2018 Best Laptop Docking Stations Reviews - Top Rated Laptop Docking Stations
 

Best Laptop Docking Station

Laptop Docking Station 5

Laptop Docking Station Reviews

Laptop docking stations are designed to give you the portability of a laptop when away from your office or home. You can plug a keyboard, mouse, monitor, printer, scanner, external drive, etc. into the docking station and then plug in the laptop into the dock. Instead of having to hassle and connect/disconnect a dozen things each time you want to take the laptop somewhere, just remove it from its docking station and have the tools needed to get the job done. We have reviewed the best docking stations on the market. As with new technology the variety of quality ranges widely along with the features that are important to consumers. We have selected the best docking stations for both quality and features to meet all your computing needs.

Most Popular Laptop Docking Station

Plugable UD-3900

5/5 Product Rating

The Plugable UD-3900 USB 3.0 Universal Docking Stations with Dual Video Outputs for Windows 8.1, 8, 7, XP (HDMI and DVI/ VGA to 2048×1152, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 4A AC Power Adapter) is a great laptop docking station to carry with you on the go. This laptop docking station provides SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 Gbps) link from PC to video, Ethernet, audio input/output, and two USB 3.0 ports. The USB 2.0 is compatible and includes four USB 2.0 ports. The laptop docking station has HDMI and DVI/VGA monitor ports that support and display resolutions up to 2048×1152/ 1920×1200. The Ethernet ports are wired and support 10/100/1,000 Mbps speeds. This laptop docking station supports the newly updated firmware for Windows 8.1 in addition to Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. There are two different sizes including dual display and one extra display. You will enjoy and certainly use this laptop docking station daily.

  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 link from PC to video
  • Four USB 2.0 ports
  • HDMI and DVI/VGA monitor ports
  • Wired Ethernet ports
  • Supports Windows 8.1

Best Overall Laptop Docking Station

Plugable UD-3000

4.9/5 Product Rating

The Plugable UD-3000 USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station for Windows 8.1, 8, 7, XP (DVI, VGA, or HDMI to 2048×1152, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio, 2 USB 3.0 Ports, 4 USB 2.0 Ports, 4A AC Power Adapter) would be a nice addition to many computer applications. You can purchase this laptop docking station at two different sizes varying from dual display to one extra display. When you purchase this laptop docking station you will also receive a four-amp AC power adapter, USB 3.0 Type-A male to Type-B male cable, and DVI-to-VGA. The laptop docking station supports the newly updated firmware for Windows 8.1 in addition to Windows 8, 7, and XP. The Ethernet port is wired and supports 10/100/1000 Mbps speeds. The DVI/VGA/HDMI monitor port supports the display. Along with these many features there is a SuperSpeed feature with a USB 3.0 (5gbps) link from PC to video, Ethernet, audio input/output, and two USB 3.0 ports. This laptop docking station is also USB 2.0-compatable and includes four USB 2.0 ports.

  • 2 different sizes available
  • 4 amp AC power adapter, USB 3.0 cable, and DVI-to-VGA cable included
  • Supports Windows 8.1
  • Ethernet port is wired
  • SuperSpeed feature

Best Budget Laptop Docking Station

Plugable USB 2.0

4.7/5 Product Rating

The Plugable USB 2.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station with DisplayLink DVI/VGA up to 1920×1080, Audio, Ethernet, and 4 Available High-Speed USB 2.0 Ports will be a great device to add to your computer accessories. You can use this device with any PC to add an extra display up to 1920×1080, speakers, Ethernet, and 4 USB ports. The laptop docking station supports Windows 8.1, 8, 7, 32/64 and XP 32-bit drivers via Windows Update, download, or disk. This device is simple and small with no moving parts, no fans, and all standard USB 2.0. The laptop docking station has a DVI/VGA connector, 10/100 Ethernet RJ-45, 3.5mm plugs for stereo speaker and microphone with a security slot. Linux beta-quality drivers are available but with important limitations. This device is a solution to adding extra monitors to your laptop. Once you plug this device into your PC’s USB port, Windows will automatically begin to download and install this device. This laptop docking station is quick and will help you complete your online tasks quickly. You could even plug in your speakers into the laptop docking station and the device will produce a clear sound for your enjoyment.

  • Adds extra display up to 1920×1080
  • Supports Windows 8.1
  • Simple and small device with no moving parts
  • Plugs for stereo with security slot
  • Easy installation process

Laptop Docking Station Buying Guide

Laptop Docking Station 10

Technological developments have revolutionized mobile computing in only a few years, giving rise to even more products that make working with a computer more portable.  This development has also enabled people to work almost anywhere they choose to.

