Laptop Docking Stations
One unfortunate side effect of the eternal quest for portability is that many laptops tend to cut corners on features like ports and keyboard size. Laptop docking stations turn even the most portable notebook into a proper desktop substitute in a matter of moments. They make a great way to get the most out of your computer without compromising portability.Features to Look For
One of the key advantages of laptop docks is that they make the transition from mobile to fixed computing that much easier. Rather than connecting and disconnecting all your peripherals each time you move your computer, a laptop dock lets you do it all with one peripheral. You can connect extra monitors, more storage, and even an ergonomic keyboard in a matter of moments. Many even charge your laptop.Dedicated Docking Stations
The advantage of dedicated branded docking stations is that manufacturers design them to work with your existing machine. Most feature a special high bandwidth connector, so you can keep your existing ports free if you need them. These docks offer the best performance and also provide mains power so you can run your laptop at full speed. The catch is that most manufacturers dont offer docks for every laptop they make.Universal Docking Stations
Universal docking stations became more popular once USB-3 gave standard connectors enough bandwidth to run multiple peripherals over a single connection. The move to USB-C will only increase their flexibility. The big advantage of universal stations is that you dont need to get a new one when you get a new computer; the disadvantage is that you normally need to plug into the mains separately.Picking Docking Stations
Its easy picking the right dock when there are Dell laptop docking stations, or HP laptop docking stations made for your particular notebook, but not so easy when you need a universal one. The most important consideration is port selection, the second is ease of installation. Some just work, where others require software. Additionally, dont get caught with these excellent peripherals without access to consistent power. Consider also purchasing a laptop power adapter and charger keep everything powered on.