Get a docking station

by | Nov 12, 2021 | Quick Skills

I meet with many business professionals who often have nice laptops. Docking stations used to be expensive but they have come down in price. They can really do a lot for busy, productive professionals and will quickly pay for themselves. 

I think the reason why I don’t see many docking stations on professional’s desks is because most people don’t really know about them or understand them.  

So, what is a docking station (dock)? 

A dock is essentially a device that you plug your laptop into, and, in turn, the dock is plugged into other things.  Docks vary, but most allow you to easily plug into a network cable, a keyboard, mouse, speakers, HDMI, headphones, and USB devices.  They also allow for additional monitors.  So, instead of plugging these various things in every time you sit down, you simply plug all these things into your docking station once. And then plug your laptop into the docking station each day visa vies a single USB Type-C plug.  

I just happen to be typing this while my laptop is plugged into my docking station. Get a docking station; make your busy life simpler!

And, by the way, get one for your home office if you are working from home.

Make mobile computing life much simpler 

This article is not a product review. Nor is it necessarily an endorsement of a specific brand over another, however, Smart Dolphins IT Solutions does work with Dell products.

Good docks can turn your laptop into a portable dynamo — whether you are constantly on the move or you always leave it at home or work, you will want to make the most of your laptop, while it is sitting on your desk. This is true, especially if you don’t have enough ports — ever run into this issue?  

Depending on your needs, you can find very affordable docks that will output to dual HD monitors over a standard USB. More expensive docks that support USB Type-C and 4K monitors that will work with your current laptop and your future laptops as well. 

If you are unsure if you are ready for a dock, check out the number of ports located on the side of your laptop and consider how often you are plugging in and unplugging to thing, including that pesky power cord.  

Good laptop docking stations to consider

You will want to go for the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock. They will support a 4K monitor, and up to three monitors as well as charge USB Type-C laptops. Plugable is your go-to choice for a Thunderbolt 3 laptop dock, too, as it powers up to two 4K monitors while also charging at the same time and throws in extra USB 3.0 ports for good measure — all at a solid price.

However, if you are sporting a Thunderbolt 4 laptop like the latest Dell XPS 13, consider the Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock and Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station. Anker released the Anker PowerExpand 5-in-1 Thunderbolt 4 Mini Dock recently. 

Check back annually, as new demands on power and speed and configuration of peripherals change and we will update the latest recommendations of brands and models. 

Smart Dolphins techs use docking station

Smart Dolphins IT Solutions has a staff of 23-25 and most of them are very technical people. There are a few non-technical people too. Most, especially our techs who visit clients and work from home at times, all use docks. 

To walk into their office, plug one small USB-Type C jack into the side of the laptop allows the dolphins to work like they are using a desktop. Two or three monitors light up, everything else is already plugged into the wall, and monitors. Simple, fast and let’s not forget the wear and tear of connections. 

When a tech is in a hurry to get things done quickly, the dock makes work-life better. 

“As an IT professional, I’m constantly travelling with my laptop — limited to just the one screen that it provides,” offers David Hamilton, support team specialist with Smart Dolphins. “However, when I’m at home or in the office, I utilize a dock for the following advantages: 

  • Support for multiple monitors (4)  
  • Extra USB ports for all my additional devices  
  • Combining all my cords into one organized place while leaving me with the convenience of just plugging in one cable to my laptop. 
  • Easy to move between machines, not changing computers
  • The ability to ‘hot desk’

It is a time saver; set it and forget it. I am a busy guy. To constantly be swapping cables on a portable device chews up valuable time, which can be better spent helping clients.”

Chief Operations Officer Jesse Smith agrees, “Using docking stations and a laptop creates a lot of flexibility for the Pod. We have them at every desk at our office, along with three monitors and a keyboard and mouse. Most of us also have one at home. This allows our team to work just as effectively whether we’re at home or in the office, and no matter what desk we sit at. It’s a big part of our work from anywhere culture.” 

About Smart Dolphins IT Solutions 

Smart Dolphins IT Solutions started in year 2000 in Victoria, BC. We employ two-dozen staff who look after our clients throughout Vancouver Island and those that also have offices across the province.  

We have been helping small and mid-size businesses drive efficiency and productivity by ensuring that their systems are fast, secure, and reliable. During this time, we have fine-tuned a very special process of auditing and aligning our clients with world-class standards and best practices. 

If you have any questions about ongoing IT support by Smart Dolphins IT Solutions, feel free to reach out to us at any time. We are here to help.