It can get really messy if you attach several peripherals with your laptop to make it a desktop. Well, it has been observed that productivity increases by working on a desktop. Now there are two options for you, you can purchase a desktop for home use, or you can convert your laptop to a desktop- obviously without the mess. Yes, you read that right, without any wire mess. The device used for this purpose is called the Universal docking station and in this article we’ve listed the top 3 best universal docking station for laptops.
You just have to fix the laptop in the docking station, and here you go- your desktop setup is ready. It makes the work a lot easier, for example, you have to go to some other place the next day. All you have to do it to unplug the laptop from the dock station, and you are good to go- isn’t that super easy?
By creating one link to the laptop docking station, your laptop is hooked up to each of the peripheral items. The hassle-free detaching and attaching thus makes it simple to hold the laptop computer of yours to work each day from home. Therefore, a docking station for a laptop makes the shift from one plot to extra handy for a portable laptop computer.
Do you have many peripherals for your computer? Do you want to connect several screens to be more efficient in your work or perhaps in your games? So you necessarily need a universal docking station, which will offer you many connection possibilities.
The price of this kind of station is generally quite high, but it is a purchase that you never regret. Indeed, such a tool allows us to save time and have a much more efficient workstation.
A Laptop Docking Station: Why use it?
A laptop is made to be mobile, and a docking station always stays in place. What is the use of the latter? First of all, it will give you the possibility of connecting more peripherals than your computer allows. Thus, you will sacrifice a single port on your computer to connect to the station, and the latter will take you between 6 and 10 ports to connect different devices. Only one cable will be connected to your PC or Mac.
When you go out, you only take your computer. You use its keyboard, and you don’t have a mouse. However, at home, you use a mouse and maybe even another keyboard, as well as more substantial screens. With a docking station, you no longer waste a minute making all the connections, a single cable, and all your usual accessories are connected to the PC.
A docking station will also enable you to work with several screens at the same time. The display of your laptop is not huge, and you will have access to two additional displays. This is ideal when you have to work on several pages at the same time, and use different software. We preserve a lot of time, and we are much more efficient.
When you search for the best universal docking station for laptops, you came across several dock stations, and you can get confused. Don’t worry, that is why we are here for you. Here is the list of best universal docking stations that you can purchase in 2020.
1. Kensington SD4600P – USB-C Docking Station with Power Delivery Charging
Whether you are a gamer or a business person, you always need more connections, especially for a laptop. A computer dock can quickly be handy.
The Kensington SD4600P is rather interesting, whether by its manufacturing quality, its use, and the possibilities it offers. How does it work? Is it reliable and practical? I give you my impressions.
It’s my favorite! This docking station for PC and Mac offers a USB-C connection, which allows with a single cable to connect to the computer all the peripherals, and in addition to recharging it. We will thus be able to connect two additional screens with a 4K video signal and connect a total of up to 8 devices.
- USB-C connectivity (2 ports)
- PC recharge
- Video signal transmission up to 4K
- Gigabit Ethernet port
- HDMI port
- 3 USB 3.1 ports
- Thunderbolt 3 compatible
Manufacturing Quality & Design
The housing for such things is of a severe plan. It is quite flat and therefore will not take up too much space on a desk. A plate sold separately can allow us to fix it on the back of a screen to make it almost invisible.
The plastics used are of excellent quality; the assembly and finishes are up to what you would expect for a product of this price. The design is elegant, and this Kensington SD4600P docking station makes a slight wave at the front, which gives it a rather sexy look.
Ergonomics, Connectivity & Compatibility
We appreciate first of all to find at the front USB 3.1 port to charge a tablet or a smartphone, a port to connect the headphones and also a port to connect a microphone. It is not always useful, but some users will appreciate it. If you’re looking for an additional USB port on the front, then the Kensington USB 3.0 might be of interest to you.
In terms of connectivity, this station stands out with its two USB-C ports. With just one cable, you can connect your computer to all peripherals, stream 4K videos, or even charge your PC. It is necessarily convenient, and there is, therefore, only one cable to plug in when you get home.
Then there are two additional USB 3.1 ports, as on the Belkin Thunderbolt station, for example, to connect a keyboard and a mouse. A Gigabit Ethernet port will allow you to obtain a stable wired connection when wifi is lacking or is not efficient enough. Finally, there is a Display port and an HDMI port, which will allow us to connect two screens at the same time.
On the compatibility side, it should be noted that this station works with Windows 8 and 10 operating systems, as well as Mac OS X 10.10 or higher and Chrome OS. However, for Mac and Chrome OS, you can only connect one screen.
