Best Laptop Docking Station 2017

Working with multiple computer peripherals can be quite a challenge when you have to struggle with multiple cables running from one device to the next.

With ever changing technology and so much going on at the same time, multitasking with various gadgets and devices has become a way of the life for anyone who knows how to use a computer.

Sale
Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station with...
  • Supports simultaneous HDMI and DVI displays, allowing you to expand your desktop...
  • Not only does this docking station consolidate your devices, it manages their...
  • Automatic bandwidth prioritization of connected devices ensures smooth, stable...

Whether you’re a hardcore tech geek or you’re just a basic PC user, your world is undoubtedly filled with a fairly large number of tech devices.

There is a range of accessories available on the market that can make your life far easier.

Laptop Docking Stations come in play to you make your life easier by dealing with the difficulty of connecting various computer peripherals or accessories to your laptop.

They not only take care of connecting multiple devices to your laptop but also lets you convert your workstation into a power packed outlet.

For example, it can convert your laptop into a portable desktop, or let you project your display on more than one screen.

They’re incredibly easy to use – you just need to plug one cable from your laptop to the dock whenever you need to access your network and simply unplug the cable and get going.

There is a plethora of options available in this space to choose from once you decide to invest in one of the docking stations, suitable to your needs.

And as it goes with all the selection processes, to zero in on that perfect choice could be a cumbersome task.

We hope to make this decision process easier for you by collating the best five choices to pick from. The aim of this article is to provide you with all the facts that you need to know before making your purchase to give an in-depth understanding of what’s on the offer.

How we chose the best Laptop Docking Stations

For the purpose of this article, we conducted extensive online research of the various models and features available out there and what the users feedback has been like about these various models.

After digging deeper, we learned that a few key features are the most crucial and important in a docking station.

These features are;

  • USB Port Compatibility
  • Connectivity
  • Number of Screens
  • Display Resolution
  • Charging Option
  • We narrowed down to these five features by testing some of the docking stations ourselves, with the help of users’ reviews and by conducting extensive research on laptop docking stations.

    The five best Laptop Docking Stations

    Here’s a list of the five best docking stations:

    The most important consideration when choosing the best Laptop Docking Station is USB Port Compatibility

    The whole idea of investing into a dock is to be able to hook up multiple devices to your laptop and be able to control using a single device.

    Imagine that your old external Hard Disk has an older type of USB port and your new dock is not compatible with that, what a disappointment that would be! So look for a dock station that is compatible with both USB port types, USB 2.0 and 3.0 (1.1 isn’t really used anymore).

    USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is a standardized way to connect various computer peripherals to the computer and has been in use for quite a while.

    With the progression of time and technology, it has seen better types and versions of it. The various types of USB are Type-A, Type-B, Mini-USB, Micro-USB and the latest one is Type-C USB. The type of USB determines the rate of data transfer.

    Apple surprised everyone by unveiling the latest MacBook with just one USB-C port, well, that could just be the beginning of a new trend. And that does make our case of USB port compatibility even stronger.

    Other considerations when choosing the best laptop docking station

    Connectivity

    The very reason docking station came into existence was to transform lightweight laptops into highly efficient desktops, and what good will that do if one cannot feel the desktop like connectivity while plugged on a docking station?

    Before making your purchase of a dock look for an Ethernet Port, also called as WAN port, which is used for connecting to a wired connection. To ensure that Ethernet option is there in the new docking station to get improved speed and a sense of desktop like network experience.

    You’ll also want to make sure there is plenty of USB ports.

    Number of Screens

    One cool feature of docking stations is to connect a laptop with multiple monitors, that too with the ability to project different display resolutions. Right from standard ones to HD even 4K.

    There is specific segment of users who would be keener on investing in a docking station that would provide access to more number of screens to render a split image or for various other purposes.

    This might translate into more efficiency or simply enjoying the flexibility to create an environment of choice while creating a personalized setup.

