The Best Docking Stations for Windows Laptops in 2022
Heard of the spy who came in from the cold? Here's the laptop that came in from the road. Our guide to the top desktop docking solutions will keep you ultra-productive when you're in the office...wherever that is nowadays.
As we transition from the days of sheltering in place, computing on a laptop is taking on new norms and forms. Many professionals have moved from office desks to home offices and back again. Sometimes, work can get done on a coffee or kitchen table, but at other times, you need a proper desktop-style setup with multiple monitors, more USB ports, and maybe even an Ethernet jack for a more stable internet connection.
If you don't want to manage a pack of dongles and adapters for everything from external displays to USB hubs, a docking station is your best solution short of buying a whole separate desktop PC. Some laptop makers, such as Dell and Lenovo, offer up "official" branded docks for their fleets of computers. But you can also find a whole world of third-party docks with extra features, unique designs, and (sometimes) lower prices.
We'll be concentrating on those here. (If you have a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, see our rundown of the best MacBook docking stations.) Check out our full list of the top Windows docking platforms to find the accessory that's right for you. (For a higher-level overview of docking-station options, check out our guide to how to pick a laptop docking station.)
Accell Air USB-C Docking Station (K172B-010B)
How do you double your money? Fold it once and put it in your pocket. How do you quintuple a USB-C port? Connect the $159.99 Accell Air Docking Station, which gives you five USB 3.1 Type-A ports—two Gen 1 and three Gen 2—plus two HDMI 2.0 ports.
The latter support dual 4K monitors at 60Hz with a DSC 1.2-compatible Nvidia "Turing" RTX 20 or 30 series or AMD Radeon RX 5000 or 6000 series GPU. Without DSC 1.2, dual monitors are limited to one 1080p at 60Hz and one 4K at 30Hz. The 1.3-by-4.3-by-3.5-inch dock comes with a 3.3-foot USB Type-C cable and weighs half a pound. Accell backs it with a one-year warranty.
Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock
Windows 10 and 11 laptops with a Thunderbolt 4 port (look for the Intel Evo sticker) can triple that connector and add a bonus USB 3.1 Type-A port with Anker's PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock ($199.99). The upstream port that connects to your laptop provides 85 watts of power for fast charging, while each of the three downstream ports is capable of 40Gbps data transfer, copying a 20GB file in just over 10 seconds. The downstream ports also offer 15 watts to charge handheld devices.
The dock measures 0.9 by 4.9 by 2.8 inches and can drive two 4K monitors at 60Hz (or one 8K display at 30Hz). It doesn't work with Thunderbolt 3 systems or M1 MacBooks.
Dell Thunderbolt Dock WD22TB4
Dell's sleek WD22TB4 ($326.99) is a Thunderbolt 4 dock with a difference: a swappable module (containing two Thunderbolt 4 ports out of the box) that allows future changes as your IT department desires. The rear panel also contains two DisplayPort 1.4 ports, one HDMI 2.0 port, a USB-C multifunction DisplayPort, two USB-A 3.2 ports, and a gigabit Ethernet port as well as the power connector.
Up front, the 1.1-by-8.1-by-3.5-inch dock offers two USB 3.2 ports, one Type-C and one Type-A with PowerShare. It supports display resolutions up to 5,120 by 2,880 pixels at 60Hz and provides 180 watts of power delivery, recharging Dell laptops with ExpressCharge technology to 80% in one hour or 35% in 20 minutes.
Dockcase Smart Hub 7-in-1
If you'd like to make the most of a USB Type-C port, check out the Dockcase Smart Hub. This $99.99 gadget turns one USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 or higher port into three 5Gbps USB-A 3.0 ports, one USB-C charging port, an HDMI 2.0 port that can drive a 4K monitor at 60Hz, and SD and microSD card slots that can work simultaneously. It also sports a 1.3-inch color LCD that can be rotated 90 degrees and shows port status, device types, and real-time chip temperature.
Made of zinc alloy and tempered glass, the Dockcase is also available in a $20 cheaper integrated version whose 100-watt USB-C cable is not detachable for use with AC adapters.
IOGear Dock Pro 100 USB-C 4K Ultra-Slim Station
Combining a slew of ports with up to 85 watts of Power Delivery 3.0 pass-through, the IOGear Dock Pro 100 USB-C 4K Ultra-Slim Station ($139.95) offers three USB 3.0 Type-A ports and three video outputs—DisplayPort and HDMI (both limited to 30Hz for 4K) plus 1080p VGA. You also get a gigabit Ethernet port, SD and microSD memory card slots, and a USB-C pass-through.
The Dock Pro 100's name comes from its 100 watts of power pass-through, but the dock itself draws 15 watts, leaving 85 watts for your laptop. The docking station measures 0.5 by 11 by 2.9 inches and weighs 0.65 pound.
J5Create M.2 NVMe USB-C Gen 2 Docking Station
Its 10Gbps USB-C interface isn't as fast as a laptop's internal PCI Express connection, but J5Create's model JCD552 M.2 NVMe USB-C Gen 2 Docking Station ($149.99) is a unique way to expand your notebook's storage: The 1-by-12.5-by-3.1-inch gray and black aluminum dock has a compartment for an NVMe or SATA M.2 solid-state drive (up to size 2280; not included). It connects to your laptop using two USB-C cables and offers 100 watts of Power Delivery pass-through.
The docking station has 4K DisplayPort and HDMI video outputs, a gigabit Ethernet port, SD and microSD card slots, and three USB Type-A ports (one 5Gbps and two 10Gbps) in addition to the M.2 SSD slot. A security cable lock slot keeps it from walking away from your desk.
Kensington SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Hybrid Nano Dock
Kensington has stepped into the modern age with a compact Thunderbolt 3 dock in the form of the SD2500T Thunderbolt 3 Dual 4K Hybrid Nano Dock ($199.99).
