It's always interesting to see what new companies have to offer and mLogic is a new Apple accessory maker that has come up with a few novel ideas. The company announced its first three products today, the mDock, the mBack and the mLink, all offering some compelling features, but we'd suggest mLogic spend a little bit more time researching Apple's products before launching any more accessories, as one of its products isn't as compatible as the company claims.
Let's start with the mBack, a simple hard drive caddy that mounts on the back of Apple's iMac or one of Apple's displays with a special mounting bracket that goes in the round hole. mLogic makes a big deal out of this and calls it a "unique zero-footprint backup drive" and in as neat as it might be not to have a hard drive take up any space on your desk, the mBack is using the sluggish USB 2.0 interface which is quite disappointing considering it'll come with either a 1, 2 or 3TB hard drive.
The mLink is an external Thunderbolt to PCI Express enclosure, although the company hasn't provided any specifics as to how many cards can be fitted etc. No pictures or details are available on the company website of the mLink either, so we'll just have to wait and see how this one turns out, but it will have a daisy chain port according to the press release.
This brings us to the mDock, which as the name applies is a dock, more specifically a notebook dock that the company claims has been designed for all of Apple's 13 and 15-inch MacBook Pro notebooks from 2009 to today. It's a peculiar little device, as it's more of an external port replicator with a built in hard drive than a dock. In fact, it attaches to the side of the notbook and connects to the audio jacks, one of the USB 2.0 ports, the Thunderbolt/mini DisplayPort connector, the FireWire 800 port and the Ethernet port.
Well, we're sorry to say this, but mLogic fairly obviously missed the fact that the current 13-inch MacBook Pro only has a single audio jack for a headset, whereas the mDock has a pair of 3.5mm jacks and as such it would be impossible to use the mDock with a 13-inch MacBook Pro, at least without breaking off one of the audio connectors. We're not quite sure how the company could've failed to notice this.
As for functionality for those with a compatible MacBook Pro, well, around the front you end up with a pair of USB 2.0 ports of which one is only for charging (up to 10W), a headphone socket and a lever that appears to be a volume control. Around the back we have a pair of USB 2.0 ports, a mini DisplayPort (it's not clear if it supports Thunderbolt or not), a FireWire 800 port, an Ethernet port, a headphone and mic jack and a 12V DC connector. Yes, it requires a dedicated 12V power supply to be connected to power it, as there's a cut-out to allow the MagSafe power connector to be attached to the notebook.
The reason for the extra power requirement is the built in 500GB or 1TB hard drive, we're guessing a 2.5-inch drive based on the size options. mLogic is making a big deal of the fact that this is somehow meant to reduce cable clutter on your desk, but we can honestly not see a great benefit of owning this over any other USB docking solution, If that's the main purpose of the mDock. Sure, it might help reduce the cable clutter to a degree when it comes to plugging in an external storage device, but it also adds a cable of its own by the simple fact that it requires power. Judging by mLogic's website, some kind of optional iPhone/iPod dock will also be made available for the mDock.
The mDock will retail for US$219 with a 500GB hard drive and US$299 with a 1TB hard drive, whereas the mBack will cost US$169 with a 1TB hard drive, US$209 with 2TB and US$349 with 3TB. Finally the mLink will set you back US$399 which seems quite steep, although as we don't know the specifications as yet, it's a bit hard to say. All products should be available for purchase from mLogic in November.
Update: As you can see in the comments below, the company apparently offer a different version for 13-inch MacBook Pro's with a single audio connector, but this wasn't clear from the press release or the details on the company website.