Use & Reliability
The installation is done very quickly. It’s Plug and Play, and there is basically no additional driver to download. Depending on your PC, there may be an update to be made on the manufacturer’s site, but it only takes a few seconds.
So I connected the maximum number of peripherals to see the reliability of this docking station, and I did not encounter any problems. So I was able to connect two screens, a 4K and a Full HD. There was no failure at this level.
My wireless mouse plug, a digital camera, and my smartphone on the front were all detected, and I didn’t notice any bugs. The data transfer from mobile devices to the PC is smooth; everything works fine. I tested the headphones and the microphone, and the first use was not great. There was a crackling noise, which finally disappeared after I disconnected and reconnected the PC. I don’t know where it came from, but it didn’t happen again.
It’s still very nice to be able to connect everything using the single USB-C cable and always to be able to recharge the computer with this single cable. Be careful, though, and you will have to make a few choices. If you renew your PC with this cable, but you also want to connect a DD docking station to our universal station, then that may be too much. At home, it works with an HDD dock that consumes little, but everything stops if I add a smartphone to the USB port on the front.
I only have good things to say about this Laptop docking station. USB-C makes the difference and allows us to have only one cable to connect to our laptop to take advantage of all the peripherals connected to the station.
Being able to connect two additional screens in addition to that of your PC (only on Windows) can be very useful for professionals, but also for gamers who will have a larger area to produce or organize.
Everything works fine, even if you have to minimize the devices that use power. The manufacturing quality seems very serious, and we can, therefore, expect a very long service life for this Kensington SD4600P station. So indeed, it is a little expensive, but it is really the price of quality.
2. Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Dock Station for Laptop – Express HD Dock with 1-Meter Thunderbolt Data Transfer Cable
Here, it is already the manufacturing quality that immediately seduces us. The case is almost entirely in brushed aluminum, and all the connection ports are robust and well assembled; in short, it’s severe. The station is quite compact, it does not take up too much space on a desk, but it will, however, allow you to connect up to 8 devices.
Thunderbolt 2 connectivity ensures data transmission speed four times faster than a simple USB 3.0 port. We will be able to connect two additional screens with 4K quality. No bug, everything works perfectly with this station, and the use is enjoyable. All you need is a computer with a Thunderbolt port. All new-generation Macs have one, and most newer PCs do too.
You no longer know where to connect the various peripherals that you relate to your computer, you are forced to unplug one to join another, so you necessarily need a universal docking station, to gain connection possibilities additional.
The Belkin Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD Docking Station may be of interest to you. It will allow you to connect up to 8 devices to your computer, and the Thunderbolt 2 connection will save you time in data transfer. Is it reliable and efficient? I tell you everything you need to know!
If you own a laptop with a Thunderbolt port, then this station will most certainly make you happy. Reliable, efficient, and simple to use, it allows you to connect several screens, as well as many peripherals. A beautiful docking station, well designed, as we like.
- 2 Thunderbolt 2 ports
- HDMI port
- Ethernet connectivity
- 3 USB 3.0 ports
- 4K resolution support
- Mac and PC compatible
- File transfer up to 20 Gbps
Manufacturing Quality & Design
The quality of manufacture of this Belkin docking station is somewhat surprising. The body is made of brushed aluminum, quite flat, and somewhat compact. It immediately sends back a feeling of solidity, and if the electronic part is as robust as the outside, then one should keep this station for many years.
The design is quite basic, but rather elegant. The station cannot stand upright like a Kensington USB 3.0, and it, therefore, arises horizontally. The assembly is impeccable, all the connectors seem very robust, and the finishes are up to the price, quite high, of this article.
Connection to the computer is via a 1-meter Thunderbolt cable, which is supplied. Your laptop must, therefore, be equipped with this type of connection before the docking station can connect. The power supply is quite large, but once plugged in it touches, so it’s no big deal.
Ergonomics, Connectivity & Compatibility
We start at the front of the station, and it’s pretty basic since there is only one USB port and a port for connecting headphones. There is no port for connecting a microphone or a second USB connectivity like on the Kensington USB 3.0.
As always at the back of the case is the rest of the connections. There are, therefore, two additional USB 3.0 ports. They will be particularly useful for connecting a keyboard and a mouse, or why not an external hard drive. Then there is an HDMI port for connecting a screen, an Ethernet port for a reliable wired connection, and finally an audio input port for connecting a microphone.
