Over the last couple of years, laptop docks have undergone tremendous changes. Gone are the days when a dock would let you connect your external monitor and a few peripherals to create a desktop-like experience. Now, laptop docks come with advanced features such as dual HDMI connections, Thunderbolt 3 high-speed connection, and USB-C Power Delivery to charge the host laptop on the go.
Docks with Power Delivery feature charges the host laptop using the same USB-C connector and doesn't need an additional charger. Here, the USB-C cable acts at the bridge between the dock, peripherals, and the host laptop by transmitting both power and signal.
While most notebooks and compact laptops can do with a power output of 60W, though some power-hungry laptops need a little more.
So, if you are in the market looking for good docking stations for laptops with USB-C Power Delivery, here are the best ones. But before that,
The Dell WD19 dock is for those who are looking to benefit from the massive 90W PD output. You will be able to connect your laptop, and also have enough to power your keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals. Like most docking stations nowadays, it offers an ample number of ports, and one of the interesting features is the inclusion of two DisplayPort connectors.
It has a flat design and saves desk space. Besides that, the ports are cleverly arranged, and you'll be able to use most of them at the same time. Even if your monitors do not have HDMI ports, you can attach an adapter to get the work down.
However, check the compatibility of the laptop with the dock beforehand. Alternatively, you can also check out the Dell WD15 dock. This dock also supports 4K displays.
2. Plugable UD-CAM
Power Delivery: 85W
Ports: 4x USB 3.0 Ports, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x 3.5mm Audio Jack
One of the primary benefits of Plugable UD-CAM is its size. It's small and can be easily attached to the back of the monitor. Yeah, the dock comes with a VESA mount. Cool, right? Secondly, it delivers a whopping 84W of power to any compatible laptop or tablet works and should be enough to sustain some laptops like the Apple MacBook Pro. It comes with HDMI 1.4 connectors, and with the right HDMI cable, you should be able to stream 4K content at 30Hz without any issue. Or, if you drop the resolution a notch, you will be able to watch at 60Hz.
But, the UD-CAM docking station has more USB-A ports. While this may not be much of an issue if you have more USB-A compatible devices, you might want to consider this point if you have more USB-C devices.
Another issue is the use of the HDMI 1.4 ports, which will allow you to watch 4K on only one device. The mini size of the docking port also means fewer ports. You won't find a dedicated SD-card reader. And it comes with a dedicated power adapter which is almost as big as the dock itself.
However, if you want to extend the display to a single monitor and want to reap the maximum benefits of the USB-A peripherals, this is the one you should have.
If you want a dual-monitor setup for your Windows machine, you should check out the Cable Matters USB C Dock. It lets you connect up to two 4K monitors, and the ample number of USB-A ports allows you to connect other peripherals like keyboards and mouse. Like most laptop docks, it only allows you to stream 4K at 30Hz if you connect both the monitors. If you are happy with a single display, the refresh rate rakes up to 60Hz.
Other than the above, the other USB-C PD port supplies power to up to 18W, which can be considered decent for charging smartphones and tablets while supporting 10Gbps of bandwidth. However, this docking station doesn't have any HDMI ports, and all the display connections are via the two 4K DisplayPort connectors. The only thing you have to keep in mind is to attach Active DisplayPort to HDMI cables.
If you must know, these active cable helps connect a DP output to a display with HDMI outputs. At the same time, do make sure to use USB 3.2 Gen 2 cables to get the most of the USB-C PD port. This dock also bundles a Dynamic bandwidth switch, which lets you switch between HD and 4K. Switching to the HD setting will enable high speeds on the connected peripherals.
The vertical design of the laptop dock ensures that it doesn't occupy much space on your desk. Alternatively, you can also place it horizontally if you are not happy with the vertical look. There are neat rubber paddings at the belly to keep the dock in position.
4. Plugable USB-C Triple Display Docking Station
Power Delivery: 60W
Ports: 2 X HDMI, 1 x DVI/VGA , 1 x USB-C PD, 1 x USB-C 3.0, 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A
The Plugable USB-C Triple Display 4K Docking Station is the one for you if you want a triple display connected to your laptop. The best thing about this docking station is that you can run 4K content on two connected monitors. The USB-C port supplies power at 60W and should be good enough to charge laptops like MacBook Air. While the dock will work with high-end laptops like MacBook Pro, you'll have to compromise on the charging speed.
This Plugable dock uses two display technology—Alt Mode and DisplayLink—to run three displays simultaneously, which is a tad rare in this department.
The dock is cleverly designed and has a vertical design. Not only is it easy to configure all the wires, but the vertical design also occupies less space.
This dock is quite popular on Amazon and has more than five hundred users reviews. However, do note that you need to check your laptop's compatibility with the dock. It should have Intel SkyLake (6th generation) Core i3 processor and either one of the following GPUs— AMD Radeon HD 8650, Intel HD Graphics 4000, NVidia GeForce 7xxM.
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5. Kensington SD4820P USB-C Docking Station
Power Delivery: 60W
Ports: 1 x HDMI v2.0, 2 x DisplayPort++, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen2, 1 x USB-A 3.1 Gen2, 4 x USB-A 3.1 Gen1
Last but not least, we have the Kensington SD4820P USB-C Docking Station designed for compact laptops and notebooks. It supplies 60W of power to the host laptop and can connect up to two external displays natively. You can either use the DisplayPort++ (dual mode) connectors or the HDMI connector to hook your external displays. Other than the upstream USB-C port, there another USB-C port with a power rating of 5V/3A.
Like the Cable Matters laptop dock, this one also comes with a dynamic switch that lets you switch between 2-lane and 4-lane setting. When you switch to the 2-lane setting, the speeds of the connected peripherals will go up. However, the display of the monitors will switch to 1920 x 1080p.
The Kensington SD4820P has received its share of good reviews over the years. At present, it enjoys an average rating of 4.3-stars out of 5 out of the five hundred reviews on Amazon. As per Fakespot's estimate, around 80% of the reviews are genuine and can be trusted.
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Get the Power!
So, which of these docking stations will you get for your laptop? If you have a Dell laptop, it's safe to go with the Dell Wd19 provided it suits your requirement. If not, the Kensington SD4820P looks like a good option if you want multiple displays.
Getting a clean desk setup is nearly limiting if you have multiple monitors on your desk. Take a look at the article below to discover some great affordable monitor arms.
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