Best Laptop Docking Stations

Last update March 16, 2017
Laptop docking stations find more appreciation every day. They are able to turn your laptop or tablet into a full-capacity computer and expand the possibilities by connecting to many more devices, including several monitors at a time. We want to help you select the best laptop docking station. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2017
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Video Ports
USB Ports
Options
Scope of Supply
Supported OS
Other Ports
 
PROS
All the connectivity ports on this docking station for laptops are located at the back. Therefore, even if you plug in a lot of corded devices, your desk will still look organized and neat, and there will be plenty of space.
CONS
The USB cable is rather short. To connect a big laptop with ports closer to the front you may need to purchase a longer cord.
OUR VERDICT
Targus is a universal laptop docking station. Aside from its wonderfully wide connectivity options, it is also a truly general-purpose laptop docking station.
detailed parameters
Video Ports
1x HDMI 1x DVI
USB Ports
4x USB 2.0 (1x for charging devices) 2x USB 3.0
Options
Can charge all modern laptop models, has adapters inside (H, L, O, P, R, W, X9, Z). Image display to 2 monitors (DVI and HDMI) with a 2078x1152 resolution
Scope of Supply
USB 3.0 Cable, DVI to VGA Adapter, HDMI to DVI Adapter, Power Tips (9)
Supported OS
Windows, Mac OS X, Android
Other Ports
1x Speakers Port 1x Microphone Port 1x Ethernet 1x Lock Slot
PROS
The Dell docking station works perfectly well with any laptops from other brands. Displays the content in an Ultra HD resolution. You can connect three monitors besides the laptop screen, all in high quality.
CONS
This model of Dell docking station for notebook does not provide an option of charging a laptop.
OUR VERDICT
Perfect solution to display the image on several screens in the maximum possible digital quality. The best laptop docking station for designers, photographers, and overall for people working with media content.
detailed parameters
Video Ports
2x HDMI 1x Display port
USB Ports
2x USB 2.0 (1x for charging devices) 3x USB 3.0 (1x for charging devices)
Options
Is able to display image to 2xFull HD (1920x1080) and 1xUltra HD (4096x3112) screens
Scope of Supply
USB 3.0 Cable (2 ft), HDMI-DVI Adapter
Supported OS
Windows
Other Ports
1x Headphone Port 1x Audio Output 1x Ethernet
PROS
This docking station for laptops is easy to install and set, as well as to connect and to use. Also, it is worth noting the Tower form-factor, that allows placing the laptop docking station vertically in order to better organize your working place.
CONS
The front USB 3.0 ports might be tight. You may need to use some force to plug your devices in. But otherwise, they work okay.
OUR VERDICT
A universal notebook docking station for every user who prefers using Windows-based devices.
detailed parameters
Video Ports
1x HDMI 1x DVI
USB Ports
4x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0 (1x for charging devices)
Options
Displays image to several screens with an HDMI (2560x1140) or COMBO DVI+HDMI (1920x1200)
Scope of Supply
USB 3.0 Cable, DVI to VGA Adapter
Supported OS
Windows
Other Ports
1x Speakers Port 1x Microphone Port 1x Ethernet
PROS
The manufacturer's solutions will allow you to use this laptop docking station with tablets as well as with any other devices based on Windows and Mac OSs.
CONS
Although this laptop docking station is quite friendly to a lot of platforms, it does not work with devices based on the Windows RT operating system.
OUR VERDICT
With the Sabrent docking station for laptop, you will be able to conveniently place all your external devices and organize your workplace. Use it as a stand for your tablet or laptop.
detailed parameters
Video Ports
1x HDMI 1x DVI
USB Ports
4x USB 2.0 (2x for charging devices) 2x USB 3.0
Options
Displays image to two screens (1920x1080), has 2 modes (desktop mirroring/extending)
Scope of Supply
USB 3.0 Cable, DVI to VGA adapter
Supported OS
Windows, Mac OS X
Other Ports
1x Speakers Port 1x Microphone Port 1x Ethernet
PROS
Anker Dual laptop docking station has a design that allows you to set it onto the stand upright. This way, it takes less desk space.
CONS
You only need to install extra drivers for the full functioning of the laptop docking station with Mac OS.
OUR VERDICT
This is an extremely elegant-looking docking station for all laptops. Automatic bandwidth prioritization of connected devices provides for smooth, stable work, even when every port is full.
detailed parameters
Video Ports
1x HDMI 1x DVI
USB Ports
4x USB 2.0 2x USB 3.0 (1x for charging)
Options
Displays image to two screens, DVI and HDMI (2048x1152)
Scope of Supply
USB 3.0 Cable, Detachable Base Stand
Supported OS
Windows, Mac OS X
Other Ports
1x Speaker Port 1x Ethernet

