Best USB 3.0 Universal Docking Stations 2020 Detailed Review.
Best USB 3.0 Universal Docking Stations: Over the last few years, ultrabooks, laptops, and tablets have slimmed down quite a bit in size, but have done so by sacrificing many of the important ports that allow us to connect and attach peripherals and accessories. If you’re lucky, you probably have two USB ports and possibly a video output, but not much more than that.
If you’re one who wants to increase the number of ports your device has, hook it up to single, dual monitors, or connect a slew of wired accessories, an investment in a high-quality Universal Docking Station may be key. However, you’ll need to make sure the one you choose utilizes the latest USB 3.0 connectivity if you want the best possible experience. There are several great options available, but we’re showcasing the best of the best that are worth the money.
StarTech Thunderbolt 3 Dual-4K Docking Station
Ports: 2 Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, DisplayPort, USB Type A, 2 3.5mm mini-jack
Plenty of ports
StarTech claims its Thunderbolt 3 docking station is the most advanced dock ever. Often, docking stations require multiple leads, but StarTech’s latest offering avoids that. The device has been designed to work with thinner notebooks and uses only one cord.
As the name suggests, it supports dual 4K displays (at 60Hz) and harnesses the raw power of Thunderbolt 3, offering 40Gbps bandwidth while keeping portability in mind. That’s not all, though. It can be used with up to three USB 3.0 devices and you also get Gigabit Ethernet capability. There’s also the ability to charge mobile devices, and you benefit from Direct DisplayPort integration. This accessory will set you back £312, which is a hefty whack, but not a bad investment if you’re in the market for a powerful dock.
Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Docking Station with Power
Ports: USB 3.0, HDMI, DVI, USB 2.0, 2 3.5mm mini-jack
Speedy USB 3.0 connections
Useful tip storage
Not a huge range of ports
Ethernet connection needs an adaptor
Targus offers this Dual Video Docking Station which won’t break the bank and comes with integrated laptop recharging facilities that are compatible with most 90W notebooks. So even if you’ve forgotten your charger, you’ll be good to go with this nifty device.
You can hook up two displays to this dock, and in terms of ports, you get a pair of USB 3.0 ports, alongside a pair of USB 2.0 connectors, plus two powered USB 2.0 ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. Targus also offers a Multiplexer Adaptor which makes this docking station USB-C compatible.
Kensington USB 3.0 Docking Station
Ports: USB 3.0, HDMI, DVI, USB 2.0, Ethernet port
Easy to use
High-speed data transfers
Kensington is a well-known and respected brand that has developed a reputation for its docking stations. Its latest USB 3.0 model can be used with MacBook or Windows laptops.
This device will let you transform one USB port into six (it sports four USB 2.0 ports around the back, and a pair of USB 3.0 affairs on the front). You also get a DVI connector and adapters to use it with either HDMI or VGA leads, and there’s an optional multi-display adapter for hooking up more than one monitor.
It sits nicely next to your laptop, and is affordably priced – it really is one of the best laptop docking stations around right now.
Microsoft Surface Dock
Ports: 2 x Mini DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, 4 x USB 3.0, audio-out jack
Ideal for Microsoft Surface products
Microsoft is a company known primarily for its software prowess, but in recent years, it has been increasingly working on the hardware front. The Surface lineup of tablet hybrids demonstrates this perfectly. If you own one, you’ll be happy to learn that you can also reap the rewards offered by a docking station.
The Surface Dock will let you turn your Surface convertible into a fully-fledged desktop PC. It’s compatible with the Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 4, and Surface Book. Connectivity-wise, there are two Mini DisplayPorts, one Gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 3.0 ports, and an audio-out jack. This dock doesn’t come particularly cheap, though.
Dell USB 3.0 UHD Triple Video Docking Station
Ports: 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, DisplayPort, 2x HDMI, Ethernet, 2 x audio jack
4K display support
Works best with Dell products
Although there are universal laptop docking stations out there, of course, many models are built by manufacturers for their own notebooks. Dell’s USB 3.0 dock exemplifies this. It works with most of the company’s latest laptops in the Inspiron series and, like much of the competition, uses USB 3.0 as the prevalent port – it has three USB 3.0 connectors, along with two USB 2.0 ports.
As the name suggests, 4K screens are catered for, and you get a DisplayPort along with a pair of HDMI ports, meaning you can hook up a total of three external monitors (one of them 4K) if you wish. Dell bundles an HDMI to DVI adapter, to support older displays still using DVI, and this dock also boasts an Ethernet port along with audio/headphone jacks.
AmazonBasicsUSB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station
Ports: 2x USB 3.0, HDMI, DVI, 4 x USB 2.0, Ethernet port
Plenty of USB ports
Not a huge range of ports
AmazonBasics is a great brand if you want simple and affordable peripherals, and its AmazonBasics USB 3.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station is a brilliant budget laptop docking station. You can connect up all your peripherals via six USB ports, and use two displays simultaneously. That’s certainly handy if you need multiple displays for work purposes.
Four of the USB ports are version 2.0, while two are USB 3.0 – and they give you access to transfer speeds of 5Gbps. Despite its low price, this is a brilliant way of expanding your laptop’s capabilities.