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After using my laptop for the last two years at work, we suddenly have a new directive which means every computer user has to have a 19 inch monitor to prevent eye-wear and to prevent stooping over the desk looking at a screen below natural eye level. I only add this is passing because for the previous two years I've been very happy with my laptop, so I asked my line manager for a new computer with said monitor but the suggesting came through that I should get a docking station which will allow my laptop to be connected to a monitor rather than a new computer.
Fine I said never having heard of a docking station but here I am writing a review on the use of such an item. A docking station is what it says it is, it is a portal where differnet computer components can be run through which allows one to recognise the other and vice versa. So the docking station is a little super cool little black box with a very mid nighties sci-fi discreet blue on light and a green dimly lit USB connector fork. The front has a portal for a mouse, speakers and a microphone - all standard plug ins, if anyone uses a microphone any more. The back has three USB 2.0 ports, a 10/100 BASE-TX ethernet, a DVI-I video output port, a a USB upstream connector and a power insert (DC). The DVI insert is a new version, if your monitor is the old blue multi pronged connection then you need a little adaptor which comes with the docking station.
Attaching the computer/laptop
This is ridiculously easy, basically the computer attaches through a USB connection which means that a cable runs from the computer to the station. Yes you lose a USB port but on the docking station are three others which if used can be registered by the computer so in all you gain.
The first step before then though is to install the drivers which come on a CD which plays automatically, you click on the install button and restart the computer once prompted. Then the computer recognises the monitor and you can either split screen your laptop/monitor making one a main computer and the other the auxillary or you can turn off the laptop screen making the other the only monitor screen. Personally I went for option A which means my laptop can now be permanently set for emails, or if at homes a film/game whatever whilst the other can be used to do all the things computers are built for.
The device costs £69, which I think is pretty decent if you want to run perhaps an aging laptop through a new monitor without the expense of a whole new computer or you simply like the idea of having two open browsers, games or two different work files open to look at the same without flicking between the two.
So far I've not had any problems and would recommend the product.