Why there is a need for Laptop Docking Station

While advancements in technology have made mobile solutions more efficient, portable, and more comfortable to use, there’s still nothing that can beat a stationary computer workspace setup when it comes to features. A stationary computer workspace setup provides a person with all the tools that are needed for work, as well as ergonomic comfort and stability that just cannot be duplicated by portable computing solutions.

While more and more people choose the benefit of mobility from laptops, there are many who find themselves striving for a happy medium, a solution that can give them the best of both worlds. This is where a laptop docking station comes in.

There are tools that are meant only for a stationary computer workspace setup, such as a 27-inch LCD display monitor, a 3-in-1 printer/scanner/copier, stereo speakers, a wired internet connection, and a full-sized keyboard. While it’s not difficult to connect a laptop to all these devices, it gets tedious after a while at the very least. It gets frustrating and downright annoying when there are connectivity issues upon reconnecting.

A laptop docking station is meant to provide efficiency and connection stability. It aims to eliminate the repetitiveness of reconnecting numerous devices and minimizes instances of connectivity issues. Of course, there is no solution that works perfectly out of the box for all kinds of devices. One must still practice being a discerning buyer.

Things to Note Before Buying

To get the most out of a laptop docking station, the first thing to do is take note of the devices to be connected. Questions to consider are:

  1. How many devices will be connected?
  2. What kinds of ports do they require?
  3. Do their current positions allow them to be within working proximity of the docking station?

The second thing to consider is the current workspace.

  1. Is there enough space for a docking station that can accommodate all the devices that will be connected?
  2. Will there be enough power sockets for all devices including the docking station?
  3. Is there a need to move some of the devices so that they will be close enough to connect to the docking station?
  4. Is there ample surface for all devices in case they need to be moved closer to each other?
  5. Will there be a need for longer cables or a cable management system?

Once all the requirements are figured out, it’s easier to shop for a docking station that works best with the current setup.

Laptop Docking Station

Consideration

When shopping for a docking station, one must consider the following:

Compatibility

  • It should, first and foremost, be compatible with the operating system of the laptop being used.
  • It must also be compatible with the other devices so that problems with connectivity are avoided.

Available Ports

It should have all the ports that are required by the current workspace setup, and all the ports must work with all current devices. One way to make sure that all ports work with at least some of the devices is to bring the portable gadgets to the store, or have the sales assistant plug in similar devices.

After Sales Support

There should be product and service warranties for the docking station. In case of physical malfunction, the retailer or manufacturer must be able to replace the item within a reasonable period of time. If it cannot be replaced – and this is in cases when the product has been in use for a year – then the manufacturer must be able to repair the item at minimal cost and return it without delay.

The manufacturer also has to be able to provide support upgrades to maintain compatibility with future updates of the laptop’s operating system. For example, the laptop runs on Windows 8 and there’s a major update. If the update affects the docking station’s connectivity, then the manufacturer must make update patches available for download.

Space and Ergonomics

After qualifying a few brands that are compatible and offer good after sales support, the next thing to consider is how much space it takes up.

There are different designs of docking stations – upright, horizontal, and those created for a specific laptop.

The upright design takes the least space, and this design is used mostly for universal docking stations.

The horizontal design takes the most space. Though at first glance it might look awkward as part of a workspace, many horizontal docking stations can be positioned underneath a laptop. If the available choices include a horizontal docking station, it’s better if the laptop is fitted first before buying. This will ensure that working with the docking station underneath the laptop is as stable and as ergonomic as possible.

Docking stations designed for a specific laptop are made to look like the docking station and laptop are seamlessly merged. Another advantage for this type is that it recharges the laptop, while universal docking stations do not. There won’t be much problem with software updates with this design; however, only a handful of laptops have custom-made docking stations created by the same manufacturer.

Though it seems like a minor detail, another feature to consider is if a docking station has rubber skids. This feature helps avoid scratching a laptop or furniture.

Conclusion

A docking station is a laptop’s “landing pad” whether it is in a home or office workspace. It is conceptualized to provide better comfort for laptop users. While there are universal docking stations, none of them can claim to work for all devices and all kinds of workspace setups.

How a docking station works still depends on the buyer. Strategic planning and choosing will go a long way in giving the best possible workspace experience. Not only will it allow for eliminating the tedious process of reconnecting cables time and again, but it will also reduce discomfort and frustrations from connectivity problems. With a carefully designed workspace and the right docking station, computing is made more streamlined and efficient.

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