USB Notebook Docking Stations

What Should I Look for in a Laptop Docking Station?

A Laptop Docking Station is designed to provide the means to connect your Laptop or Notebook computer to a number of peripherals, so that you can use your laptop computer in an office environment with all the benefits of having a desktop computer.

Some docking stations allow you to plug in your notebook and the station connects to the main rear connectors to link notebook to selected peripherals.  Best Quality USB C Hub Some other docking stations have a single connector such as a USB connector, and all your mouse, video, audio and network connections are fed through a single USB connection.

Most of the USB Laptop Docking Stations are made my manufacturers who design them to be universal in order to be used with virtually any Laptop Computer depending on the operating system in use. This means that you only have a single connection when you return to your desktop environment, and can access all the normal resources on your Notebook.

A docking station virtually turns your Notebook Computer into a desktop device, but maintaining the mobility of your Notebooks in seconds with a simple undocking procedure. Some systems are known as cold docking, whereby the Laptop is closed down before docking and undocking. Others have a hot docking capability, allowing you to dock or undock your Laptop Computer without the need to shut down the operating system prior to completing the operation.

Some docking stations are known as a breakout dock, which are in effect a port replicator which provides that existing facilities available on your Laptop plus a number of additional ports.

It can be a simple fact that your notebook computers may not have enough ports to allow you to used all the peripherals you would like to. One thing that a lot of Universal Laptop Docking Stations provide you with are additional USB Ports. A lot of these docking systems also often provide DVI, HDMI or VGA ports to allow you to connect to an external monitor or display.

The USB Laptop Docking Stations are becoming the most popular models due to their light portable design, capabilities and value for money. To models that I have looked at are the Startech.com USBDOCK2 and the Kensington 60723EU

USBDOCK2

This docking station provides USB connectivity using the USB 2.0 standard. A number of commonly used interfaces are provided including 3.5mm mini-jack connectors for headphones and microphone, RJ-45 10/100 Ethernet connector and an additional 4 USB 2.0 Ports. At under £35 I consider this device to be versatile and extremely good value for money. This model comes with a 1 year warranty and lifetime manufacturers technical support.

60723EU

This device has a different ergonomic design to that of the USBDOCK2 model, in that it comes in the form of a stand, whereby you simply slip your Notebook computer into the stand to have almost instantaneous access to all your connections. Like the previously mentioned model, it has 4 additional USB 2.0 ports to expand your capability. The stand also has the additional benefit or raising your Laptop screen for easy viewing.

So, if you want to expand the number of peripherals available from your laptop computer or want to give your notebook the feel of a desktop computer then consider buying a Laptop USB Docking Station, it could provide you with an enhanced user experience.

David Christie is MD at NSTUK Ltd, a Technical Training and Consultancy company based in the Northeast of England. David delivers technical training in the area of Data Communications and Telecoms and also provides consultancy and Training Needs Analysis. The company runs an ecommerce website specialising in the sale of Networking hardware and consumer electronics.

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