One of the main reasons why people consider purchasing a laptop is mobility and the possibility to carry your work along with you. Over the years, laptops have become thinner, lighter, and offer a great battery life; which is great for most users, but can be a hassle for professional users or people who are looking for a desktop replacement. And we are talking about the number of ports here. Nowadays, most laptops come with a limited number of ports, such as 2 or 3 usb ports and an HDMI port. Some laptops don’t even have an ethernet port! For professional users, this can be a major drawback. That’s why professional and users looking for a desktop replacement usually prefer laptops with docking stations.
What is a Docking station and what are its benefits?
A docking station adds a various range of ports to your asset, by simply plugging in your laptop. That means you’ll be able to connect your favorite mouse, keyboard, external hard drives, or even additional monitors, all requiring a single connection to your machine. Think it as the luxury to convert your laptop to a desktop computer. A docking station is what you need if you work both at home and at your office, or if you just have too many tech devices for your setup. Either way, as you get the laptop to your desk, you’ll be able to easily connect via cable to your printer, speakers, or enjoy a smoother networking experience through using an ethernet cable for the internet connection. A docking station will save you from the hassle of purchasing both a laptop and a desktop computer for your business. As you can imagine, it also saves you from spending quite a considerable amount of money. Most docking stations are priced in the range between 100$ and 300$.
You’ll find both universal docking stations as proprietary ones, with a restricted series of compatible laptops. Lenovo, Dell, HP and as of lately Acer are known for producing dedicated docking stations for their series. At the end of this guide, we’ll be recommending and reviewing five of the best business laptops with their respective docking stations. But first, let us talk about a few things that you need to look out for when buying a docking station.
How to choose a docking station for your laptop?
First, you should know there are different types of docking stations out there. You might run across simple replicators, that serve the purpose to just expand the number of ports for smaller and limited laptops. While they’re certainly useful, they lack a dependable series of features, such as additional charging capability for your machine. Proper desk docking stations, on the other side, are most likely to include charging capability. Meaning, you won’t have to plug in and out the AC adaptor of your laptop while it’s plugged to the station. While docking stations are coming out ever slimmer, there are ones that are specifically designed with portability in mind. You might look for portable stations if your business requires you to work quite some time away from your main desktop. Last, there are docking stations that serve as display stands, coming with an elevated platform for your laptop. That is recommended if you’re longing for the more ergonomic feel of a traditional desktop.
You might also want to consider some extra features in your next docking station, such as USB Type-C ports, the latest connectivity standard. Check out for 4K support, as UltraHD monitors continue to grow in presence, and for multiple monitors support as well. Last, an Ethernet port is definitely a nice feature for your desktop setup.
So, now that you have an idea about docking stations and how they can benefit you, let’s check some of the best laptops with docking stations we selected for you. In order to make this list, we have selected a number of laptops and their compatible docking stations.
Best Laptops with Docking stations:
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon and Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Docking Station
First, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a high-end business laptop, with a 14” Full HD touchscreen display. It features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a remarkable 1 TB SSD, that’ll enable you to start up the laptop in just a few seconds. It comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system.
The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is a rather powerful machine, thanks to the processing power and the considerable amount of RAM. On top of it, you’ll appreciate the massive storage space for securing your files, especially if you’re not a heavy cloud user. You’ll also fall in love with the IPS anti-glare display. This beautiful and sleek machine includes a fingerprint reader, a backlit keyboard, two USB Type-C ports for the best connectivity. It has the Lenovo ThinkShutter camera privacy feature.
And since the reason why you’re here is because you’re looking for a laptop with a docking station, there is no better option than the Lenovo ThinkPad USB 3.0 Docking Station for this laptop. You can plug in your laptop with a simple USB 3.0 cable, while the station itself is powered through an AC adapter. This device offers four additional USB 3.0 connections, a 3.5mm headset jack, an Ethernet port for networking via cable, a DVI D port and a DVI I, as well. A DVI-to-VGA monitor adapter is included in the package. This vertical standing docking station is only 5.9 inches tall, making it a rather portable solution if you’re going to use it on the go. Indeed, it will fit on the palm of your hand! The only downside to the amazing portability is that it doesn’t charge your laptop’s battery while it’s docked. But, you can easily overcome this obstacle by purchasing an additional AC adapter for your laptop, dedicated to your workstation.
Lenovo ThinkPad E580 and Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C UltraDock
Next, we have the Lenovo ThinkPad E580, a 15.6” Full HD business laptop. The setup we’re reviewing features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD, a nice solution for fast productivity. It comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system. For a slightly higher price you can customize it up to 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of SSD storage space.
The ThinkPad E580 is a rather high-performance laptop, considering its cost. You can’t go wrong with this purchase if you’re in a mid-to-high budget! It includes a fingerprint reader and one USB Type-C port on top of the other connectivity options. The IPS display is amazing to look at and the ergonomic keyboard comes with a separate numeric keypad, that you’ll appreciate for your occasional data entry tasks.
