What is a Laptop Docking Station?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

A laptop computer is a portable computer that is designed to fit on one’s lap, as opposed to requiring an entire desk. Because laptops include a monitor, and in many cases a battery and a wireless connection, it is possible to use them as is, with no other apparatus or connections. A laptop docking station is device for easily transforming a laptop computer into a desktop computer. The laptop docking station may be one of three basic types.

A laptop docking station transforms a laptop computer in a desktop computer.
A laptop docking station transforms a laptop computer in a desktop computer.

The first type of laptop docking station is a stand that holds the laptop at a comfortable height on a desk so that its screen is used as the main monitor. With this type of docking station, the laptop is supported at an angle, which may be adjustable to provide an individually chosen viewing height. Such a docking station is used with a full-size keyboard and mouse, which may come with it or may need to be purchased separately. Because all peripherals connect to the docking station, the connections can be left in place, and the laptop is then connected to the docking station with a single connector. This type of docking station may be specific to a small set of laptop models.

The second type of laptop docking station is a receptor for all the peripheral plugs needed for a laptop, but without a laptop holder. To use this type of docking station, one would place one’s laptop on the desk or on a separate holder, and plug a single connector into the docking station to access all the peripherals. Choosing this type of docking station would provide freedom to choose a laptop stand that did not have docking included. Many of these docking stations rely on a USB 2.0 connector between the station and the computer.

The third type of laptop docking station is the type that is designed when one is using the laptop with not only an external keyboard and mouse but also an external monitor. This type of docking station, like the first type, includes a holder for the laptop, but the laptop is held in a closed position, turned on its side, so that it takes up the least possible desk space. As in the other cases, the computer is plugged in with a single connector that links it to all of the peripherals that remain attached to the docking station in its absence.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to wiseGEEK about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


A docking station may include a laptop stand. A USB hub doesn't include a stand.


So a peripheral docking station is essentially a USB hub?

Can't you just buy a laptop USB hub and save some money or is there actually a difference between the two?

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