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Pointers for laptop docking station buyers

Updated on August 1, 2016
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Purpose of laptop docking stations

Mainly laptop docking stations are used to offer instant laptop integration into your Home office desktop environment without having to struggle will bunch of wires.

In short what laptop docking station does is:

  • it offers to replace bunch of wires with just one connector;
  • gives opportunity to add more desktop monitors (2 or more);
  • it gives access to multiple port originally not supported by a laptop machine;
  • It might provide a stand and/or a cooling system for your laptop.

The variety of features differ as here are docks designed for different purposes:

  • Some are built just to give extra ports and are connected to laptop with a USB cable. These will be the cheapest ones since they don't actually do anything. Many might not even include an extra video port for that 3rd extra screen You were dreaming of.
  • Some are built for travel and therefore they are slimmer than their peers, but often they provide less features (or build quality) when compared to same price range peers.
  • And finally there are solid docks that are meant to turn your laptop into your Desktop. They are the largest of them and come with largest amount off features many of which You might never use in your life, but they are there for you in case You need them. Problem here is that these are differ the most between themselves and only common feature that make them stand out from the crowd is a dedicated connection socket (your laptop also needs to have one)

Not sure about you, but I am not really interested in a port extender for my laptop, but in case You feel that that's exactly what You need, I would recommend the Diamond Multimedia Ultradock - it does what it says it does and gets it done really good according to benchmarkreviews.com.


Characteristics needed

If we are looking for a docking station that is more than just a port extender (like Diamonds Ultradock) we most likely have already a pretty clear idea what features this dock must have for our specific purpose, but I will still dare to state some common features that a good laptop dock must have:

  • Ethernet controller
  • Latest USB ports available on the dock
  • Extra monitor support available - if You already know how many screens You will need, it's best to check that the Dock supports that many monitors.
  • Connectivity - how dock connects with the laptop just be on a safe side that they are connectable. Dell, Lenovo, and HP offer docking stations that integrate into a proprietary port, usually on the bottom or back of the laptop.
  • Optional - 4K support if UltraHD video quality is needed.

Not least important is the manufacturer of a dock. I would never agree to pay $ 300.00 for a product of an unknown brand unless I will have done some web-research proving that the particular manufacturer is 120% legit.

Basically, if you go down this road You should be able to identify key features that your dock needs to have and google for it. In case your needs are very specific, be ready to get creative with several products since most demand stands for universal good-for-all docks like Plugable UD-3900.


Conclusion

Bottom line - docks are extremely handy if you actually need one and are extremely useless if you don't. What I wanted to stress here is the need to define your personal needs and requirements that your dock will have to meet and focus on them + the characteristics I advised earlier in order to receive the highest value from your investment.

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