We highly recommend coupling this purchase with the Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C UltraDock. This docking station will charge your ThinkPad E580’s battery while it’s plugged in. Truth be told, it supports charging for other models up to 60W of power delivery. With a single USB Type-C cable connected to your laptop you’ll have access to one USB Type-C port, three USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm headset jack, an Ethernet port for cable connection to the internet and two display ports. This rather compact, horizontal standing docking station supports a single 4K monitor at 30Hz or two Full HD displays at the same time. Think of it, the UltraDock will give you the possibility to arrange a rather elaborate desktop setup.
Dell Latitude 7490 and Dell TB16 Dock
The Dell Latitude 7490 is a popular laptop among business users, and it’s also hand down one of the best options if you’re looking for a highly portable laptop that you can easily connect to a docking station. This 14 inch business laptop features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 1 TB SSD, for a smooth booting experience. Thanks to the monitor supporting USB Type-C port, you can connect this machine to up to two Full HD monitors at the same time. The Latitude 7490 comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system.
With an average battery life of 15 hours, the Latitude 7490 has the capability to support your productivity all day long. Weighting only 3.11lbs, this laptop is a portable powerhouse at your hands. Nothing will stand between you and your work, thanks to the processing power and the high amount of RAM. Also, the storage space will come in handy.
Then, at your office, you can easily plug in your Latitude 7490 via USB Type-C cable to the Dell TB16 Dock. With one VGA port, one HDMI, a display port and a mini display port, this docking station can support up to three different displays at the same time, running at 60Hz for a total 5120×2880 resolution. The TB16 Dock features one USB Type-C port, two USB 2.0 ports, three USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm headset jack and an Ethernet port for wired connection to the internet. Remarkably enough, it supports battery charging of all laptops with up to 130W power delivery. This docking station is a fan favorite, as Dell is one of the most trusted companies when it comes to delivering tech products with great performance and durability.
Acer Swift 5 and Docking Station USB Type-C
The Acer Swift 5 might not be your first choice if you’re a professional user, but when we were making this list, it turns out that Acer offers some great docking stations that work very well with the Swift 5. The Swift 5 is a 14” Full HD touchscreen laptop with a sleek design and a narrow bezel IPS display, weighting only 2.14lbs. The Swift 5 features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD, that is probably more than enough for your average file storing.
The Swift 5 includes a backlit keyboard and a fingerprint reader as nice additions. It also comes with a USB Type-C port that you can use for plugging this machine to a docking station. While you carry it along with you in your daily commute, the Swift 5 will have your back for up to eight hours of untethered productivity. This is the lowest priced purchase option on the list if you wish for a portable, but high performing laptop.
The Acer USB Type-C docking station is a rather affordable device that you can couple with your Swift 5, to arrange a productive workstation wherever you may. In fact, this horizontal docking station is slim and lightweight, just as the laptop we’ve recommended. Supporting up to 135W of power delivery, it will charge the battery of your machine while it’s plugged in. Also, it offers the possibility to connect a 4K monitor or two different 2K displays. The Acer USB Type-C docking station features two USB 3.0 ports, one USB Type-C port, a display port, one HDMI, a 3.5 headset jack and an Ethernet port for wired connection to the internet. Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish with a slightly higher budget for your laptop purchase?
HP EliteBook 850 G5 and HP D9Y32AA#ABA UltraSlim Dock
We can’t make a list of laptops with docking stations without including one of the HP EliteBook laptops, as they are extremely popular among businesses. This HP EliteBook 850 G5 features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD, for the smoothest start up experience of your machine. It also comes with the Windows 10 Professional operating system. The EliteBook 850 G5 is a rather powerful laptop as it is, but you can easily customize the purchase and your setup with up to 32 GB of RAM and 2 TB of SSD storage space.
The EliteBook 850 G5 includes one USB Type-C port, a fingerprint reader for a fast and secure login into your system, and a backlit keyboard. The separate numeric keypad will definitely come in handy when you’ll find yourself doing data entry work. Weighting less than 4lbs, this laptop is a rather portable one, without any renounces at the screen size department. On top of it, the EliteBook 850 G5 features a dedicated docking connector on the bottom side.
It’s almost ready for you to dock it in, without any cable. Couple this purchase with the HP D9Y32AA#ABA UltraSlim Dock, a display stand for simulating the more ergonomic desktop feel while you get productive with your laptop. This docking station features four USB 3.0 ports, two display ports, one VGA port, a line in and a line out for your audio and an Ethernet port for connecting to the internet via cable. Of course, it comes with a power supply to charge your laptop’s battery while it’s plugged in. If you’re looking for a simple and comfortable desktop setup, you don’t have to look any further.