D2 High-Performance Cooling Dock - Product Reviews

D2 High-Performance Cooling Dock

SVALT

posted Saturday Nov 26, 2016 by Kelvin McDaniel

D2 High-Performance Cooling Dock
4.58 out of 5

The Ups

The D2 is incredibly well built. The first time I touched this unit I KNEW I wouldn't have to worry about my device sitting safely in this nearly vertical dock (when used as expected). It does a great job of circulating cooler air when my device needs it. When travelling it fits safely in the bottom of my computer backpack and I had no problems getting it through TSA checkpoints.

The Downs

The D2 is expensive and can be difficult to pick up because of its design. There are ways around this and normally you wouldn't be picking it up at all. I use the D2 as a portable stand and I've figured out how to make that work for me. Your mileage may vary. Until you get used to it you won't be certain that it is functioning properly.

The Bottom Line

All in all I'm very happy with this dock. While it doesn't offer USB ports it does reduce my device's footprint and keeps it cool. I feel this outweighs several negative points covered below. At $279 (as of 11/19/2016) the D2 is quite pricey... but if you have the budget and value its convenience it will likely work for you. I have successfully integrated it into my travelling kit and I'm satisfied with its performance. Please note that I received a unit to use for this review.

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Product Description

When running high-demand applications a laptop's built-in cooling system can fail to keep up, leading to processor throttling and slower performance. Heat meltdowns often occur at the office when using the laptop like a desktop, where the improved ergonomics of high-resolution displays and full size keyboard and mouse can help maintain your productivity, which is why the SVALT D2 has been designed to transform your laptop into a desktop workstation for maximum productivity where you need it most, at the office.

Design

The design of this unit is gorgeous and this thing feels HEAVY. I don't recall having seen anything combining functionality with both flair and style as the D2 does. Superficially it is so well done that I was very skeptical of how effective the it would be. The D2's high-end aluminum anodized finish flows seamlessly with my device and it looks like they are a matched set. When not in use it looks GREAT on the desk and evokes a very modern feeling. When in use it basically all but disappears from the user. My only two gripes here are that:

  • The AC interface doesn't sit flush with the D2's power port; rather, it looks and feels like it doesn't go all the way in.
  • The on/off switch is not intuitive. The first several times I used the D2 I couldn't tell if the fan stayed on or not. Also, Its hard to tell when the unit is turned off; this is because it is has a cycle-type switch which might have you going right past the "off" setting without realizing it. Its saving grace is that it has an auto-off feature so this only comes into play if you need to manually turn it off while the unit is still plugged in.

Build Quality

The build quality of this unit is SOLID. Almost completely so. I say "almost" because the fan grill seems to be a bit flimsy compared to the rest of the D2. If it had less "give" when picking up the D2 it would have been perfect. One way around this is to pick it up using the air output port in the front of the unit (which is not intuitive). Please note that normally you wouldn't pick it up at all.

Functionality

The D2 has about a 5 inch square footprint but when in use most of that is hidden by your device. Once you get the hang of the power switch it is "fire and forget" simple to operate. Its fan is typically quieter than what's inside my own device. Although my device is well balanced its design forces me to keep its heavy keyboard attached in order to use all its ports... which means that most less substantial and less costly dock alternatives typically won't work for me.

Size & Weight

As mentioned earlier this thing is HEAVY. When you pick it up it feels like a solid block. That's because it's machined from a single block of aluminum that ends up being about 2 pounds. The product page lists it at 4.8 inches wide by 4.1 inches deep by 4.1 inches tall. Practically it's slightly more than 5 inches deep because of the AC interface. Even so, it reduced my necessary desk footprint to about a third of what I would normally need for my Surface Book.

Compatibility

Although the D2 is made for the MacBook Pro I used a Surface Book with its screen pointing towards me. The combination worked right out of the box with no issues and I was able to use Windows Hello normally (significant because the cameras are upside down). Given this it should work with devices having a depth anywhere between about 0.3 inches to about 0.9 inches (give or take a little) and aren't top heavy. Anything is possible... but you'd have to try very hard to find something meeting that criteria that won't work with the D2.

Unfortunately, that width is incredibly thin. Many super-modern laptops fit this criteria, but laptops and tablets just a few years old will likely be too thick to fit. Before considering this product, definitely ensure that the computer you are purchasing it for is thin enough to fit in the slot.

Setup

Setup is easy: Set the D2 on your desk, plug in the AC unit, place your device and turn them both on. It's a simple as that. Inside the top of the box is a foam faux-roof which hides the AC plug and a hex screwdriver. The screwdriver is used to adjust the sliding rubber pad to accommodate thinner devices. If necessary, loosen the two screws until you can move the sliding pad, adjust as desired and then tighten the screws. Easy.

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