What is a Laptop Docking Station

More and more people nowadays switch from the desktop computer to the laptops. A laptop is much more mobile, easy to carry and you will have no problem moving it from one place to another. And, the smaller your laptop is, the easier it is for you to go wherever you want with it. At the same time, it may pose some challenges to work with a very small laptop. The display, keyboard, and touchpad of these devices are smaller than those of the stationary PCs. It is not uncommon for users to connect external devices to a laptop, for example, a mouse, a keyboard, or a monitor, for easier usage. This way, the laptop only acts as a base system unit and does not differ all that much from a desktop computer in terms of convenience. But sometimes you may encounter a problem — the number of ports in your laptop may be not enough to connect one more necessary device. Or another one: when you plug your devices in and out very often, the port may start acting worse, and eventually break down. That's why the notebook docking stations were created. A docking station for a laptop will extend your laptop's performance capabilities, will make its usage as comfortable as it is with a PC, but will still preserve all the benefits of using a laptop.

If you only need to expand the USB connectivity options and do not see any necessity in purchasing such a multi-functional device, then you might find it interesting to read our USB hubs review.

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What To Look For

When you select a laptop notebook docking station, the first thing to think about is what devices you are going to connect to your laptop. Then, depending on your needs, look through available Ports on the laptop docking station. And we mean both the number of ports and their intended use. The ports may differ. There are ports for external storage devices, like USB 2.0 and USB 3.0, and ports for external data displaying devices (monitors and TV-sets): HDMI, VGA, DVI, Display Ports. Also, almost all modern notebook docking stations feature Ethernet ports to connect to the high-speed cable Internet. The laptop docking station may additionally feature an output for a microphone and speakers.

The second step you should take is to understand how you will connect the notebook docking station to your laptop. So, pay attention to the device's Connectivity. Some laptop docking stations can be connected via a USB port, and some require a special port. The laptop docking stations with a USB connectivity interface are suited for all users, no matter what kind of laptops they use — the docking station will connect just fine. And docking stations with a special port will work only with a few models produced by specific manufacturers. One more feature that might affect the connection between the notebook docking station and a laptop is the supported operating system. Note that not every docking station will work with a Linux OS or Windows RT.

At the end, we would like to recommend you to assess the Additional Features of your docking station for a laptop. Additionally to the main functionality (which is to widen the connectivity options), the docking station for laptops may have other features. For example, it may be the option of charging your laptop. Or an embedded card reader. USB ports can have the charging option even when the docking station is turned off. The list may go on.

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Review of Targus ACP71USZ SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station

Targus ACP71USZ SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station

Targus ACP71USZ SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station

Ports

This Targus ACP71USZ docking station for a laptop has two digital ports to connect monitors: a DVI port and an HDMI port. And next to them, you will find USB ports for connecting external devices: 2x USB 3.0 ports and 4x USB 2.0 ports. Apart from the above-mentioned ports, the Targus docking station for notebook also employs an Ethernet port, and thus, is able to connect to a high-speed cable Internet network.

Connectivity

When you think about supported operating systems, the universal notebook docking station by Targus is one of the best laptop docking stations offered on the market. It works perfectly fine with laptops based on the Windows OS, Mac OS, and also with Android devices of 5.0 and higher Android editions. It is the biggest choice in our review. And to connect this notebook docking station to a laptop, you will need a USB 3.0 Type B cable, which is delivered with the device.

Additional Features

A special feature of this docking station for a notebook is a possibility to charge any type of laptops through it. This is owing to the number of adapters the device has, and to the special charging port. Also, the manufacturer, Targus, created this laptop docking station in a highly convenient form-factor. You will be able to use it as a stand, placing it under your laptop. This way you will save the space on your desk and increase the comfort of using the laptop.


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Targus ACP71USZ SuperSpeed Dual Video Docking Station
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Review of Dell D3100 Triple Display UltraHD Universal Dock

Dell D3100 Triple Display UltraHD Universal Dock

Dell D3100 Triple Display UltraHD Universal Dock

Ports

There are two HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) and one Display Port in this Dell docking station. With the help of these ports, you will be able to transfer the image to three monitors besides the laptop screen, all in high quality. To use external devices, the manufacturer provided 3x USB 3.0 ports with the speed of up to 5GBit/s and 2x USB 2.0 ports with the speed of up to 480 MBit/s. And, of course, this laptop docking station features an Ethernet port for corded connection to the Internet. Additionally, there are a few ports to plug in your mic, acoustics, or speakers.

Connectivity

Same as many other notebook docking stations (and same as all docking stations in our review), this Dell docking station is connected to a laptop via the USB 3.0 port. It is oriented on the devices based on the Windows operating system. The devices include laptops as well as Ultrabooks. And if you want to connect a monitor that has no HDMI outputs, it is not a problem! In the box with this universal notebook docking station, you will find an HDMI to DVI adapter.

