Last Updated on January 8, 2024 by Markeyus Franks
Do I Need a Docking Station
Computers have revolutionized the office culture since the first day they were commercially available. And since the 1990s, laptops have opened an entirely new world of possibilities. People could carry around important documents and work on the go with all the features the desktop offers.
Even though laptops today are impeccable in handling daily tasks, the ruggedness of a desktop setup cannot be beaten. While laptops offered portability, people had to compromise on connectivity, space, and screen size. So, manufacturers took notice and introduced docking stations. Docking stations turn your laptop into a portable powerhouse when you sit at your work desk and enjoy its portability as soon as you undock it.
What is a Docking Station?
In a nutshell, a docking station is a device that turns your laptop into a full-fledged desktop setup. Docking stations have also been known as port replicators; they allow you to connect your laptop to a series of devices through a single port. Some of the Dell laptops used to come with a dedicated docking port and station, but they have come a long way from that, and today you can find universal docking stations for every laptop.
Most docking stations give your laptop numerous extra ports, allowing you to connect additional displays, printers, keyboards, and many other peripherals. You can connect all you need with little to no effort as soon as you sit at your work desk.
Docking Station vs. Hub
A docking station is not the only solution to having extra ports in your laptop. A hub is another way to add more ports to your existing setup. While both have overlapping functionality, A docking station is a step above a regular hub.
Hubs usually connect to your laptop’s existing USB-A or C ports, giving you additional USB ports to plug in or charge other devices. Hubs usually pull power from your laptop and do not need any external power source. Essentially, a hub is like a power strip, only for the USB ports on your computer.
A docking station offers you a variety of different ports, including USB. Most docking stations allow you to connect additional displays, a LAN connection, audio connectors, card readers, and more. Docks need external power from a wall socket, and in some cases, they charge your laptop too.
USB 3.0 vs. USB-C Docking Station
If you have browsed the market for a docking station, the terms USB 3.0 and USB-C may have crossed your path. For someone who has the technical knowledge of both these USB standards, it is very simple, but it can be very confusing for someone who doesn’t.
A USB-C port is a physical standard in cables; it is one of the latest reversible connectors, usually compatible with newer devices. It was first released in 2014 and can be commonly found on Android smartphones today. This replaced the micro-USB port that came standard on older Android phones and most chargeable devices.
USB 3.0 is not a physical standard, unlike the USB-C; it is a speed standard that depends on the device’s circuitry instead of the type of port. You can find devices with different ports rated USB 3.0, including USB-C ports.
Reasons You Need a Docking Station
Now that you have essential information about a docking station, its time to talk about why you need to buy one. If you are still contemplating between a docking station and a hub or whether to purchase anything altogether, here are a few reasons why you might need it:
You Don’t Have Enough Ports on Your Laptop
Laptops are portable devices, and for portability, they have to compromise on many aspects. One of them is the availability of extra ports. This includes all kinds of ports, from USB ports to HDMI. Most newer laptops have given up on the traditional VGA and LAN ports to reduce the form factor of the device, and some newer laptops are trading in the USB-A port for the USB-C port.
While these changes improve the laptops in general, they reduce the number of devices that are compatible with your computer. You often have to get a more expensive device because it is compatible. A docking station gives you all kinds of extra ports, so you do not have to worry about device compatibility.
You Need More Devices
While this reason is similar to the previous one, it is essential too. Laptops do not respond well to rough use, so having external keyboards and mice is always a good idea. Also, the built-in touchpad does not offer the accuracy most graphic designers, gamers, and engineers need for their work. Given the lack of ports, connecting all the devices you need can be tough.
Also, even if you manage to plug them in, there will likely be a lot of clutter on your desk. A cluttered desk can reduce productivity and cause inconvenience too. If you have a bunch of cables plugged into your laptop, they will burden the battery excessively, and they can be a chore to connect and disconnect each time you come to your work desk.
You Can Turn Your Laptop into a Desktop
Have you ever thought to yourself, why do gamers, architects, and game developers prefer desktop PCs? The answer is quite simple when you think about it. Desktops offer many advantages over a laptop, from more ports to a bigger screen. Using a laptop for power-hungry tasks can be very inefficient, and a laptop’s hardware is very uncomfortable for tasks like blog writing, animations, graphics, and 3d modeling.
Most people choose a desktop because of the large display alone! With a docking station, you can forget all the drawbacks of a portable form factor. As soon as you dock your laptop, it is as good as a desktop PC. But when you remove it from the dock, you can enjoy the machine’s portability and take it anywhere you want.
Top 3 Docking Station
- Laptop docking Station Dual Monitor 9 in 1 (B0B1PT5FVM)
The Baseus 9 in 1 docking station is one of your best options in aftermarket docking stations. While the name already suggests nine different ports, the salient features of the station are the ability to connect two displays and an HDMI output of 4k at 120Hz. The USB to ethernet adapter can handle a stable connection of 1000Mbps. The best thing about this accessory is that it charges your laptop as it is plugged in.
- Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station (B00ECDM78E)
Plugable made their laptop docking station with the sole aim of boosting compatibility. While most docks come with either a USB-A or C connector, the Plugable universal docking station comes with a 2-in-1 USB-A and USB-C connector, so you know it will support your machine. The docking station features two HDMI ports at 60Hz, 2 USB 3.0 ports, 4 USB 2.0 ports, an ethernet port, and two audio ports. On top of this, it comes with a warranty of two years.
- Hiearcool USB C Hub, USB-C Laptop Docking Station 11 in 1 (B07QNRM45T)
The Hiearcool USB-C docking station is one of the few in the market that support triple displays. It has two HDMI ports capable of 4k video output and a VGA port with 1080p resolution. This powerful docking station comes in a lightweight and sleek silhouette, making it a seamless addition to your workspace. The station comes with 11 additional ports for your laptop and can provide up to 100W of charging power.
Docking stations seem to be the solution to several problems that laptop users may face. One benefit that most people overlook is that docking stations provide additional USB ports that do not drain your laptop’s battery. You can use these ports to charge any battery-powered device you may have on you, like your phone, smartwatch, and more!
These can be game changers for many people with high-end specs, but the lack of hardware necessitates getting a desktop. This device virtually eliminates any need for another computer at your home, and you can have all your essential files and data in one place. Docking stations can come in very handy in office spaces, as each laptop connected to a dock can be part of the office LAN. This can allow more effective communication and file-sharing even if the internet is down. Docking stations are a low-budget solution that adds a ton of versatility to your computer.