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.
What Features to Compare
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.