Things I Wished Someone Had Shared Before I Got a Docking Station

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Since getting a docking station over a year ago, I’ve found that it has provided many conveniences for me. In this article, I will share about what a docking station is used for as well as other common questions one may have about docking stations.

Usually used with a laptop, a docking station is used to increase the type and number of ports that can be used with a laptop. If the right docking station is purchased, a docking station can also be used to charge a laptop in addition to the increase in ports that it provides.

I will next get more specific with the types and number of ports you can expect with a docking station. I will also share more about other common questions you may have – such as what gets plugged into a docking station.

What a docking station can provide you with

Depending on the type of docking station you choose to get, you could get usb 3.0 ports which in my case, my laptop didn’t have. You could also get usb-c ports if your laptop doesn’t have those.

Other ports which you can expect with a docking station include HDMI ports, speaker/microphone ports and power.

Before paying for your docking station, you will want to ensure that you do a detailed look through of what you will be getting, particularly in these areas:

  1. Whether the docking station supports laptop charging and whether the wattage is enough for your particular make of laptop.
  2. The types (usb 3.0, usb-c) and number of ports (1,2, or 3) that comes with the docking station.
  3. Whether you require any external software installed on your laptop in order to use the docking station.

It is worth mentioning that although you get an additional number of ports, I don’t recommend using them as charging points for your mobile devices – at least for my docking station, I’ve found that these ports do not provide enough power to charge up my devices.

Docking stations and dual monitors

For some, you may have the question regarding whether you must have a docking station to have dual monitors.

There is no need to have a docking station in order to have dual monitors.

In order for you to have dual monitors, what is essential is a compatible cable that can be used to connect between your laptop and screen.

For the longest time, I had been using a simple HDMI to USB C cable before I finally saved enough to get myself a docking station for added convenience.

For most screens, they typically connect to a HDMI/VGA output. Depending on your laptop, its output may vary from USB 3.0 to USB C to the lightning cable – if your screen connects to a HDMI output and your laptop connects to a USB C cable, then you may want to get a HDMI to USB C cable.

If cost is your concern when getting a dual monitor, then getting the appropriate cable to connect between your laptop and monitor will be the most cost effective way to go about linking your laptop and monitor.

What a docking station gets connected to

Over the time where I had my docking station, I had connected it to a variety of devices.

A docking station can be used to connect to things such as power source, speakers, microphones, chargers, external monitors, USB drives, portable hard drives.

Although it is possible for docking stations to be connected to everything that I just mentioned, not all docking stations are created equal.

You will have to take a close look at the specifications of the docking station to ensure that it fits what you require – some docking stations doesn’t allow for you to charge your laptop.

Others will give you more USB 3.0 ports but not more USB C ports.

The important thing here is to consider what you need out of your docking station and then to look for one in the market that will allow you to connect to what you require.

Here is one docking stations you could consider.

This is the brand of docking station that I use – the one that I use works perfectly fine and is cheaper than other docking stations in the market. If given a chance to choose again, this will be my choice docking station.

This docking station has 65W of charge capacity, 2 HDMI docks, 2 USB-C docks and 4 USB 3.0 docks.

Docking stations and charging

Having worked with multiple docking stations, in this part of the article, I will share more on whether a docking station requires power and whether it needs to be charged.

Generally, all docking stations does not need to be charged but requires a constant power source to function. Without a constant power source, a docking station cannot be used.

If getting an additional power source is an issue for you perhaps because of space constraints, then you may wish to consider getting a non-powered USB hub instead.

Here are some of the main differences I’ve observed between a docking station and a USB hub

Docking StationUSB Hubs
Allows for more ports extensionsLess ports extension
More expensiveCheaper
Needs to be plugged into a main power supplyMost do not require to be plugged into a main power supply
Less portableUsually more portable

My docking station has a total of 2 HDMI ports, 6 USB 3.0 port, 1 microphone port and 1 headphone port. In contrast to my USB hub, it only has 3 USB 3.0 ports and 1 card adapter.

In terms of pricing, my docking station cost about $150 while my USB hub cost about $30.

As a docking station must be connected to a power source and is usually bigger than a USB hub, a docking station is usually not very portable as compared to a USB hub – see picture for comparison.

My docking station
Picture of a USB hub
My USB Hub

For more information about docking stations, you may want to check out my other article on figuring out if you need a docking station.

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