Review: 5 universal docking stations make quick connections
Vantec Laptop Docking Station with Video Output
The smallest and least obtrusive of the bunch, Vantec Thermal Technologies' docking station does a lot with a little by providing the basics for connecting a notebook.
Tiny and sleekly designed, the Vantec dock is the best looking of the five and is about one-third the size of the Toshiba Dynadock. It measures just 5.6 in. by 0.7 in. by 3.2 in., and at 7 oz. is the lightest of our roundup.
On the downside, this upright dock was easily moved around by its cables, despite having rubber feet. Clearly, it needs the weighted base of the Dynadock.
Setup took a quick two minutes. The dock provides:
- Four USB 2.0 ports, two of which are located on the front of the dock for easy access
- A 10/100 Ethernet port
- A DVI video port for an external monitor, which comes with an adapter for use with older VGA-port monitors
- Microphone and headphone jacks
In a design faux pas that drove me crazy, the USB plugs in the back are upside-down compared with the ones up front. It was the source of endless frustration for me when I was plugging stuff in.
As with the other video-enabled docks, the software creates a task tray icon for customizing the video with the choice of extending the desktop or mirroring the action on an external monitor. The downside is that, like the Targus dock, it is limited to a maximum 1,600-by-1,200 resolution.
Everything I threw at the Vantec dock worked, and it was up and running in 18.7 seconds, making it the speed demon of the bunch. It used 6 watts of power, putting it right in the middle of the pack, but it lacks any of the digital creature comforts that the others provided, like the iConcepts speakers and flash reader or the Toshiba's digital audio.
At a Glance
Pros: Good-looking design, quick start-up, small case, DVI connector
Cons: Limited video resolution, some USB ports are upside-down
- A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things The aim of this is to provide Architects and Developers of IoT projects with an effective starting point that covers the major requirements...
- How to Reduce Hardware & Infrastructure Costs Through Data In this paper, we take a look at how organizations are revisiting their network and server architecture in a bid to address the...
- Software Build Acceleration, Analytics and Build Clouds Discover how to dramatically speed up software builds by automatically distributing build jobs over scalable resource clouds and multi-core desktops, with potential savings...
- Printer Installer: Eliminating Print Servers Printer Installer is an on-premise web application that enables you to centrally manage and deploy Windows shared or direct iP printers.
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator... All Hardware White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!