Henge Docks Clique: A new way to merge your Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad
Many Mac users use a combination of an Apple Wireless Keyboard and a Magic Trackpad for their typing and pointing pleasure. Twelve South came up with a lovely way to merge the two devices into a single unit with the MagicWand (US$29.99). Now Henge Docks has developed a less expensive and more functional device called the Clique ($24.99) that should be a fierce competitor to the MagicWand.
Design and Functionality
Three minor issues with the MagicWand have been addressed with the Clique. First, I felt that $29.99 was a bit expensive for what is essentially two pieces of plastic and a tiny piece of silicone. Second, if I want to use the keyboard and trackpad in my lap, I'm out of luck with the MagicWand as there's no physical support for those peripherals. Finally, if I'm going to be away from my iMac for a while and wish to turn off the keyboard, I have to take it out of the MagicWand to have access to the power button on the right side.
The Clique is actually a thin, bright white plastic rigid tray into which your Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Trackpad "click," hence the clever name. When the peripherals are snapped into the Clique, they form a rigid unit that can easily be used in a lap. I found this to be wonderful -- when I'm using the MagicWand, I have to place it onto my desktop and sit closer to the screen of my iMac. Now I'm able to place the keyboard and trackpad on my legs and move back a bit into a much more comfortable position in my chair.
Turning off the keyboard or trackpad is also easy. Henge Docks designed a small spring-loaded button into the right side of the Clique that can be depressed to power the trackpad on and off. In addition, there's a small slider underneath the keyboard that is used to turn the keyboard on and off without taking the keyboard out of the Clique.
I was a bit concerned that the Clique would be uncomfortable for typing, as it adds a bit of thickness to the keyboard that doesn't exist with the Magic Wand. That concern went away as soon as I started using the Clique -- if you hold your hands in a proper position for typing, that extra 1/16th of an inch doesn't cause any problem.
I type a lot (I've written well over one million words for TUAW during my three-plus years here), and anything that makes typing and pointing more comfortable gets a thumbs-up from me. The Clique works very well and moves my keyboard and trackpad to a much more comfortable typing position. Now that turning off the keyboard is going to be easier, I'll probably get better life from my batteries.
With the help of Henge Docks and the Clique, I think I'll be able to crank out another couple million words without too much damage to my arms and hands. The Clique would also make a wonderful holiday gift for anyone who wants a rigid keyboard/trackpad combo that they can use to make their daily Mac user more comfortable.
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