Accell’s Full Function Docking Station: Laptop Becomes Desktop
Better Use of a Laptop at Home
People prefer laptops to desktop computers because they’re easier to use, don’t take up a lot of space and force you to always be in the same place when you’re using it. But you’ll be met with compromises as to using peripherals should you decide to use it at home or in any indoor setting; todays laptops don’t have a lot of connections as is the case with a desktop. So instead of having to sacrifice versatility for convenience, a docking station is needed to provide those connections. And a good choice for this is Accell’s USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station.
Right from the start this docking station doesn’t play favorites. It isn’t platform-centric — that means that it can work equally well with a Mac or Windows laptop (although Windows, unlike the Mac, might need to download some specific drivers in order to function optimally). The single and immovable requirement is that the laptop has a USB 3.0 port as this speed is necessary for the dock to communicate effectively and quickly with the laptop as to transferring data. As this is not something that can be added later on through a software update, but must be built in from the start, the lack of USB 3.0 on the laptop obviates the ability to use this dock. The Docking Station will connect to the laptop through this single connection and will not be a drain on the laptop’s battery because it uses the wall outlet for supplying itself with power.
Having a small rectangular shape, the Docking Station can be placed unobtrusively to the side of the laptop. It has connections on both its front and back — the front panel being most accessible to the user, and so devices that get plugged into it, used and then unplugged can be done on a regular basis. The back has connections designed for peripherals that will be plugged in and left in. So looking at this first, one end has the AC outlet followed by the USB 3.0 connector which goes to the laptop. At the other end is a RJ45 port providing Gigabit Ethernet (from a wired connection) that goes to the router, should wireless from the laptop be too slow or undesired. The other ports provide the means for connecting two high-def monitors/TVs supporting up to 2048x1152@60Hz through each display. Go with just one and you have the choice of 4K/3840x2160@30Hz through DisplayPort or WQHD/2560x1440 through HDMI 1.3.
The front panel is of course more accessible: from left to right there’s a 3.5mm earphone/microphone input/output. This lets you connect either powered speakers or a pair of headphones for listening, or insert a microphone instead to use for recording voice. To the right are 3 USB 3.0 ports — each of these able to provide a fast exchange of data at speeds up to 5 Gbps (a speed of 10 X that of the now aged USB 20) between a compatible device — for example, a USB 3.0 external hard drive — and the laptop. These ports also are able to charge mobile devices like smartphones and others( for example, a digital camera) at 900mA. There is also another USB 3.0 port which has an added battery icon associated with it: this is due to it being able to support rapid charging of devices (up to 1.5 amps).
The Advantage of a Laptop Dock
The advantages to using this docking station are obvious: instead of a small LCD screen that must contain everything being looked at, a much larger monitor can be used (and with a higher resolution as well). Or more than one monitor can be employed to make it easier to do such things as edit video, research and make notes using a web browser and word processor together, etc. Storage is no longer confined to the internal hard drive, but can now be accessed through a series of external hard drives. The sound can be enhanced over internal speakers and other peripherals easily connected for use with the laptop as needed/wanted.
The Accell USB 3.0 Full Function Docking Station works with PCs running Windows 7 or newer and Macintosh operating systems 10.6 - 10.11.