Docking stations provide a superior level of convenience to travelers and digital nomads. These hardware systems allow users to link their laptops to multiple devices simultaneously.
Whether you need to connect your computer to a mouse, scanner, printer, and speakers, you can easily use a docking station without the need for multiple cords.
The best docking station for digital nomads include:
1. Dell USB 3.0 Ultra HD/4K Triple Display Docking Station (D3100)
The Dell D3100 docking station provides a convenient means of extending the functionality of your laptop to make you more productive. It is designed as a compact horizontal box with a sleek matte-black finish.
Its dimensions are 6.5 × 2.98 × 1.1 inches, which makes it small enough for traveling. Its accompanying power adapter is also small in size and will be easy to carry around.
The bottom of the station has been furnished with non-slip rubber to promote its stability, whether you place it behind your monitor or below the laptop.
This docking station is equipped with multiple ports for maximum versatility. The three USB 3.0 ports will connect your laptop to printers, external drives, and scanners with lightning-fast transfer speeds.
An additional two USB 2.0 Ports promote compatibility with many peripherals. Other ports include a USB-B port to link to your laptop, two HDMI ports, a mic combo jack, an Ethernet jack, and a headphone. You will get an HDMI-to-DVI adapter in case your monitor does not support HDMI.
The Dell D3100 has a DisplayPort to support external displays in one Ultra HD 4K display as well as two Full HD displays. You can spread your monitor on up to the three screens and expect beautiful and detailed picture. You can also easily manage numerous applications at once.
Overall, this docking station is a good bargain for travelers keen on increasing their productivity on the road. It does not, however, support USB Type-C.
2. Plugable USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station
The station’s vertical design means that it occupies minimal space when set on any working surface. It has a sturdy base, but you cannot set it up horizontally under your laptop or monitor like the option that comes with other stations.
Most of the ports are arranged from top to bottom on one side of the device. You get a gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a DVI/VGA port.
The station also has two USB 3.0 ports to link your laptop to accessories like printers. One USB 3.0 port can handle super-speeds of 5Gbps from PC to video.
When it comes to display, the UD-3900 supports two displays via its HDMI and DVI ports. The HDMI port can handle displays of 2560 × 1440, but only if one screen is connected.
The port will support 1080p is another screen is linked. The VDI port displays resolutions of 2048 × 1152.
The Plugable UD-3900 is compatible with Windows 7 to 10 and legacy XP systems. It does not support Linus/Unix, Mac OS X, and Surface RT and is not recommended for gaming. The station works best with web and productivity software.
While the model is sleek, affordable, and comes with many ports, it does not support 4K video and cannot charge a smartphone.
3. AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Dual Monitor Docking Station
The AmazonBasics USB 3.0 docking station features nine peripheral ports. You can link your computer to accessories like external hard drives using the two USB 3.0 ports and to printers and keyboards via the 4 USB 2.0 ports.
Also included are an RJ-45 Gbit Ethernet port and audio/input to link microphones and headphones. This USB cable will expand your workspace at any destination.
You can easily connect two monitors to this docking station as it features a DVI-I port with a VGA adapter and an HDMI port. The HDMI supports a resolution of 2560 × 1440, but only if one display is connected.
This output level needs a high-speed HDMI cable and will run at a 50Hz refresh rate. Two displays will have an individual output of 1920 × 1200 if they are engaged simultaneously.
The station will support Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 and is not compatible with Linux/Unix and Surface RT. It will also work well with Mac OS 10.9 later version. To get optimal performance for USB graphics, the system requires 1GB RAM and dual-core 2.0GHz+ CPU.
4. Anker Dual Display Universal Docking Station
It is equipped with multiple ports for maximum functionality. It has two front USB 3.0 ports that offer super-speeds of up to 5 Gbps for quick data exchange.
You can easily set up peripherals like a mouse, printer, scanner, and keyboard, as there are additional four rear USB 2.0 ports. These ports are ideal for accessories that you want to be hidden from view.
You will get a single display resolution of 2560 × 1600 via HDMI and a dual display resolution of 2048 × 1152. Users can switch to a resolution of 1080p for both HDMI and VGA/DVI and can add another monitor via a USB-A to DVI Display Link Adapter.
An extend mode lets travelers share their entire desktop across multiple screens and run several applications simultaneously.
The system also has a clone mode that will allow you to replicate similar content on your secondary display as you do on a laptop screen.
5. Hiearcool USB-C Laptop Docking Station
The Hiearcool USB-C Hub features a triple display and multiple ports. The company combined the functions of a docking station and a USB-c hub to develop a powerful model for travelers and digital nomads.
Its lightweight and aluminum alloy design makes it an ideal travel companion.
You can expand triple monitors using the USB C HUB. The two 4K HDMI ports supports resolution of up to 3840 × 2160 with dual HDMI displays. The VGA port accommodates a display of 1920 × 1080.
You can expect a stable WiFi connection with the hub, thanks to the 1000M Ethernet port. You can easily stream movies and browse the internet with speeds of up to 1000Mbps.
The station also provides fast data transfer at a rate of 5GBPS for two USB 3.0 ports. The additional two USB 2.0 ports are ideal for wireless devices and accessories like keyboards. The ports have backward compatibility to discourage over-current, over-voltage, overcharge by regulating voltage and keeping users safe.
This docking station also includes an SD/TF Card Slot, Gigabit RJ45 Port, and a PD charging port.
What is a Docking Station Used for?
Docking stations enable users to use their laptops on the road and at home. Laptops are marketed as mobile computer systems, but what happens when you want the functionality of a desktop?
Docking stations combine the best of both worlds in a compact solution and let you enjoy portability between the office and home.
The hubs come with multiple ports for linking to other devices like printers and scanners. Most laptops are furnished with two or three ports, which can impede functionality. You can also access devices like cameras and flat-panel monitors that are often not supported by laptops.
Desktops do not come cheap, and the more affordable docking hubs will eliminate the need for one. You can even get a decent station at under $100, which is significantly less than the cost of a desktop.
Digital nomads live a minimalistic lifestyle as they are always on the move, and they need to reduce their gear. Digital stations are quite lightweight, meaning that they are easy to carry and set up in different destinations.
Are Docking Stations Allowed on Airplanes?
Docking stations are not restricted for air travel, but you can opt to connect it on the laptop as you are going through security as one system.
Do Docking Stations Work with All Laptops?
Universal docking stations will mostly work with any laptop with a USB 3.0 port. The Plugable UD-3900 is one such model, and it comes with multiple ports.
Some laptops, however, have their docking stations. The hubs will also have directions as to which operating systems they are compatible with.
Will a Docking Station Charge My Laptop?
Some USB-C docking stations with Display Link technology will charge your laptop. Hubs with USB Standard A-B connections cannot charge power-intensive devices like laptops.
Is it possible to convert a laptop to a desktop? The answer lies in docking stations, which are compact gadgets that feature many ports to link laptops to accessories like printers, mice, and keyboards. The hubs also support displays that will enable you to extend your laptop’s content into other screens and utilize multiple applications at the same time.