I use my MacBook Pro to develop apps, so I'm constantly taking it with me when I visit clients and colleagues, and even to Starbucks, which means frequently unplugging it and plugging it in. So I decided to get a docking and charging station in order to simplify my life. I was looking at the Thunderbolt docks from Belkin and Matrox, but at upwards of $300, it's hard to accept that price just for the convenience of using a single cable to connect all of my devices. A great compromise is the simpleDock ($119.95) from Kanex.
The Kanex simpleDock is an elegant, Apple-inspired hub that integrates Gigabit Ethernet in addition to three USB 3.0 ports and another dedicated 2.1 Amp charging port for an iPad or other device. Unlike the Belkin and Matrox devices, the simpleDock doesn't try to connect video or Thunderbolt devices, which brings the cost and complexity down.
I have switched to USB 3.0 as much as possible for my backup drives, and even my card reader, so this was a welcome feature. The integrated Ethernet port is also appreciated, as Ethernet cables can be the trickiest to plug and unplug, with each attempt putting more stress on the connector. This allows me to have high performance connectivity when docked, and wireless when on the go, with one USB connector to plug and unplug.
Kanex has made a name for themselves offering high quality Apple accessories and the simpleDock continues that trend. There is a "well" where an iPhone can be placed while charging or syncing, and the charging cable can be routed internally for a streamlined look. The heft of the simpleDock ensures it will stay put and the aluminum exterior would make the simpleDock right at home in the Apple store or on Jony Ive's desk. And at under $120, it's a lot easier to justify than a $300 Thunderbolt dock.