Choosing a Docking Station

We offer 2 models of Universal Docking Station, and often get questions about which one to buy. Here’s a side-by-side comparison. Let us know if you have any questions!

Both enable adding an extra monitor, speakers, and other devices to any brand of laptop (no more expensive proprietary docks!) with a single USB cable to dock and undock.

If you’re a user of Windows Multipoint Server or Userful Multiseat Linux, these same docks can also act as a low-cost USB terminal to enable many users to share one computer.

ProductPlugable DC-125  USB 2.0 Docking ClientPlugable USB 2.0 Universal Laptop Docking Station
Model numberDC-125UD-160-A
Host InterfaceUSB 2.0USB 2.0
GraphicsDisplayLink DL-125DisplayLink DL-165
ResolutionUp to 1440×900 or 1280×1024Up to 1920×1080 or 1600×1200
Video InterfaceVGADVI or VGA with adapter (included)
Free USB ports24
EthernetNo10/100 Base–T Ethernet RJ-45
Audio1 ea. 3.5mm stereo Headphone and stereo Microphone Jack1 ea. 3.5mm stereo Headphone and stereo Microphone Jack
PowerUSB bus powered (devices share 0.5A)2.5A External Power Supply (included)
Special featuresIncludes both VESA mount for back of monitor, and desktop mount; includes extra-long 5 meter USB cable; Eliminates clutter with a single USB cable delivering both power and data to the dock — the trade-off is the 2 free ports have enough power for wired keyboard, mouse, or self-powered devices onlySeparate power adapter enables daisy-chaining, charging, and connection of devices which require maximum bus power

Where to buy

15 comments on “Choosing a Docking Station”

  1. Cindy Russell Reply

    hi, I live and work in Tonga. I have purchased a Toshiba Portege r835 and i need a hub or dock for my various printers and external monitor. a friend here who knows a lot more than me about computers said i wouldn’t get a good enough signal for my Adobe Illustrator applications via a “docked” monitor signal. Please can you answer for me if better to just get a hub and run monitor off the laptop itself? Also we have 220 power..is this and your other USB hubs 110-240v? any suggestions appreciated.
    I will pick up my new baby (plus toys) in January when i come to the US to visit family. Waiting to hear, cindy

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Cindy,

      Thanks for asking ahead! That Toshiba Portege R835 is a nice system – it has a Core i5 processor, so it’ll have plenty of horsepower for a USB docking solution. Performance with Adobe Illustrator will be indistinguishable from a monitor connected another way (it’s only for motion video & 3D where all pixels are updating several times a second, where USB 2.0 is a significant bottleneck).

      The power adapter for the UD-160-A http://plugable.com/products/ud-160-a/ can handle 220V, but it is US-style prongs only.

      So it sounds like our dock could be a good match, if you’re looking for single-cable dock/undock to a whole bunch of devices (including the monitor).

      Hope that helps. Thanks again!
      Bernie

  2. Nelson Reply

    Hi – I was looking to get a docking station and from what I’ve read, USB 2.0 limits some features of a universal docking station. Are there any plans to build a docking station using USB 3.0 in the near future?

  3. Dan Taivalkoski Reply

    I am running Windows 7 on a toshiba L655 laptop. Would I be able to use an older HP wide format printer through the docking station that is currently connected to my desktop via a parallel port with a usb-to-parallel port adapter?

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Dan, Yes – no problem. If your USB to parallel adapters works directly connected to the laptop, it will work just as well through our USB docking station (which internally is just a powered USB hub with several built-in devices hung off of it). Thanks for asking ahead!

  4. Rob Perrin Reply

    Hello, I’m looking for a Docking station that will support a 4TB storage system. I’d like to attach it to my network, but the only USB NAS Ethernet adapter requires the harddrive to be formatted before it’ll work…something I can’t do since it has nearly 2TBs worth of data on it. So I’m thinking your Universal Docking station may be a “work-around” until I upgrade my storage system. If it’ll support my 4TB Drobo…I’ll give it a try. Thanks!

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Rob – thanks for asking. If it’s a single non-striped 4TB drive, our single-bay USB SATA dock might be a good choice. But we’re not seeing 4TB drives commonly yet, so I’m suspicious it might be something something more complex. Can you say more about your setup, and what drive make/model you’re looking to connect via our SATA dock? Thanks!

  5. Mike Elliott Reply

    I live in the UK and was wondering whether the UD-160 dock can handle 230V? The UD-125 only has 2 USB ports and I need more than that.

    Thanks

    • Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Mike – Thanks for asking! Yes, the AC power adapter on the UD-160-A is rated for AC inputs of 100-240V, 50-60Hz. So it’s compatible with UK voltages. But it only comes with USA style prongs for now (until/if we launch a UK/EU version). So you’d need a passive converter for that. Hope that helps. Thanks for asking!

      • Mike Elliott Reply

        Thanks Bernie. Unfortunately, Amazon.com won’t let me buy the product even though I can usually buy other products on Amazon.com (as I’m based in the UK, I usually use Amazon.co.uk).

        I was planning to use a US -> UK plug transformer to be on the safe side but it looks like I’ll need to wait until/if the product ships in the UK. In the meantime, there aren’t that many great alternatives but I’ll keep looking.

        M

        • Mike Elliott Reply

          Edit to add: They will let me buy the product, they just won’t ship to the UK which amounts to the same thing.

  6. Nick Ward Reply

    I’m interested in a USB docking station that works with the Surface RT. Do you have one that will?

    Thanks,
    Nick.

    • Bernie Thompson Bernie Thompson Reply

      Hi Nick – Sorry, there are no USB docking stations that can support Surface RT (or any ARM-based Windows). Surface Pro is fine, though.

  7. Daniel Abaka Reply

    What are some step in connecting the pluggable Dc-125 USB 2.0 on my Dell computer and is running windows 7 operating system…

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