PC, External Display Ports – Rolling Stone
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With the amount of tech accessories we use constantly increasing, and the built-in ports of laptops disappearing, docking stations are quickly becoming a must-have accessory. These are ideal for everyone, but especially those who are constantly on the move and require multiple devices for their daily work. Instead of relying on the limited ports of your PC, a docking station instantly provides multiple spots for things like USB, HDMI, and Ethernet, allowing you to connect your laptop to a variety of external devices. We’ve tried these out and put together a guide of what to check out when getting one for yourself.
Docking Station Buying Guide
From their compatibility to the included ports, here’s what to know about finding the best docking station for you.
Compatibility: The first and most important factor to consider is compatibility with your laptop. Make sure that the docking station you purchase is going to work with your laptop’s operating system and the type of ports it has. Newer docking stations often have a USB-C connection, while older laptops don’t, meaning you’d need to buy a converter dongle, so avoid that if possible.
Ports: Consider the number of ports you need and the type of devices you want to connect to your laptop. A docking station with multiple USB ports is a must, and you may also want to consider having an HDMI port for a large display, an Ethernet port for a wired network connection, and a headphone jack for audio. Plus it’s always good to leave a few spots open for what you might add in the future.
Display Resolution: If you plan on using a docking station to connect to an external display, take a look at the resolution capabilities. A docking station with a high display resolution will provide a clearer and more detailed image on your external monitor, and this one’s especially important for the gamers looking to create a multiple-monitor setup.
Size and Design: The size and design of a docking station are important factors to look at – both how it’s going to fit into your home, and especially if you plan on taking it with you on the go. A small and compact docking station is easy to carry and won’t take up too much space on your desk, but can limit the number of port options it provides. Also if you have a laptop that requires a lot of power to charge, you should consider a docking station that has power delivery. Power delivery provides more juice to your laptop in a shorter time, allowing it to fuel up faster.
Price: Docking stations are available at different price points, and the price you pay will depend on the features you need. But, overall, we highly suggest getting one. A docking station is quickly shifting from a bonus luxury to a must-have for everyone, and it’s clear to see why. These significantly improve your productivity, while keeping everything charged and readily accessible (and organized too).
What Are the Best Docking Stations?
After a round of testing, here are our picks for the best docking stations for a variety of desk setups.
1. Monoprice Thunderbolt Docking Station
Musicians have known Monoprice as the best-kept open secret for years, a company that builds quality gear for affordable prices. The company has moved more into the tech space in recent years, while still keeping up the reputation they’re known for, and the Thunderbolt 3 proves it. This is basically the Swiss Army Knife of docking stations. Two display ports ensures you’ll have plenty of screen real estate to work with, and it supports 4K resolution too. It also boasts USB ports, both type A and C, so you can plug in all your peripherals without having to constantly switch cables, and an Ethernet port so you can take advantage of a wired internet connection where available. Maybe the most important future-facing feature is its compatibility with non-Thunderbolt 3 devices. That means your older devices aren’t instantly obsolete, and you can use it with your older laptops as well as your new gear.
Buy Monoprice Thunderbolt Docking Station $127.99
2. Baseus 17-in-1 Docking Station
One of the standout features of this impressive docking station is the ability to connect up to three monitors, all in 4K resolution. This is a major upgrade for anyone who is used to working with just one screen, as it provides a much more expansive and immersive workspace. Setting up the monitors is easy as well, thanks to the multiple ports on the dock, which include HDMI, DisplayPort, and VGA. But along with the monitor ports, there’s a wide range of connectivity options here: six USB-A ports, a USB-C port, an Ethernet port, an SD card reader, and even a 3.5mm audio jack.
Buy Baseus 17-in-1 Docking Station $119.99
3. UtechSmart Docking Station
The Utechsmart has an impressive 19 ports, including four displays, and is probably more than you’re going to need – which is a good thing. You’ll also never have to fumble around with multiple adapters and cables again, thanks to its smart spacial design that still has enough distance between each port. The docking station’s high-speed data transfer rate (100W power delivery) and Gigabit Ethernet make it the perfect solution for power users who need to quickly transfer data and stream videos at blazing speeds, especially when deadlines are looming. Despite this unit having a seriously impressive amount of ports, it’s still small enough to comfortably fit on a desk or shelf.
Buy UtechSmart Docking Station $99.99
4. QGeeM Docking Station
The QGeeM Universal USB C Docking Station is a game-changer for anyone looking to streamline their tech (or gaming) setup. Despite its slim size, this has an impressive 16 ports, including HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and USB 3.0, so you’ll have all the connectivity options you need to get the job done. And with its powerful 100W charging capabilities, your devices will stay powered up and ready to go. Plus, its compact and lightweight design makes it easy to take with you on the go, whether to your workplace or across the country.
Buy QGeeM Docking Station $168.99