    Display Resolution

    The display resolution, or display mode of a device, matters a great deal to those who are in for working mainly with the image rendering or designing work. The current standard of best display resolution is 4K display option.

    Here it will be a more useful feature for those users who more concerned with the quality of display, people who are dealing mostly with multimedia content, or even artists.

    Not all docking stations will support a 4K display so watch out for ones that do have this option. Or even the closer like full HD or higher resolutions (2560 x 1440).

    Charging option

    This one here is a “nice to have” option. The battery life of a device plays a far more important role in user experience and if it bothers you now and again, plug the charger while focusing on the task while working on a device, be it listening to your favorite music on your ipod or working on that important presentation on your laptop.

    Irrespective of the laptop being plugged to the docking station. There are docking stations available with a facility to keep your device charged without having to plug/unplug the charger directly.

    While this is going to be a rare option among the variety of models available in this space, if that is your priority, you might want to spend some more time finding the right one to serve your needs.

    The best laptop docking station

    Anker Universal Laptop Docking StationThe best laptop docking station we came across was the Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station. The Anker comes with 6 USB ports, 4x USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0 included.

    Supported operating systems include Mac, Android, Ubuntu, and Windows. This flexibility is a big reason why the Anker is our #1 choice.

    As well as your basic ports and features, this Anker model offers something a little extra, bandwidth prioritization.

    What this means is that when you plug in multiple devices, bandwidth is automatically prioritized to ensure smooth and stable connections without any dropping out.

    We especially noticed the benefit of this whilst testing and when all 6 USB ports were taken up, we didn’t notice a drop in charging speed of any devices.

    One cool feature is that the Anker has a detachable base stand, giving you the flexibility to have the device standing upright or sitting horizontally, depending on your environment.

    Simultaneous HDMI and DVI ports are supported, allowing you to expand your desktop to 3 monitors.

    What we loved about this docking station was that when we plugged it in, it auto updated to the latest software and just worked out of the box, without us needing to install any drivers.

    Sale
    Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station with...
    • Supports simultaneous HDMI and DVI displays, allowing you to expand your desktop...
    • Not only does this docking station consolidate your devices, it manages their...
    • Automatic bandwidth prioritization of connected devices ensures smooth, stable...

    The other four laptop docking stations that we shortlisted are

    LB1 High Performance USB 3.0 Universal Docking Station

    LB1 Universal Laptop Docking StationLB1 provides all the basic functionalities with an additional feature of charging up to 6 devices simultaneously, which makes it an attractive choice for those with lots of devices.

    The LB1 is compatible with both Windows and MAC operating systems (Linux unconfirmed). This model comes with dual video output option, with both a HDMI and DVI port.

    On the back are 4x USB 2.0 ports and 2 x ultrafast USB 3.0, as well as a Gigabit Ethernet port and audio input/outputs.

    This docking station is very sturdy, but highly portable. One downside is that the power adapter cable short, which means you need to have it sort’ve close to a powerpoint.

    It looks good and unassuming, and really just looks like a router or modem. I never had any issues with it not recognising devices when plugging them in.

    LB1 High Performance USB 3.0 Universal Docking...
    • CHARGE & SYNC UP TO 6 DEVICES AT ONCE Docking station connects to a single USB...
    • ADD A SECOND MONITOR WITH EASE Laptop docking station also provides you with...
    • WIDELY COMPATIBLE Universal docking station is suitable for use with Windows 10,...

    Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station

    Plugable UD-3900 Universal Docking StationPlugable provides a range of universal dock stations, but we picked this one specifically for the simple reason that is offers all the basic features at quite an economical price.

    We are assuming that an average user is looking at connecting the laptop with a network of computer peripherals such as keyboard, mouse, printer, scanner, speakers, microphones, chargers, etc.

    This model comes with the Ethernet port, 2x USB 3.0 ports as well as 2x USB 2.0 ports. Also with DVI & HDMI ports with flexibility to connect to up to two external displays.