What makes the strength of this docking station, however, are its two Thunderbolt 2 ports. One will allow connection to the computer, and the other will be able to be used in particular to connect a second monitor. If you have many Thunderbolt devices, then you can use a daisy chain to connect up to four.
Use & Reliability
To install the docking station, it’s straightforward. You just need a computer, PC or Mac, which has a Thunderbolt port. We plug it in and voila. It’s Plug and Play, so there is no driver download to do, your peripherals should be recognized as if you were going directly through the computer.
As with games for babies, I like to plug the holes … So I took pleasure in connecting all the peripherals that I could at this station. Thunderbolt 2 connectivity is a real pleasure. It is four times faster than a USB 3.0 port, and therefore data is transferred without unnecessarily wasting time. On Amazon, you will also find the same station, but with Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, it costs more, but it also allows you to charge your computer, which Thunderbolt 2 cannot do.
I connected one of my screens to HDMI, and a friend brought me his LG Thunderbolt so that I could test the dual connection. It works perfectly, even if it happened that one or the other of the two screens are not always recognized. You just have to disconnect and reconnect, and the image appears. Unfortunately, this is quite common in most stations of this type.
For the rest, everything works perfectly. I did not note any bug or specific incidents with the USB 3.0 ports, nor with the audio ports. It is, therefore, a station which seems to be reliable, and which for all of my material worked perfectly.
If you have a PC or more certainly a Mac with a Thunderbolt port, then this docking station should do you a lot of services. Thanks to it, you will be able to benefit from two additional screens, with maximum quality in 4K. There is not a considerable USB 3.0 port, but this is it’s only flaw.
The data transfer is high-speed, and all the connectors work without the slightest problem. The manufacturing quality is really excellent, with a beautiful brushed aluminum, class, and resistance.
So yes, the price is probably a bit high, but it is quality material that will allow you to have a workstation (or game) much more transparent and efficient. If this docking station interests you, then there is no reason to hesitate, it does the job entirely!
3. Kensington USB 3.0 Docking Station – Dual Display Docking Station
Less expensive and less sophisticated than the two models above, this docking station is nonetheless exciting. We will sacrifice a USB port on our computer, and we will gain 6 USB 3.0 ports, an Ethernet connection, an HDMI and a DVI port. An adapter is also provided to transform the DVI port into an additional HDMI.
In this way, we will be able to connect two more screens, with Full HD quality, and in all, it is not less than ten devices that can be connected to the computer through a single USB port. The quality of manufacture is excellent, and it is a small tower which thus takes to the horizontal and which will, therefore, take up little space on a desk. It is a great product, which does not have new generation connections, but which has many other qualities
The more computer equipment we have, the more links we need to connect everything. This is where a universal PC docking station becomes essential. It will allow you to connect everything to your computer with a single cable and will offer more possibilities of connection.
The Kensington USB 3.0 cradle is designed to easily connect screens while offering a broad set of additional USB ports. How does it work? Is it practical to use, reliable, and efficient? Here is my opinion!
Sold at an excellent price, this station allows us to connect several screens at the same time and to gain many USB ports. We will thus be able to combine lots of peripherals, which will only be related to our computer by a single cable. All connections are reliable, it’s simple to use, so it’s a right docking station.
- DVI port + VGA and HDMI adapter
- HDMI port
- Ethernet connectivity
- 6 USB 3.0 ports
Manufacturing Quality & Design
It is, in my opinion, a beautiful docking station. It stands upright, which is quite practical in most configurations. So it takes up little space on a desk, and that’s a perfect thing. The streamlined design is a bit like sailing a boat. I like it.
The design is severe, the plastics are of good quality, and the assembly, as well as the finishes, are really impeccable. This is what we are entitled to expect for a product of this price, and we are therefore not disappointed with the quality of manufacture.
The cable to connect the docking station to the PC is provided, and there is also the AC adapter. Rarer, there are two sockets, one for Europe and the other for the US, but also an adapter to transform the DVI port into an HDMI port. It’s always welcome, and it offers more connectivity possibilities.
Ergonomics, Connectivity & Compatibility
Directly, we notice that there are two USB 3.0 ports on the front. The competition often offers only one when you can have several devices to charge at home. Still, on the front, there is a port for headphones and a port for a microphone. Again, the receiver is not always present at the front of the competition, and some users will necessarily find it practical.
