Matrox DS1 review

The Matrox DS1 is a docking station for Thunderbolt equipped Macs. It instantly adds an array of new connectors to your machine, including a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a high speed USB 3.0 port, audio input and output, and one gigabit ethernet. There’s an extra display port too. In the version we tested there was a DVI connector, but there’s a variant that boasts an HDMI port instead.

It’s a good mix of connectivity. If we were being picky - and we need to be - we might point out that there’s no FireWire port. For many modern Mac owners that won’t be an issue, but it does mean that you’ll need to find an additional solution if you want to hook up legacy equipment.

Aimed at MacBook Air and MacBook Pro users, the DS1 actually works with any Mountain Lion Mac that boasts a Thunderbolt port. We confirmed this by connecting it to a modern Mac mini. Incidentally, the width and brushed aluminium finish of the DS1 match the Mini very nicely.

The DS1’s a premium piece of kit, with solidity and weight. At a little under half a kilo, it’s clearly designed to stay at home. It needs its own power adaptor too, to juice up up all those breakout ports.

With a single cable you can connect your MacBook to a keyboard, mouse, monitor and more. Minimum mess and fuss.

The DS1 really excels when paired with a MacBook Air, adding fixed functionality that transforms your laptop into a viable desktop replacement. You can leave the DS1 at home, connected to monitor, speakers, keyboard and network - perhaps a hard drive or two. When you return from your travels, your MacBook connects to everything with a single cable.

For many, a main attraction of the DS1 will be its video connectivity. You can get Thunderbolt to DVI adaptors, but the dock makes things so much easier to plug in and play.

There’s only one Thunderbolt port on the DS1, but because Thunderbolt daisychains, you can use the DS1 with devices that boast more than one. Just make sure that the DS1 is at the end of the chain.

OUR VERDICT

The price may seem rather steep for a simple breakout box, but the DS1 adds functionality and features that make it easy to connect any laptop to a set of desktop peripherals. There’s just one cable to plug in and you’re ready to work. Or play.

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