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Connect 2 4K displays. Blazing-fast transfer rates. Features 10 ports including 4 USB-C, 3 USB-A, Gigabit Ethernet, and SD card reader. Customizable RGB Chroma lighting. Pass-through charging.
Runs warmer than you may expect.
Supports dual HD video output over HDMI and DVI. Offers wired Gigabit Ethernet port. Provides two high-speed USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports. Includes headphone and microphone jacks. Windows and MacOS compatible.
Needs adapter for USB-C systems.
Connect up to three displays. High-speed data transfer. Supports 4K and Full HD displays. Includes three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, Gigabit Ethernet ports, headphone jack, etc.
The ability to connect to multiple 4K displays would have been nice.
Connects to two Full HD displays at once. Portable design. Compatible with PC and Mac. Inputs include three USB 3.0, HDMI, Gigabit Ethernet, 1200p VGA, etc.
Not optimized for 4K displays.
Connect an 8K, or 3 4K monitors. Features 12 ports, including 2 HDMI, 4 USB-A, and an SD card slot. Runs cool under pressure. Speedy transfer rates. High-speed pass-through charging.
Incompatible with M1 MacBooks.
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Telecommuting is increasingly prevalent in today’s workforce. With technological advances in communications and computing, you can set up your workplace almost anywhere. Laptop docking stations make this transient work-life more convenient and allow a laptop to become the hub of productivity, connecting a laptop to numerous digital accessories at any work site. From printers to external hard drives and standalone monitors, a docking station turns any laptop into a more complete machine.
Most laptop owners have multiple devices in their homes and offices that they use on a regular basis. A good laptop docking station affords the user effortless switching between these locales without sacrificing convenience and provides a simple plug-and-go solution for workers on the go. What’s more, they make most laptops more functional, as they expand the number of USB outlets available to any worker.
As with most electronic components, the most important consideration when purchasing a laptop docking station is your primary use. Some people only need the docking station to connect to a monitor and external keyboard while at work. Others use it primarily for printing and scanning purposes. Docking stations offer a myriad of technical specifications for almost any purpose. Determine what your primary needs are and it will be far easier to choose the best docking station for you.
Once you’ve determined your needs, think about functionality and price. If you know the main specs you’re looking for in a docking station, then finding a good balance between those specs, and your “sweet-spot” price should be easy. Here are a few more useful considerations to help you flush out the best option.
Many laptop docking stations are universal, meaning they can work with any laptop up to spec. Others are designed to be used with a specific type of laptop (Surface Pro, Thinkpad, etc.) If you know that you only plan to use the station for a specific type of laptop, then a universal station isn’t necessary, though it offers less flexibility should your computing situation change in the future.
Most laptop docking stations offer between two and six USB ports, but some offer even more for those who have the need. In addition to the number of ports, the format is important. If you need the ability to connect through VGA or a Thunderbolt cable, make sure that the dock you choose has those capabilities.
This is an option that many who don’t work with video editing or graphics may not pay attention to — until it’s too late. Not all laptop docking stations offer the highest level of video resolution. The most quality stations used for video editing offer Ultra HD 4K resolution. Most do not, so make sure to do your research if you think this may be something you need or want.
Some laptop docking stations have their own power supply, powerful enough to charge peripheral devices. Others run off of the power supplied by your laptop. Consider what accessories you will be running off of the station, and think about your power needs. Also, make sure you have enough power outlets to plug in the station at your workspace.
The choice between a vertical and a horizontal station has as much to do with practicality as it does with personal choice. Your workspace will likely dictate the best option in terms of orientation, but individual preferences will enter into the equation as well. Make sure to look at the area in your workspace before deciding which dock will fit the best. In addition to orientation, it’s a good idea to measure the space you have for the docking station, then compare it to the spec measurements of the station you choose.
Most of the variation in price concerns the technical capabilities of each station. If you don’t have a need for the higher capacity video editing stations, then you may not need to spend on the high end of the spectrum. It’s a good idea to use price as only one considering factor in making your choice, and not the only one.
Most laptop docking stations can be found for just under $100 each. Most of the options in this category offer the basic needs for workplace functionality. For those who don’t need all the fancy bells and whistles, you should be able to find a good station for you within this range.
This includes the models between $100 and $200. In this range, more features become available, including a higher number of ports, and higher power capabilities. The mid-range stable of docking stations offers something for those who have more high-tech needs as well as those who need just the basics. There is an option for everyone in this price bracket.
Models that are priced at $200 or more are great for anyone who wants to make sure they are never wanting for technical capabilities. These docking stations give the most options in terms of video capabilities and port options. Although they are the top dogs in the range, they are still just as easy to use for a tech newbie.
A. The answer to this question depends on the individual station. Some supply enough power to charge your accessories, but others do not. Check the specs on your choice to see their power capabilities.
A. No. As with the power capabilities, dual monitor options are available on some docking stations, but not others. Please check each product description to see if it meets your needs.
Q. Do all Laptop docking stations work with my Apple computer?
A. Not necessarily. Some docking stations are Windows-only models, so make sure the one you choose is able to work with Apple systems.
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