At the back, we find all the rest of the connectors. There is no USB-C port like on the Kensington SD4600P, and we will, therefore, not be able to use our station to charge the laptop. There are, however, four more USB 3.0 ports, and we will be able to connect many peripherals, such as a keyboard, a mouse, the plug of a wireless headset, or a camera.
There is no Thunderbolt port like the Belkin Thunderbolt docking station. On the other hand, an HDMI port and a DVI port (transformable HDMI with the adapter), will give us the possibility of connecting two additional screens in addition to that of the laptop. We also note that an extension box can be added, and the station can then support up to 6 monitors in HD resolution (2018 x 1152).
Finally, an Ethernet port gives us the possibility to connect by wire to the internet to avoid the probable failures of wifi, which would not be efficient. Regarding compatibility, this docking station works with all Windows operating systems from XP. We will also be able to connect a computer running Mac OS 10.6 and higher.
Use & Reliability
The installation is completed in a few seconds. The station works in Plug and Play, and therefore it is enough to plug it into the mains and connect it to our computer for it to work.
As usual, I plugged in as many devices as possible to ensure the reliability of this station. So I connected a screen in HDMI and another in DVI. It works very well, even if twice in a little less than a week I had to disconnect and reconnect the screen in DVI for it to be detected. Nothing too serious, but it is never pleasant.
All USB 3.0 ports respond correctly. I connected at the same time a mouse, a keyboard, a digital camera, and a station to read an additional internal hard drive, as well as two smartphones at the front. All the devices worked perfectly and were all detected without any problems on my computer.
The reliability of this universal docking station, therefore, seems entirely satisfactory to me. Apart from the problem of the second screen, which is not always detected, there were no false notes during my various tests.
Difficult to find faults with this docking station, which combines relatively simple connectivity, without Thunderbolt or USB-C, but which does the job it promises perfectly. With a single USB port on our computer, we gain 6 USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port, a DVI port, and wired internet connectivity. It’s pretty good, especially since reliability is there.
You can connect two more screens thanks to the station, which is always a plus when you are a professional, and you need to open many pages and software at the same time.
For the price, this Kensington USB 3.0 is a perfect docking station that should meet the needs and expectations of many users. It is simple to use, rather practical with its two USB ports on the front and its vertical format, and the manufacturing quality is top. In short, you can go for it, and you will not be disappointed with your purchase.
How to choose your Computer Docking Station?
● Choose according to your computer
Obviously, all docking stations are not compatible with all computers, that would be too simple. We will, therefore, have to look among the references that offer a suitable connection.
The most central stations, which will generally be able to connect to most PCs, are those that offer a USB 3.0 connection. It’s the simplest, and it’s a connector found on most laptops.
Other stations, more efficient, offer Thunderbolt connections (1, 2 or 3), and still others USB-C connections (which will become the norm in the years to come). Thunderbolt 1 and 2 connectors provide faster data transfer than USB 3.0. Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C are even faster, and they also allow you to charge the computer directly.
For the last two cases, a single cable is therefore used to connect many peripherals, while serving as a power supply. It is the best, but it is also the most expensive.
● Choose according to your needs
You will obviously choose your docking station concerning the peripherals which you use or which you wish to obtain. Some will settle for many additional USB ports, while others will need to connect multiple HDMI displays.
Generally, all stations will allow you to add one more screen to your system, and very often, you can even connect a second one. An Ethernet port is also present for a faster and more efficient wired connection than wifi.
Depending on your needs, you can find stations to which it is possible to make different audio connections, both in and out. You will also need to check the power capacity, to see if you can both charge a computer and smartphone while operating the station and an external hard drive. Some users necessarily have higher energy needs than others.
Finally, you will also have the right to look into the design and ergonomics of the product. Some stations are installed vertically and horizontally. Depending on the area of your office, you may not have a choice. Some models can very well be fixed behind a screen, and then become almost invisible.
If at the start we sometimes say that this kind of station is not useful, we very quickly understand how much it is an essential tool for a professional. We will be able to organize our workspace much more efficiently, reduce the apparent cables, and above all, save time each time we remove our laptops or put it back in place. One cable to connect, and we work in the best conditions. So, these were the best universal docking stations for laptops. These top 3 laptop docking stations can fulfill your needs, as we have handpicked them after extensive research.
Please let us know in the comments about what type of features you like the most in the above three.
More Useful Reads:
Top 10 Best Laptop Cooler Pads for Gaming in 2020
Top 5 Best Gaming Laptops Under 900 in 2020
The top 9 Best Laptop Backpacks for College Students
Top 9 Best Gaming Laptop for College Students in 2020