This dock supports MacBooks and Windows laptops and provides you with one USB-C port, two DisplayPorts, three USB 3.2 Type-A ports, a gigabit Ethernet jack, a 3.5mm audio jack, an SD card reader, and even a microSD card reader. The included power adapter supports 60-watt power delivery.
Lenovo ThinkPad Universal USB-C Dock
Lenovo's one-cable docking station ($227.99) turns one USB-C port into, well, one USB-C port...plus three USB 3.1 Type-A ports, one USB 2.0 port, an audio jack, a gigabit Ethernet port, two DisplayPorts, and an HDMI port permitting three 4K monitors (two at 60Hz and one at 30Hz).
The ThinkPad dock delivers 65 watts of power delivery with its standard 90-watt AC adapter (and can deliver 100 watts with an optional 135-watt slim-tip adapter). It measures 1.2 by 6.7 by 3.1 inches.
Monoprice 7-in-1 USB-C Multiport 4K HDMI Adapter
Laptops with USB-C ports compatible with the DisplayPort 1.4 Alt Mode can add a bonanza of connectivity for only $39.99 with the Monoprice 7-in-1 USB-C Multiport 4K HDMI Adapter. This pocket-size (0.6 by 5.4 by 1.3 inches) peripheral provides an HDMI video output supporting resolutions up to 4K at 60Hz (30Hz with DisplayPort 1.2); one USB-C and two USB-A ports with data transfer rates up to 5Gbps; another USB-A port with 7.5-watt charging power; SD and microSD card slots; and a gigabit Ethernet port.
The Monoprice 7-in-1 offers up to 100 watts of USB-C Power Delivery pass-through and works with Thunderbolt 3 as well as USB-C ports; the two flash card slots can be used simultaneously. Its attached USB-C cable is 6.7 inches long.
Plugable USB-C Quad HDMI Docking Station
If you're only connecting your laptop to one or two monitors, the Plugable USB-C Quad HDMI Docking Station ($299) will be wasted on you. As its name implies, this miniature tower has no fewer than four HDMI ports, using DisplayLink technology to show a crisp picture on displays one and two and DisplayPort Alt Mode Multi-Stream Transport to drive screens three and four, all with resolutions up to 1,920 by 1,080 pixels at 60Hz. The HDMI quartet is joined at the device's rear by four 5Gbps USB 3.0 ports, a gigabit Ethernet port, and the USB-C 3.2 connection to your PC with 96-watt charging.
Up front, the Plugable offers audio-in and audio-out jacks and an SD card reader, as well as a 5Gbps USB-C port with 20-watt charging for phones or other handheld devices.
Satechi Thunderbolt 4 Dock
Your Windows laptop (or MacBook) with a Thunderbolt 4 port will be better connected with Satechi's $299.99 Thunderbolt 4 Dock. This 1.2-by-7.7-by-3.1-inch desk accessory provides three 40Gbps Thunderbolt 4 ports with 15-watt charging—its host cable delivers 96 watts of charging to your notebook—along with three 10Gbps USB 3.2 Type-A ports.
The Satechi dock also features a gigabit Ethernet port, an SD card reader, and a legacy USB 2.0 port as well as a 3.5mm audio jack. It weighs just under a pound and supports dual 4K monitors with a refresh rate of 60Hz.
StarTech.com Triple Monitor USB 3.0 Docking Station
The StarTech.com Triple Monitor USB 3.0 Docking Station (model USB3DOCKH2DP) is a robust USB 3.0 docking solution for older laptops that don't have Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C ports. This $291.99 gadget gives you one HDMI port and two DisplayPorts for connecting up to three monitors to your notebook.
The device supports up to 4K resolution (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) on one display and up to 2,048 by 1,152 pixels on the other two monitors. The pass-through hub built into the docking station gives you five USB 3.0 Type-A ports, as well as a gigabit Ethernet port, a headset jack, and separate 3.5mm audio and mic jacks.
Although this docking station is relatively compact (1.3 by 10.6 by 3.2 inches), it also features a cable lock slot if you're worried about physical security in your home or office.
VisionTek VT7100 Triple Display 4K Docking Station with 100W Power Delivery
VisionTek's dock does so much that we assumed it was a Thunderbolt 4 device, but no, it plugs into a USB-C port (delivering 100 watts of power to charge your laptop). It drives up to three monitors via one DisplayPort, one HDMI (DisplayLink) port, and one HDMI (DisplayPort Alt Mode) port; the first two support 4K resolution at 60Hz and the third at 30Hz.
The $369 device also provides four 5Gbps USB 3.1 Type-A ports, a front USB-C 3.1 port, an audio jack, a gigabit Ethernet jack, and a USB 2.0 quick-charge port. The silver aluminum docking station stands 8.7 inches high and has a footprint of 6.3 by 3.7 inches.
Wavlink USB-C Dual 4K Docking Station
If one 4K monitor isn't enough to satisfy your desktop computing needs, the Wavlink UG69PD2 USB-C Dual 4K Docking Station ($269.99) could be the right fit for you. Besides supporting up to 5K resolution (5,120 by 2,880 pixels at 60Hz) on a single DisplayPort monitor, this dock supports two 4K (4,096 by 2,160 pixels at 60Hz) external displays using both HDMI and DisplayPort. It also delivers up to 60 watts of upstream charging (if your laptop supports USB-C host charging).
The Dual 4K Docking Station gives you two USB-C ports, four USB-A 3.0 ports, two HDMI ports, two DisplayPorts, gigabit Ethernet, and front-mounted 3.5mm jacks for audio output and microphone input.
Source:https://www.pcmag.com/picks/the-best-docking-stations-for-windows-laptops Date: 02.11.2022г.