A few weeks ago I introduced you to a new line of low-cost docking stations for the MacBook and MacBook Pro from a new company called Henge Docks. Thanks to Henge Docks, I've been able to take a look at the construction of one of these products for the 13" MacBook Pro, and we'll be giving away our review model to a lucky TUAW reader.

As I noted in the first post, the Henge Docks aren't made to handle MacBooks with their screens open. Instead, the company chose to focus on using the MacBooks in a vertical docked position with the screen closed. You'd use this in cases where your MacBook is connected to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, or where you're using the MacBook as a "media center" to display photos or video, or act as a music server.

That being said, the Henge Docks do a good job at a low cost. Rather than create a docking station that required a lot of high-tech connectors and (most likely) approval by a lot of standards organizations, Henge chose to use standard over-the-counter cables and connectors. It's how those cables and connectors are held into the docking station that is the clever idea.

Check out the gallery below for a few nice closeups and details of the Henge Dock.

Each Henge dock comes with a specific set of cables. To determine what you need to provide and what your Henge Dock is equipped with, there's a PDF copy of the Instruction Manual and User Guide available here.

Since a picture tells a thousand words and a video is made up of a lot of pictures, I'll let the following video tell you exactly how you put the cables into the dock:

As of today, all of the models are either back-ordered or available for pre-order. The initial manufacturing run was for the 13" Aluminum Unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro, and the company has already sold out of inventory. Henge Docks has plans to offer the docks in models that will accommodate the White or Black Plastic MacBook (2006 to mid-2009), White Plastic Unibody MacBook (mid-2009 to current date), 13" Aluminum Unibody MacBook (late 2008 - mid-2009), 13" Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pro (mid-2009 to current date), 15" Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pros (3 models from late 2008 to current date), and 17" Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pros (2 models from mid-2009 to current date).

Since the dock is essentially made of precision-molded plastic and metal setscrews, the cost of production is low. The dock that we'll be giving away is for a 13" Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pro, and the normal retail price for that is US$64.95. Since I do not have access to that particular model of MacBook Pro, I was not able to test the unit. However, I did take some photos that are included in a gallery at the end of this post. In case you're concerned about the quality or usefulness of the Henge Docks, the company is providing a 30-day money back guarantee (including shipping).

The dock includes the plastic base piece with molded "wings" that support it vertically on a flat surface, and a box that contains all of the cables, tools, and instructions you'll need to set it up. For the 13" MacBook Pro, the cables include a Category 5E Ethernet cable, 2 USB cables, one Firewire 800 cable, and an audio-out cable. You'd need to supply the Mini-DisplayPort to DVI cable for connecting to a monitor, as well as the usual MagSafe power adapter.

The plastic that the Henge Dock is made out of is quite thick and non-flexible, so it should be able to hold up under repeated use. The holes for the cable ends are all molded to tight tolerances, and once the cables have been placed in the dock and the setscrews are tightened down, they shouldn't move. I liked the fact that the base includes air holes so that cooling air going into the MacBook Pro is not obstructed. The base includes rubber feet to keep the dock from marring wood surfaces.

Now it's time for a giveaway! Remember, this is for a Henge Dock for a 13" Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pro - it is specific to that model, so unless you have one or are planning to buy one soon, entering the giveaway is kind of a moot point. To enter, all you need to do is answer one question -- are you going to use your Henge Dock to connect to an external monitor or a TV? Here are the contest details:
  • Open to legal US residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada who are 18 and older.
  • To enter, let us know if you're going to use your Henge Dock to connect to an external monitor or a TV
  • The comment must be left before midnight on Saturday, May 15th, 2010, 11:59PM Eastern Daylight Time.
  • You may enter only once.
  • One winner will be selected in a random drawing.
  • Prize: One Henge Dock docking station for a 13" Aluminum Unibody MacBook Pro (Value = $64.95)
  • Click Here for complete Official Rules.

This article was originally published on Tuaw.