Choosing A Docking Station

A docking station is used to connect a portable electronic device to a set of peripherals. Simple docking stations are used merely for charging devices such as smartphones; while more complex docking stations give laptops and tablets the same functionality as a desktop computer, linking up keyboards, monitors and mice. If you’re considering investing in a docking station for your devices, here’s what you need to know.

Laptop Docking Stations

Many laptop docking stations are designed for specific makes and models of laptop, but you can also find universal docking stations – which are handy if you’ve got multiple laptops in the same household. These docking stations require a cable to connect the laptop.

StarTech.com Universal USB 3.0 4K Laptop Docking Station
StarTech.com Universal USB 3.0 4K Laptop Docking Station, shop.bt.com

There are many advantages to laptop docking stations:

  • Instant laptop to desktop connectivity – which is ideal if you’ve been working on something on your laptop and need to continue on your desktop.
  • Some act as a stand for your desktop monitor, providing storage space for your laptop underneath – a handy feature if you’ve only got a small desk to work from.
  • Those which double up as laptop stands also help improve performance. That’s because they allow for more air flow, which helps to keep the laptop cool and at optimum running temperature.

Mobile Docking Stations

If you like to take your laptop with you to use on the go, a mobile docking station can come in handy. Take advantage of the following features:

  • Mobile docking stations come with shock-absorbing features which is handy if you’re using your laptop in a moving vehicle.
  • Some are designed for specific makes and models of laptops but many are universal.
  • Look for docking stations with a security lock to help prevent theft.

HDD Docking Stations

If you need to transfer data from one hard drive to another, a HDD docking station could prove useful. Unlike laptop docking stations, these require the hard drive to be plugged into a computer. Here’s what to bear in mind:

StarTech.com USB to IDE SATA Standalone HDD Hard Drive Duplicator Dock
StarTech.com USB to IDE SATA Standalone HDD Hard Drive Duplicator Dock, shop.bt.com
  • Make sure the supporting hard drive interface is compatible with your HDD. Modern HDDs tend to use either SATA or IDE interfaces so it’s important to choose your docking station with this in mind.
  • Pay attention to the type of cable connecting the docking station to the computer as it can affect the bandwidth. A task such as drive duplication requires a higher bandwidth – we recommend USB 3.0 which provides 5000 Mbit/s.

iPhone, iPad, iPod Docking Stations

You’ll find a wide range of docking stations that support your Apple devices. Depending on your needs, these can include charging stations, audio-video docks or desktop computer docking stations. The more features on offer, the more you can expect to pay.

Apple iPod Touch Universal Dock Adaptor
Apple iPod Touch Universal Dock Adaptor, shop.bt.com
  • Desktop computer docking stations

Plug your device into a desktop computer docking station to sync content and play music through the PC speakers.

  • Audio docking stations

If data syncing is not high on your list of priorities then an audio dock may be more suited to your needs. These connect to audio systems and can be used as speakers for your favourite music or to provide custom alarm clock ringtones – with the music selected from your device’s library.

  • Charging docks

Perhaps you’re simply looking for an easy way of charging your devices when they’re not in use? If so, you can get your hands on a charging dock for a minimal cost.

Now you know which docking station you need, browse the full range of portable entertainment available at BT Shop to find the best deal for your budget.

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