Best Docking Station for Chromebooks – WPRI.com

Which Docking Stations for Chromebooks are the Best?

The low cost, small size, and simplified operating system of Chromebooks combine to make them one of the most practical laptops you can buy. One of the few things they lack is a wide selection of ports, and the best way to overcome that is with a dedicated docking station. There’s a decent range of options, from standalone docking stations with built-in charging to pocket dongles suitable for use on the go.

The best high-end docking station for Chromebooks is the Wavlink 848 4K docking station, which offers plenty of ports and only requires one cable to your laptop for power and data.

What to know before buying a docking station for a Chromebook

Most do not include a power supply

High-end docking stations for full-size Windows laptops often draw power from a DC adapter plugged into the wall and distribute it to the PC via a USB-C cable and the Power Delivery protocol. There are Chromebook-compatible docking stations with this feature, but most low-end and mid-range laptop docking stations require the user to provide a USB-C charger.

Good power supplies are available

The good news: the vast majority of Chromebooks only draw 65 watts or less, which means you don’t have to go all out and break the bank with a suitable power supply. The Anker PowerPort III Pod Lite is pretty much the most compact and affordable choice if you’re fine with a single charging port. If you’d rather have extra USB charging sockets, larger (albeit more expensive) models include the base Anker PowerPort III with two Type-C ports and the higher-end PowerPort Atom PD 4 that adds a pair of Type-C ports. AT.

You will also need a cable

It’s also important to choose a reliable USB-C cable that’s certified for up to 100 watts of USB PD charging. Although it’s not very common anymore, it’s still possible to damage sensitive electronics with a faulty USB-C cable. As long as you stick with a reliable brand, you should have no problem. The Uni USB-C cable is one of the more budget-friendly choices, and the Anker Powerline III Flow is a premium option with soft-touch insulation and a few colors to choose from.

Chromebooks are limited in terms of external monitors

Unlike Windows PCs (and some Macs) that can drive multiple external displays, most Chromebooks are limited to a single secondary monitor. A workaround is to find a hub or dock that includes what’s called a DisplayLink chipset, which essentially acts as a standalone GPU and allows even hardware-limited Chromebooks to use more than one display. external. This USB hub from UtechSmart is an example of such a hub.

There are, however, a few problems with this method. First, some Chromebooks (especially those that run on Arm as opposed to Intel CPUs) don’t offer consistent compatibility with DisplayLink chipsets. Second, the DisplayLink hardware ends up sending much of the load to the laptop’s CPU, whereas the graphics processing unit normally does all the display processing. And Chromebooks have pretty limited processing power to begin with.

What to Look for in a Quality Docking Station for Chromebooks

USB-C power supply

It’s a must-have for any modern laptop docking station. Now a mature and fully realized technology, USB PD charging allows docking stations to deliver power and data using a single cable, greatly increasing convenience.

Many USB ports

Even some high-end laptops suffer from having too few ports. Make sure the docking station or hub you select has enough ports to accommodate all the devices you need to use. In particular, pay attention to USB Type-A and Type-C sockets, to ensure that you can still use all of your devices with your new hardware.

Specialized functions

A number of other features are standard on laptop docking stations. Most have an HDMI output, which works great with modern TVs and PC monitors. More rarely, they sport DisplayPort connectors (specifically for modern PC monitors) and VGA or DVI connectors (for older monitors). Some users need wired Ethernet ports for speed and security, while others need SD and microSD card readers to store media such as pictures.

How much you can expect to spend on a docking station for Chromebooks

The most affordable USB-C hubs for Chromebooks start at around $30, and the best models are around $200. You can spend $300+ on a high-end laptop docking station, but it won’t be a worthwhile investment for most Chromebooks.

Docking station for Chromebooks FAQ

What is the difference between a hub and a docking station?

A. Not a lot. Typically, hubs are small, low-cost dongles with no built-in power supply, while docking stations are usually larger, intended for stationary use, and often include a DC power supply. That said, there’s a decent amount of crossover between the two, and there’s no need to dwell on specific terminology as they essentially perform the same function.

Are these docking stations compatible with other personal computers?

A. Yes. Most docking stations today work with Windows and Apple computers, and the majority also work with Chromebooks. One of the only differences you’ll see is how these computers handle multiple external displays. Windows generally does a good job of handling two or more external monitors, macOS sometimes has issues on newer hardware, and Chrome OS is limited to only one external display at any given time.

What is the best docking station to buy for Chromebooks?

Top docking station for Chromebooks

Wavlink 848 4K Docking Station

What do you want to know: It is a complete docking station with 65 watts of USB Power Delivery charging.

What you will love: Unlike many docking stations, this one offers built-in charging, so you don’t need to use your normal power supply. It also features a Gigabit Ethernet jack, five USB expansion ports, and a convenient vertical design that saves desk space.

What you should consider: It’s terribly expensive for a Chromebook device.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Docking Station for Chromebooks for the Money

Anker 341 7-in-1 USB C Hub

Anker 341 7-in-1 USB-C Hub

What do you want to know: It’s about as compact and affordable as multiport adapters.

What you will love: With three USB passthrough ports, standard and microSD card readers, and an HDMI output, it has the most basic expansion ports that most people need. At its price, it’s a bargain that’s hard to pass up.

What you should consider: If you need an ethernet jack, this isn’t for you. Additionally, you will need to provide your own USB-C charger.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Lention CB C95 USB C Docking Station

Lention CB-C95 USB-C Docking Station

What do you want to know: This one is designed to add expansion ports while improving the ergonomics of your laptop.

What you will love: It’s designed to sit under the back of your laptop and prop it up at an angle, which many users find to provide a more comfortable typing experience. Along with plenty of USB ports and two SD card readers, it offers your choice of DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA video outputs.

What you should consider: It’s a bit too wide for smaller Chromebooks and lacks Ethernet connectivity as well as built-in charging.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Registerhere to receive the weekly BestReviews newsletter for helpful tips on new products and great deals.

Chris Thomaswritten for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

About Jon Moses

Check Also

How to Use Split Screen Mode on Chromebook

Split-screen mode has been available on Chromebooks for quite some time. This mode allows you …