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This HP docking station is a really useful piece of equipment. For those of you who have not used one before, what ia docking does is connect to all the peripherals on your desk. So you plug it in using its adapter and you can connect a mouse, a keyboard and a printer to it using USBs. You can connect a monitor to, if you want to, which I have.
What's the point?
Well what it means on a daily basis is that you can perhaps do away with the need for a desk top as well as a laptop, or a least it will save you a bundle of time if you are used to plugging and unplugging all your peripherals every day as you pack up your laptop and take it from your desk at work to home, or something similar.
How does it work?
Because it sits permanently on your desk, all your peripherals remain plugged into it. When you arrive with your laptop you just put it in the slot and click. You laptop is now connected to all your peripherals. It also acts as a power source and charger so you don't even need to get your laptop's cable out. I leave my cable at home, and have my docking station on my desk at work , so when I go home at night I just press the button to disengage the laptop and pop it in my bag. That's it!
Are there any disadvantages?
I haven't found any really, but one or two things you have to consider include:
1. If you want to use a separate monitor you have to remember to press the function button that allows dual display, or it won't show.
2. Mine had a fault for a while which restoring the laptop to its facotry settings solved, but while it was happening the computer's hard drive shut down when the laptop lid was closed. You need it to function normally, not go into hibernation, as you want the closed laptop to be your processor.
3. You need to reassign your desk space to take the docking system and the laptop. If you don't use this docking station then you might just use the laptop on your desk, now you'll end up with a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor, and your laptop will be like a desktop tower, but it won't be on the floor. So you might need a bigger desk!
Having said that it is so fantastic to have all the convenience of my own laptop on my desk, with everything I need on it, but be able to access it using a full sized keyboard and a separate mouse, and use a nice big monitor (mine's 20inch). So it's not just timesaving, it really enhances my posture at my desk, as I'm using a proper keyboard so I'm sitting properly. I know I could plug in a full keyboard and mouse directly to my laptop anyway but I know too that I would never bother plugging and unplugging all those USBs - I'd either stop taking my laptop everywhere, or give up plugging the keyboard in! I'm sure everything could be wireless and you'll all comment that even the printer could use IR to my laptop anyway, but you can't get a wireless monitor can you? And anyway, wired stuff is faster, on the whole. And even IR keyboards need a base station plugged in.
It gives you full port replication, is about as wide as my laptop and weighs a couple of pounds I'd say. It was fairly easy to install and hase been relatively trouble free, once I got used to it. It did give me a copule of glitches with the printer when I first installed it, but I fiddled with the settings and all was well. I think you could plug different people's HP laptops into it if you wanted to operate a hot desk with it.
It costs £105 from PC World, but prices vary a bit depending on where you buy it from.
As a daily home/work laptop commuter - I can really recommend this product. It has made my life simpler, my desk more pleasurable to sit at, and saves me a few minutes a day packing and unpacking.
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