Over the last few years, you may have experienced working remotely, or traveled between your home and office in a hybrid setup. Between the transition in work environments and the modernity of laptops, you’ve probably found yourself wondering, “where do I plug in all my stuff?” That’s where docking stations and hubs come into play.
Often, there is some confusion between docks and hubs, and the terms can sometimes be used interchangeably. While there is some cross-over in capabilities, there are differences between the two. Let’s break it down.
Docking stations are, for the most part, more powerful than a hub. They are designed to connect multiple displays, audio sources and a variety peripherals (think keyboard and mice), as well as charge your devices and provide power to your laptop with one connection. They may also come equipped with an Ethernet port, allowing you to connect to reliable, wired Internet in the event the Wi-Fi is on the fritz.
Docks remove the need for multiple converters, adapters and power cords, and provide users with a simplified, organized workspace. While portable travel docks are an option, they are usually considered a stationary piece of hardware that remains on your desk. In short, docking stations allow you to expand your laptop’s capabilities, turning it into a powerful workstation, all with one hook-up. Essentially, it transforms your laptop into a modern-day desktop PC.
Docking stations are designed with various connections (Thunderbolt™ 4, USB4, USB-C, and so on), have a range of port options, and can connect many types of displays (VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI) at UHD resolutions like 4K and 8K.
Plugable has an extensive assortment of docking stations, designed to meet the needs of your budget, and the requirements of content creators and data crunchers alike.
Check out some of our popular options below:
PLUGABLE THUNDERBOLT™ 4 & USB4 QUAD DISPLAY DOCKING STATION WITH 98W CHARGING
This 16-in-1 dock is a powerhouse. It’s compatible with USB-C, Thunderbolt™ 3 / 4 and USB4 hosts. It can connect up to four 4K 60Hz displays (on your Windows laptop), and two screens on your Mac. It has 7x USB, SD / microSD slots, Ethernet (2.5Gbps), audio, and 100W power delivery to keep you charged. This dock is by-far our most superior and is designed to deliver high-end performance.
Buy the Plugable Thunderbolt™ 4 & USB4 Quad Display Docking Station with 98W Charging
List Price: $416.00
PLUGABLE THUNDERBOLT™ 3 AND USB-C DUAL DISPLAY DOCK WITH 96W HOST CHARGING
Need fewer ports? This 14-in-1 docking station is similar to the one above, but connects dual 4K displays instead of four. It has a slew of USB connections, wired GbE, audio in/out, SD card slots and provides 96W charging. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac, providing both versatility and power.
Buy the Plugable Thunderbolt™ and USB-C Dual Monitor Docking Station, 96W Laptop Charging
List Price: $320.00
Each year laptops and MacBooks become thinner and thinner. But with ultimate sleekness, comes ultimate sacrifice, and in this case it’s USB ports. Or lack there of. In fact, a lot of laptop manufacturers are removing USB ports altogether, leaving users starving for options to connect their accessories. This is where a hub can help.
Hubs are basically a scaled-down version of the docking station. In a lot of instances, they are considered port expanders, providing you with additional USB-A/USB-C connections, and at a lower price-point. They generally carry a smaller footprint and are designed for portability, making it a go-to solution for road warriors. Hubs range in capabilities – sometimes they are solely used to add extra USB ports, and in other instances, they allow you to connect to multiple screens (bye-bye display adapters), hook up to wired Internet, and even provide pass-through charging. For simplicity’s sake, we won’t get into the nitty-gritty of charging, but as a rule of thumb, hubs usually draw power from your laptop, where docking stations do the opposite. Hubs are intended to be an accessory to your laptop, where docks act as the engine of the workstation.
No matter your budget or end-goal, Plugable has a variety of hubs to suit your needs.
PLUGABLE USB-C 11-IN-1 HUB WITH ETHERNET
This handy hub checks off all the boxes. It provides similar features to a docking station, but is super-lightweight for travel. It can connect two 4K 60 displays, has USB-C and USB 3.0 ports, SD slots, GbE and pass-through charging. It’s as close to a dock as you can get, but at a fraction of the price…and footprint.
Buy the Plugable USB-C 11-in-1 Hub with Ethernet
List Price: $110.00
PLUGABLE ROTATING 4-PORT USB 3.0 PORTABLE BUS POWERED HUB
This no-frills hub expands your computer’s connectivity by adding four USB 3.0 ports to your laptop using a single USB-A connection. It’s ultra-portable, has a unique 180-degree rotating design and delivers a user-friendly, plug-and-play experience. If you’re looking to connect a few devices on-the-go, this budget-conscious hub does the trick.
Buy the Plugable Rotating 4-Port USB 3.0 Portable Bus Powered Hub
List Price: $28.00
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