Add Ports to Your Laptop with a Hub or Docking Station
With laptops becoming more compact every day, we often sacrifice ports in favour of portability. Gone are the days when your new laptop weighed a ton but came with a LAN port, audio jack, HDMI port, and more USB ports than you could handle. These days, I find myself looking for ways to juggle multiple peripherals using a single USB-C port on my MacBook and I’m certainly not alone. Many laptops, even Windows based ones, are now shipping with just one or two ports, one of which is also used for charging. So how do you manage this when you need to connect peripherals and other devices? Well, my advice is to find the right hub or hubs for you.
Hubs simply plug into your USB or USB-C port adding a variety of other connection types to your laptop. They come in a variety of configurations, letting you decide what type of functionality you need to add, how much you’d like to spend, and how much extra bulk you can handle. Here are a few hubs that are worth looking into if you’re struggling for ports:
If you own a laptop with regular USB-A ports but would like to add more ports, this is the hub for you. It’s an inexpensive solution that adds three extra USB 3.0 ports, offering data transfer rates of 5.0Gbps. In addition, this hub gives you two card reader slots so you can quickly transfer pictures or other data from memory cards without additional adapters.
For laptops with a single USB-C port, the StarTech 3-Port Hub is the perfect portable solution thanks to its compact form factor. It offers three USB-A ports, making it easy to plug in all your peripherals and devices. It also has a USB-C port with power delivery so you can charge your laptop using its USB-C power adapter while using the hub.
The Kensington SD1500 Docking Station is a little bulkier as far as USB-C solutions go but it offers a lot of great functionality that is sure to come in handy if you travel for business. This station not only offers a USB 3.0 port but also adds HDMI and HD VGA allowing you to connect an HD monitor or projector and play video in 4K. It also has a LAN port for those hotel stay or boardroom presentations where Wi-Fi just isn’t an option.
In my opinion the IOGear Compact USB-C Docking Station is the best of all worlds when it comes to hubs. It’s compact and lightweight while offering almost every connection type you could possibly dream of with a total of 10 ports. This docking station offers VGA, HDMI, and Mini DisplayPort for connecting monitors and projectors. It also has a LAN port to keep you connected when Wi-Fi isn’t available. Two card readers and an audio jack allow you to import and consume media. Finally, it supports power pass through so you can power your laptop while using the hub.