Advantages of Docking Stations
Desktop computers generally have an edge over laptops when it comes to monitor size, storage capacity, sound capability and keyboard size, for instance. But if a laptop is a better option for you because of its mobility, you can even the playing field with a laptop docking station. By providing multiple USB ports, one or more video connections, audio inputs and outputs, and sometimes even a network connection, a USB docking station lets you keep all the peripherals you want connected directly to the station, giving you the full-size or second monitor, auxiliary hard drive, computer speakers, and full-size keyboard you want, without the time-consuming process of connecting each peripheral individually, every time. Additionally, some cooling pads (often a good idea since many laptops tend to run hot due to the constricted design of their internal components) can also be an option in place of — or in combination with — a dock.
The use of docking stations for a laptop means you don't have to sacrifice usability and productivity for mobility. In fact, many users find that using a laptop dock station improves their productivity simply because the process of removing laptops from their laptop bags and cases, connecting them to docking stations, and powering them up so they're ready to go, takes only a few seconds. The transition of using your work computer at home is greatly simplified, and the laptop mounts you prefer will still function with many of the available docking stations.
You'll also appreciate that a dock station provides an ever-ready charging source, with no need for bothering with cords and connections. Plus, it can allow you to use new devices, like some flat-panel monitors or digital cameras, that you weren't able to use before because they weren't directly compatible with the ports on your laptop.
Other Docking Station Considerations
It is important to note that docks are not standardized, and laptop manufacturers typically design custom docking stations for each laptop, so you'll want to make certain that the station you select fits your device. Beyond that, determining how many, and what type, of peripherals you want, will help you make your best choice.
If you're a gamer, a docking station is pretty much a "must-have" since it will save you the hassle of attaching accessories that are key to optimizing your gaming experience, like your over-ear headphones or speaker system, your gaming keyboard and your wireless mouse.