Brydge ProDock provides instant desktop connectivity.

The Brydge ProDock is essentially a modern take on a product that Apple released way back (well, 1992): the Macintosh Duo Dock. The idea is to be able to instantly switch between using your Mac laptop as a mobile device and as a desktop device.

There have been several third party proposals for this idea. Brydge ProDock is perhaps the best of them all, but also the most expensive…

Macintosh Duo Dock

Apple’s Macintosh Duo Dock seemed incredibly futuristic when it launched in 1992. When you returned to your desktop with your PowerBook Duo, you docked it. As with Apple CD and DVD drives, once you insert it half way, the motor will stretch the rest.

This will automatically pair it with the massive 152-pin dock connector, allowing you to use all the accessories that will remain permanently connected to the dock. When you were ready to leave, the eject button used the same engine to return the car to you. It was a good 9.75 on the coolness scale.

Subsequent third-party docks

Other companies have adopted the same basic concept for modern MacBooks.

In 2015, for example, there was Henge Dock. With this, you placed your MacBook on the platform and the motors then inserted the connectors into the ports on your Mac, activating the 13 ports on the back of the device.

In 2021, Brydge has taken a slightly different approach with its MacBook Vertical Dock. Instead of giving you a ton of different ports, it simply provides a single cable connection to your monitor. The emphasis here was more on convenience and space savings rather than connectivity.

The Brydge MacBook Vertical Dock is a different type of dock. It doesn’t offer any additional ports; instead, it offers you an instant, neat and space-saving way to instantly connect your MacBook to a monitor. Just plug your MacBook into the dock and you’re connected.

Brydge ProDock

The Brydge ProDock (or the Brydge ProDock Thunderbolt 4 Dock for MacBook, to give it its full name) essentially combines both functions into one.

The vertical format means the MacBook takes up less space on your desk in the dock – and you still get a single cable connection to your monitor – but it also offers you a full range of built-in ports.

See and feel

You can usually expect premium Brydge products. Indeed, his aluminum iPad keyboards always looked like they were made by Apple.

The ProDock looks stylish, but it’s more plastic than anodized aluminum.

My biggest problem with the physical design is the large size. The inclusion of a MagSafe-compatible cordless phone charger is a nice touch, but it’s horizontal rather than vertical. This means that the footprint of the ProDock is significantly larger than it might otherwise be. Considering space saving is one of the functions of the docking station, this seems like an odd choice.

Overall, the footprint is a fairly large 8×8 inches, plus you need some extra space in the back for things plugged into all those ports. In my case, this adds almost three more inches to my effective table area.

Tune

The ProDock is sold as a single unit suitable for three different machines:

M2 MacBook Air 14″ MacBook Pro 16″ MacBook Pro

Three different housings are provided to facilitate this, and attaching the correct one with the supplied hex wrench takes only 30 seconds. There is also a retractable mechanism to accommodate USB-C ports in different positions, which must be installed in the 14 or 16-inch position.

There is one more additional setting if you are using macOS Ventura. The new default security settings prevent the use of accessories when the Mac is locked, so you need to change this:

 > Privacy & Security > Allow accessories to connect > Always

All this is a one-time step; after that, you simply insert your MacBook into the dock.

Connection

You are getting:

1 Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) upstream including 98W power delivery (inside case) 3 Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) upstream 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB-C) 3 USB 3.2 Gen 2 (USB -A) ports 1 x 1 Gig Ethernet port 1 x SD card reader 1 x 3.5mm audio port MagSafe compatible wireless phone charger

The docking station itself is powered by the included power supply. This delivers 135W of power, of which 98W is available for the MacBook.

In use

One of the biggest advantages of any dock of this type is the simple convenience it offers when switching between mobile and desktop use.

When you get home, you just plug your MacBook into the dock and you’re done. Similarly, when leaving, just hold one hand on the base to keep it from rising, and then pull out the MacBook.

That’s really all there is to say: it’s fast and easy.

Brydge ProDock Conclusions

Even if you only have a single cable connection to your Mac, it’s still better than putting your Mac away and then plugging it in. Obviously, the more accessories you have connected, the more convenient it seems.

But for $400, it’s hard to sell just because of the convenience. For me, this is a fairly niche product that really comes in handy for those who have multiple wired devices they need to connect, especially Thunderbolt 4 devices. In my case, it’s an external monitor, a couple of external drives, and 1-Gig Ethernet.

Even then, you still have to balance convenience and time savings against cost. It will be a personal balancing act, so it’s up to you to decide.

One thing that might help is replacement MacBook holders. One would hope Brydge would make new ones for later MacBooks and sell them separately. In this case, you have a docking station that will not only work with your existing MacBook, but also with a later update. It helps the cost equation, but depends on enough people willing to spend money today to make it a viable product for Brydge. Time will show!

The Brydge ProDock is available for pre-order today on the company’s website and will ship later this month. The cost is $399.99.