Laptop Docking Stations for HP EliteBook

One of the biggest issues people have hand with laptops over the years has been the tradeoff between portability and expansion. Sure you can connect external devices like hard drives and monitors to your notebook PC but once you make all the connections it's not that much easier than moving a desktop computer. With the right docking station, you can switch your HP EliteBook from road warrior mode to desktop replacement mode and back in a matter of moments. It's an easy way to unleash the power of your EliteBook without sacrificing convenience or portability. Rather than a simple notebook, you end up with a mobile workstation.

How Do Docking Stations Work?

The idea behind a docking station is simple, it provides device connectivity for your laptop so you don't have to attach everything yourself each with its own adapter. While some docks have historically relied on proprietary connectors, many now use either USB-C or Thunderbolt interfaces. Many also have multiple USB ports for external devices. All docking stations have the same basic features:

  • Interface: Most use a single interface such as a slide-in side dock where you can simply slip the computer into place in a matter of moments.
  • AC Adapter: The majority of HP EliteBook docking stations offer a built in power adapter so that the laptop doesn't need to run on battery while docked. This maximizes performance.
  • Video: Most recent HP docking stations have an HDMI or DisplayPort video output, while older units offered VGA.

How Do You Choose a Docking Station for your HP EliteBook?

There are several ways to choose the right docking station for your EliteBook notebook PC, most of which depend on dock compatibility and your requirements when not on the go. Do you require USB Type-C, or possibly a parallel port? Which one you choose may determine what dock suits your needs. Here are some options with benefits and tradeoffs.

  • HP UltraSlim Docking Station: The advantage of an UltraSlim model is that it is a low profile yet simple one-click slide-in side dock. In just a few moments you can be up and going with up to four USB ports, a VGA port and DisplayPort. The tradeoff is that it only works with some UltraSlim computers.
  • HP Elite 90W Thunderbolt 3 Dock: This dock handles everything with a single cable to your Thunderbolt-capable HP EliteBook. Thanks to Thunderbolt, one cable can handle everything from power to data including video in a single high-bandwidth connection.
  • Universal Docking Station: Unlike the others, this laptop docking station works with a wide range of notebook PCs, not just the HP EliteBook. The advantage is that it's more flexible than many HP proprietary docking stations, the tradeoff is that you may not get all the functionality of a dedicated HP station whose design is specifically for your laptop.

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