Which StarTech docking station is best?
While lightweight, compact laptop computers are great for jobs on the go or when you’re away from your office, there are plenty of times when the larger viewing real estate and connectivity of a traditional desktop computer are desired. Thankfully, StarTech provides docking stations that allow you to greatly expand the usability of your laptop computer.
The StarTech.com USB-C Dock includes a wealth of display and data ports that let you fully integrate your laptop with a wide range of other devices and equipment, including speakers, monitors and more.
What to know before you buy a StarTech docking station
Carefully consider the reasons for which you want to convert your laptop computing experience into one that is more akin to using a desktop. Are you editing video and looking to view your work on a monitor that allows for a less cluttered workspace? Are you in need of multiple displays to let you code and compare designs more easily? Or perhaps, you simply want to be able to create a dedicated, centered area within which to get focused work done without outside distractions.
No matter your reasons, choosing the right docking station means imagining the workspace you hope to create and seeking out a dock that will provide you with the flexibility you need to make it your own.
Take stock of what equipment you will be attaching to your laptop computer while shopping for a docking station. Consider the type and age of the connection that your external monitor requires. If you plan on using your computer with a sound system, be sure to know if your speakers are Bluetooth enabled or require a wired connection to your laptop. Paying close attention to the gear you hope to use will help prevent any compatibility issues you may experience after making an uneducated purchase.
Your laptop’s compatibility
USB-C has risen to become the new standard when it comes to connecting devices. Because of this, the majority of StarTech docking stations fully embrace this option. However, older laptops may not have this particular USB type installed. Depending on your hardware, you may need to seek out an adapter or two to ensure compliance with a brand-new dock.
Thankfully, making the leap from one connectivity standard to another is made easier by the wide availability of adapters and dongles that help bridge the gap between yesterday’s tech and today’s trends. Some StarTech docks even include a USB adapter in the box.
What to look for in a quality StarTech docking station
One of the biggest reasons to use a docking station is to be able to take advantage of the abundance of ports that they provide. From HDMI to various USB and memory card types, there are docks available for every profession and preference. You will be surprised at how quickly your dock becomes fully occupied with chargers and connected devices. Because of this, select a dock with as many ports as possible.
The convenience of a large, luxurious monitor in your workstation cannot be overstated. Be sure that the dock you purchase includes the correct HDMI ports required for today’s displays. Older monitors that connect via other means may require adapters. Because of the fast pace of display technology, some especially old monitors, sadly, may have to be left behind as you build out your desk.
Select a StarTech dock that is large enough to accommodate your needs but not so big as to hog too much of your valuable desk space. Miniature docks are available alongside standard models, although these units tend to lack many of the ports and features that make the devices attractive in the first place. If you require a large dock but don’t want to sacrifice surface area or prefer to keep the majority of your cables out of sight, you may want to consider mounting your dock out of sight behind your desk.
Additionally, portable docks are available and popular for both their space-saving dimensions as well as the ease with which you can bring them along for business on the move.
As Apple’s design influences have dominated the tech industry over the last two decades, computer accessories have followed suit. StarTech provides gray and aluminum docks to match Apple’s flagship MacBook models, as well as more universal black and white models. For those who prefer matching devices, there are docks available that will complement your gear and blend seamlessly into your work environment.
How much you can expect to spend on a StarTech docking station
Small, portable StarTech docking stations can be purchased for less than $100. However, powerful units that include Thunderbolt ports and other top-tier features can cost $200-$400.
StarTech docking station FAQ
Will a docking station make my laptop faster?
A. No. Docking stations allow you to connect your laptop to external speakers, monitors and more but they do nothing to enhance the performance of your computer. In fact, an underpowered computer may run slower if connected to too many displays.
Can I connect multiple docks together?
A. In some cases, yes. USB, in particular, is an accessible enough connection that users can sometimes “daisy chain” docks together to expand their usage. However, the functionality may vary depending on the power consumption of the devices you wish to use and with regard to other connections such as HDMI.
Do laptop docks provide storage space?
A. No. Laptop docks allow you to connect your computer to external hard drives, but they contain no internal storage.
What’s the best StarTech docking station to buy?
Top StarTech docking station
What you need to know: With a generous array of ports and a clean, modern design, this dock has everything you need to create the workstation of your dreams.
What you’ll love: You can connect your laptop to three external monitors with this device, putting four displays at your fingertips. Its range of ports allows you to integrate everything from external drives to speakers into your workstation.
What you should consider: Some users have noticed compatibility and driver issues with this dock.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top StarTech docking station for the money
What you need to know: This dock is small and great for traveling, allowing you to convert your laptop into a fully connected work machine wherever you go.
What you’ll love: Available in a range of connectivity and power delivery options, this docking station is small enough to fit into your laptop bag.
What you should consider: Not enough connectivity for some users.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: With both current and legacy ports, this dock allows you to bring some of your older technology into the modern age.
What you’ll love: Including various USB ports, a VGA port, a memory card slot and even a headphone jack, this dock expands the usability of your laptop in every way.
What you should consider: This dock sacrifices the number of ports in favor of variety.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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