Most people never see a naked hard disk; for the majority, they sit happily inside computers or external enclosures, and that's where they'll stay.
For just a few of us, however, this new dock is a revelation. The idea is very simple: it's a cradle for SATA hard disks. The chunky black box connects to your Mac using USB 2.0, and then you simply drop in 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch drives - a notch in the sprung door supports the smaller drive size - and it mounts on your Desktop.
Files can then be copied to and from the drive as you would with any other, and performance is limited only by the capability of the drive you mount, bottlenecked through the USB bus.
When you're done, unmount the drive from your Desktop and pop the eject button. And that's the beauty of this little gadget; it makes quickly checking the contents of drives, cloning from backups or moving from a lower to a higher-capacity drives really easy. And since Intel Macs can even boot from drives connected over USB 2.0, it's a handy way to troubleshoot recalcitrant hard disks.
It's much simpler to dock a drive in this cradle than it is to muck about with external enclosures, though we still think a proper enclosure is ideal if you're going to use an external drive permanently.
Build quality is reasonable - though the power/activity light is a little dim - and while we'd have been even more excited about a solution that included the old-fashioned IDE/PATA connectors as well as SATA, the low price and inclusion of a USB cable mean we're not too disappointed.
This isn't a product that will sell in its thousands, but as a way of quickly mounting SATA drives, it's peerless.