    While the UD-3900 doesn’t support a 4K option, it does support display resolutions up to 2560 x 1440. It should be noted that if dual displays are plugged it, it will restrict you to 1920 x 1080.

    If you need it there is audio inputs and outputs. This docking station is compatible with Windows only, so keep that in mind if you have a Mac or Linux computer.

    One fantastic advantage of this docking station is that it just works. You install the driver, plug things in and it just works. There is no fiddling or errors when plugging in devices.

    Overall the UD-3900 is a popular choice for users with basic needs and a modest budget.

    Sale
    Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station...
    • Provides SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5Gbps) link from PC to dual video, gigabit...
    • HDMI port supports resolutions up to 2560x1440* and DVI/VGA port supports...
    • Full support for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, & legacy XP systems. Surface RT, Mac OS...

    Dell USB 3.0 Triple Display Docking Station

    Dell Triple DIsplay Universal Laptop Docking StationThe Dell D3100 is more about connecting displays, and less about connecting external devices. You can connect up to three additional monitors with the plethora of HDMI and DisplayPort ports. It also supports up to 4K resolution.

    Additionally there is 3 x USB 3.0 and 2 x USB 2.0 ports that will let you connect to all your computer peripherals seamlessly. You’ll also find an audio input/output and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

    One downside is that this dock doesn’t support MST (multi-stream transport) which is basically daisy chaining for monitors.

    Compared to other docks, this one is fairly small and very lightweight, meaning it’s perfect to take around with you wherever you go.

    Sale
    Dell USB 3.0 Ultra HD/4K Triple Display Docking...
    • 2 x USB 2.0 - 4 pin USB Type A, 1 x Headphone input and output 3.5mm
    • 3 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 - 9 pin USB Type A, 1 x network - RJ-45
    • 1 x display / video - DisplayPort output - 20 pin DisplayPort, Super Speed cable

    Targus 4K Universal Docking Station

    Targus 4K Universal Laptop Docking StationThe Targus 4K dock is aesthetically quite appealing, as it positions itself beneath the laptop at an angle that lets user enjoy better viewing/working without much strain on eyes and arms.

    The surface is made of rubber that prevents the laptop from sliding and it holds it in the place while you work on it which is pretty cool. It also doesn’t take up extra desk room as it sits underneath the laptop.

    You get 5 x USB 2.0 ports and 1 x USB 3.0 port for fast charging. There is 1 DisplayPort port which supports a single 4K monitor and 1 DVI-D and DVI-I port that support dual monitors.

    There is a GigaBit Ethernet port and audio input and outputs. This is a plug and play docking station so no driver installation should be necessary.

    Sale
    Targus 4K Universal Docking Station, USB 3.0,...
    • 1 DisplayPort port supports a single 4K monitor (up to 3840 x 2160 x 30 fps)
    • 1 DVI-I and 1 DVI-D ports support dual monitors (up to 2048 x 1152 x 60 fps)
    • 1 Gigabit Ethernet port for wired access at ultra-fast speeds

    The bottom line

    As more people switch to laptops from desktops, thanks to the flexibility and portability they offer, laptop docking stations are becoming more mainstream.

    What’s also becoming more mainstream is the need to embrace the ways that enable the user to experience better computing without compromising the flexibility to carry around their much loved notebook/ultrabook.

    People who travel a lot with their laptops might find it hard to go without a docking station and be spared from handling the mess of cables to connect to other computer peripherals each time they come and go.

    While many laptops manufacturers do provide their proprietary docking stations, not all the models will be supported by them. A universal docking station bridges that gap for users.

    We hope that our above shortlist of docking stations and the insights provided through our extensive research will help you in selecting a docking station.

    Sale
    Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station with...
    • Supports simultaneous HDMI and DVI displays, allowing you to expand your desktop...
    • Not only does this docking station consolidate your devices, it manages their...
    • Automatic bandwidth prioritization of connected devices ensures smooth, stable...

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