In today’s article we’ll take a look at the docking station: Laptop and notebook owners mostly enjoy the mobility they offer. One disadvantage of owning a laptop is that it may not be able to hold multiple accessories at once.

A laptop docking station can alleviate this problem. You can connect multiple accessories to your docking station, which is connected to your laptop via a separate power cable.

So, what exactly is a docking station?

Docking station – advantages and possibilities for notebooks 1

A docking station turns your laptop into a desktop, with many additional connections.

A docking station is a basic station for a laptop which turns it into a full desktop system. Instead of connecting multiple devices to a laptop to make it capable for a desktop, the keyboard, mouse, monitor, and printer are permanently connected to the docking station. In order to change from portable to desktop mode, the laptop is plugged into the docking station via USB or a separate special plug. In addition, the docking station may have integrated peripherals such as an optical drive and speakers.

So, for whom is a docking station suitable?

For those who want to use their laptop computer both on the go and at home, it can be somewhat of a struggle to switch from one scenario to the other. Laptops were designed to be portable and used when you don’t have a desktop. However, if you only have a desktop, you cannot take your work with you for interacting easier with others.

Docking stations for laptops are meant to bridge the gap between portability and a fixed place to work and play. With a docking station, you get the best of both worlds: a system that allows your laptop to work for both purposes.

What kind of features does a docking station offer?

Deciding on a docking station depends on the type of computer you have, what you want to use it for and whether you want additional features.

The docking station itself is usually quite small and doesn’t take up much space, which can be very handy if you don’t have much space on your desk. Some of the most simple docking stations provide a power supply and ports for connecting to other devices.

More advanced docking stations can provide space for additional monitors, keyboards and computer speakers. They can also have additional USB-C ports to connect printers, add external hard drives as well as microphones and audio.

Why would you consider a docking station?

If you want some extra features not provided by a laptop, a docking station can save you a lot of trouble connecting and disconnecting your computer. They can be especially helpful if you use your computer for work and have to take it to the office every day.

Other than spending some minutes reconnecting your peripheral PC devices, you can simply place your laptop on the docking station and thereby feel like working on a desktop.

For those who actually use their laptop for work, a docking station can be helpful by creating the feeling of a desktop without having to pay extra money for a larger computer. When multiple devices are connected, a docking station reduces the number of cables needed and also keeps your desk tidy.

Which docking station is best for me?

Docking station – advantages and possibilities for notebooks 2

Each docking station has numerous options for connection. For modern docking stations, the laptop is connected via USB-C.

Choosing the proper docking station depends a lot on the brand and model of your laptop. If you have an HP laptop, you need to find an HP laptop docking station that is made specifically for your computer. Once you have done some research on what options are available for your model, you can make a choice based on the price, size and features it offers.

You should also consider what you will use your laptop for. If you need monitors for multitasking, make sure the docking station you are considering has room for more than one. The final decision will depend on the purpose you want your laptop to have when you do have it fixed.

Advantages of a docking station

Using multiple devices

If you need to connect your laptop to multiple devices such as printers, scanners or mice, the docking station will be much easier. Many laptops have two USB ports, which means they can only connect to two devices at a time. With the docking station, all you have to do is connect to your laptop. When you’re done, simply unplug the laptop from the docking station.

Portability between your home and the office

If you work from home and the office, a docking station can make the transition between the two easier. Set up a docking station in your office and connect it to the devices you normally use. When you arrive at work, simply plug your laptop into the docking station. This saves the need to plug in each device individually.

Computer games

If you play computer games, connect all your gaming accessories to the docking station. This saves you the effort of plugging and unplugging accessories every time you play. Instead, all you have to do is plug and unplug your laptop from the docking station.

Access to new devices

A docking station allows you to connect devices that you couldn’t use before. Devices such as flat screens and digital cameras are not always compatible with laptops. By connecting them to the docking station, you can benefit from the better view a larger monitor offers.

No need for a desktop

If you own a laptop and are thinking about buying a desktop to accommodate your devices, then using a docking station can eliminate this need. This can save you money. Some docking stations can be purchased for under 100 euros, which is far less than the cost of a typical desktop. If you already own a desktop, you can consider selling it or keeping it as a backup.

Connectivity and benefits for businesses

With the proper docking station, your employees can use their laptops to their full potential.

Whether your business uses PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, or a combination of the three, the best docking stations utilise the power of high-bandwidth Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C ports to support everything from 4K monitors to USB power. Laptop docks also allow your employees to connect peripherals like USB mice and keyboards and ensure a more stable internet connection via Gigabit Ethernet.

Overall, a docking station can help boost your company’s productivity by giving users much more flexibility in workflows such as video editing and content creation.

How do you choose the appropriate docking station?

Docking Station

The docking station should be compatible with the laptop.

Do you want to connect a docking station to your laptop but don’t know which one fits your needs? Read here how to choose the best docking station for your intended use. It is important to determine what you want to use the docking station for. The choice also depends on whether you have a Windows laptop, a MacBook, or a Chromebook.

Docking stations look similar at first glance. However, docking stations differ in many ways. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. For which laptop do you need a docking station?
  2. What is the main connection you need?
  3. What do you want to use the docking station for?
  4. Do you have the necessary cables to connect everything?

For which laptop do you need a docking station?

Not every docking station works with every laptop model. This is related to the operating system of your laptop. Do you have a Windows laptop? Filter your search results for docks that are suitable for Windows. Are you using a MacBook? The same principle applies here. There are also docking stations that are suitable for multiple operating systems. This can be useful if you work with different kinds of laptops.

What is the main connection you need?

Which port on the laptop will you connect the dock to? The port on the dock should be the same as the port on your laptop.
Note: Do you want to use the USB-C port on your laptop to connect the dock? Check what type of USB-C port the laptop has. This affects whether you can connect an additional monitor or just a USB stick, for example.

What do you want to use the docking station for?

Docks have different functions. There are docking stations that support one additional monitor and there are docks that support two additional monitors. Also, some docks have a port that you can use to charge a laptop or phone. Therefore, with each product, you should check what the dock is suitable for and choose the dock that supports what you want to use it for.

Do you have the necessary cables to connect everything?

If you have the proper connections, you also need the proper cables. There is a plug in the proper cables which you can connect to the port. Therefore, for example, an HDMI connection requires an HDMI cable. The plug is called “male” and the port is called “female”. Also pay attention to the length of the cable and check if it is long enough to bridge the distance between the dock and your laptop.

The post "Docking station – advantages and possibilities for notebooks" written by:

Sophie Voigtländer

Expertin für Bürogestaltung und Ergonomie

Sophie joined deskonia at the beginning of 2021. Since then, she is mainly responsible for translating all kinds of texts into English.

She studied International Communication and Translation.

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