Additional Features

This Dell universal laptop docking station is able to display images and video on three different monitors simultaneously. And the main feature is that the video will be displayed in Ultra HD resolution (4096x3112) on one monitor and Full HD resolution (1920x1080) on two others. You will also be able to choose from displaying modes and set the displaying to either desktop extension mode or desktop mirroring mode.


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Dell D3100 Triple Display UltraHD Universal Dock
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Review of Plugable Technologies UD-3900 Universal Dock Station

Plugable Technologies UD-3900 Universal Dock Station

Plugable Technologies UD-3900 Universal Dock Station

Ports

The possibilities of image transfer this universal laptop docking station is able to provide include two digital ports, the HDMI port, and the DVI port. There are also six USB ports: 2x USB 3.0, and 4x USB 2.0 ports. If you want to connect your headphones and/or a headset, you will find two standard jack 3.5 ports here. And a high-speed Internet connection cord can be plugged into an Ethernet port.

Connectivity

This Plugable Technologies UD-3900 laptop docking station with USB works perfectly well with all latest Windows editions, with the only exception for Windows RT. Among the devices compatible with this notebook docking station you will find laptops, Ultrabooks, and tablets based on the Intel processors and Windows operating system. This docking station for laptops is connected via the USB cable that comes with the purchase.

Additional Features

If you plan to connect only one monitor (with HDMI port) to this laptop docking station for dual monitors, then the device will be able to display image in an HD resolution of 2560x1440 pixels. However, for the dual-monitor system (DVI + HDMI) it will be 1920x1080 pixels each (which is still an HD and a pretty good resolution). Also, at the front part of this notebook docking station from Plugable Technologies, you can find a special port for fast charging of your mobile devices.


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Plugable UD-3900 Dual Monitor Docking Station Review
Plugable Technologies UD-3900 Universal Dock Station
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Review of Sabrent DS-RICA Universal Docking Station with Stand

Sabrent DS-RICA Universal Docking Station with Stand

Sabrent DS-RICA Universal Docking Station with Stand

Ports

For image output, the Sabrent notebook docking station uses two digital video ports - the HDMI port and the DVI port. And for high-speed cable Internet connection, the manufacturer has provided a Gigabit Ethernet port. To connect external devices, for example, a mouse, a keyboard, printers, or external storage devices there are several USB ports of different standards: 2x USB 3.0 ports and 4x USB 4.0 ports. Additionally, you will also find ports to connect headphones (or an external acoustic system) and a microphone.

Connectivity

This Sabrent laptop notebook docking station is designed to work with Mac and Windows operating systems (except for Windows RT). It will connect perfectly well to either of your devices, be it a laptop, a tablet, or an Ultrabook. For connection with one of the mentioned devices, it uses a USB 3.0 Type B port and a cable. On purchasing this docking station, the cable comes included in the package so you needn't buy any.

Additional Features

The way the station charges other devices and its unique design are what makes it outstanding on our shortlist. Sabrent docking station has been designed in a way to accommodate a table or a mobile device inside a special slot, allowing you to use it as a gadget stand too. At the same time, two out of four USB ports are the 2.4A ports, capable of quickly charging external mobile devices. This docking station for laptop works in two modes: the screen mirroring and the screen extension.


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Sabrent DS-RICA Universal Docking Station with Stand
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Review of Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station

Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station

Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station

Ports

With this laptop docking station, you will be able to display the image on two external monitors with HDMI and DVI ports located at its back. The front panel features two high-speed USB 3.0 ports, one of which also provides the option for charging your devices. You can use ports to connect your mobile devices or external drives. Furthermore, the Anker Dual Display also has four USB 2.0 ports, also placed at the back. Those can be used to add a mouse, a keyboard, a printer, or any other devices you wish. Make your desk the most comfortable.

Connectivity

To connect Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station to your laptop, please use the USB 3.0 Type B port. The spatial cable comes with the purchase. This docking station for laptop easily works with laptops based on Windows OS starting from XP, which is pretty rare for docking stations now. Although you might need to download some drivers from the official site additionally. There is an option to connect this universal laptop docking station to a Mac-based laptop, but note that the DisplayLink driver does not work with this system, so the Ethernet, DVI, and HDMI ports will be of no use. But you will still have all the USB ports!

Additional Features

One of the special features of this laptop notebook docking station is its option to be set on a stand vertically. With this possibility, you will save some desk space if you wish to. The number of monitors you can connect simultaneously is two, which makes it three working monitors overall (with the one that is your laptop's). Internet surfing, working with documents, and gaming was never this simple.


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Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station
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