the NetDock has is no manual on/off button; it powers down automatically when not in use.

The Aegis NetDock comes in any color you like as long as it’s metallic candy red with black accents. It suits my sense of aesthetics. The unit can be positioned in a flat–on–the–desktop orientation, which will be best when you’re using the tray–loader optical drive, and also in vertical mode supported by the included stand, which renders the device’s footprint substantially smaller.

I find it reassuringly stable when mounted in the stand, which has rubbery contact services that grip the drive securely but also allow it to be slipped in and out of its support channel easily. Nicely executed.

‘Book Mystique rating: five out of five. I really haven’t found anything to seriously complain about.

Warranty – 1 year

With 500GB Hard Drive – $189
With 1TB Hard Drive – $229
Without Hard Drive – $69

Free Shipping for orders over $200

Apricorn’s Aegis NetDock is available from online retailers and Apricorn’s website at:
http://www.apricorn.com

For more information on Aegis NetDock Mac Edition go to:
http://www.apricorn.com/products/notebook-docking-station/aegis-netdock-mac-edition.html

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