Product Review: HP USB 2.0 Docking Station

Skip the hassle of plugging and unplugging your peripherals every time you take your business notebook PC with you. Uses universal USB technology to pass through critical signals such as video, LAN and peripheral connectivity (keyboard, mouse, printer). No need for a CD, this docking station has flash memory that stores installation-ready software drivers.


Real-World Experience

When this unit arrived, I unpacked it and plugged in the AC Adapter. Then I took an RJ45 network cable off my cable router and plugged it into the back of the unit. Then I took a DVI video cable from my big desktop monitor and plugged the other end into the back of the unit (It only accepts DVI, but if you've only got VGA you can buy an adapter plug for as little as $5.00). Finally, I took my wireless keyboard / mouse USB radio dongle and plugged that into the unit.  You can leave all these plugs the way they are, you will never have to change them again.  If you do not have a wireless keyboard / mouse, just plug your keyboard and mouse USB plugs into the unit.

Finally, I put my HP Pavilion DM3 notebook on my desk, plugged in the AC, and stuck the single USB cord from the unit into one of the USB ports on the notebook.  Powered on the notebook, logged in, and the DisplayLink software dialog came up. All the software and drivers are right in the HP USB Docking unit; they install automatically -- which is great, because many notebooks today do not have an optical drive.   I should mention that although this is an HP product, it should work with virtually any brand of notebook that supports USB 2.0.

As soon as the software was installed, which took only a minute, I hit Windows-P to select "Projector" and hit the DVI switch on the front of my monitor. Immediately I had a full-screen display from the notebook, which was crisp and clear (that's on a 24 inch monitor) and full access to my wireless keyboard and mouse. I plugged in the printer, too, and verified that it worked. In short,  with a single USB plug, my notebook was now a desktop PC!  I don't know how they can get so many signals to come over a single USB plug, but it works and there is no loss of  speed or connectivity at all.

All I can say is, if you've got a notebook computer that you'd like to be able to use as a full desktop PC, and you want the ease of plugging it in and going to work immediately with nothing but a single USB plug, this is definitely the way to go.  Need to go out on a job? Unplug the USB and take your notebook and AC adapter along, and you're off!  When you get back home, just plug in the USB and your AC Adapter and you have a full desktop PC, instantly. No more messing with video plugs, network cables and the like.

You can purchase the product online direct from HP here.

I have reproduced some of the specifications and details from HP's information page below to make it easy for readers to refer to a single article.  


Front View

1. Power indicator 3. USB port (With Power Charging)
2. Notebook Connection Indicator 4. USB connection port to the PC

Rear View

1. Security cable slot 4. DVI external monitor port
2. Power connector 5. USB ports (3)
3. RJ-45 (network) jack

Nowadays programmers and IT workers are using more high-powered notebook computers with more RAM and bigger hard-drives that can easily double as a desktop PC. The big problem up to now was that unless the notebook is equiped with docking capability and came with a docking station, the frustration of having to connect and disconnect monitors, network cables, mouse and keyboard made doubling the notebook as a desktop a frustrating experience.

A flexible computing environment helps you stay productive, whether you're working in your main office, a satellite office or a home office. The HP Universal Docking Solutions for HP Notebook PCs use universal USB technology to pass through critical signals such as video (HP USB Docking Station 2.0 only), LAN and peripheral connectivity (keyboard, mouse, printer).

Since USB is a widely adopted industry standard, the HP USB Docking Station 2.0 is perfect for notebook computers that don't have an integrated docking connector. Users can just plug the dock into the USB port and extend their notebook for a true desktop experience.

Versatile Connectivity
Enjoy immediate audio and network connectivity, plus improve your productivity with access to up to five concurrently working universal serial bus (USB)-connected devices. Over a single USB cable, you can connect your notebook to a keyboard, mouse, printer and other accessories that you regularly use, giving you a true desktop experience!

Smart and Flexible
The HP USB Docking Station 2.0 is designed to bring maximum productivity to users with minimal installation issues. Unlike other docking stations, the HP device has flash memory with installation-ready software drivers that detect when a computer is connected and guide users through a simple installation wizard. There's no need to install software from a CD, another benefit for notebook computers that do not have an optical drive.

You can connect to a variety of peripherals with four USB ports, DVI-I and one network connector
Add an optional locking cable to secure it to your workspace
Use it with any HP business notebook PC or most other non-HP branded notebooks

Standard Features for HP USB Docking Station 2.0
USB ports 4 USB 2.0 ports
Network connectors Ethernet ports
Monitor connectors External DVI-I
Security cable slots Add a locking cable (sold separately) to secure the docking station using the security cable slot
LED indicator Blue indicates power on and Green LED indicates a good connection to the notebook
Compatible with XP, Vista and Windows 7

Specs
Connect to a variety of peripherals with four USB ports, DVI-I and one network connector
Add an optional locking cable to secure it to your workspace
Use it with any HP business notebook PC or most other non-HP branded notebooks

Standard Features for HP USB Docking Station 2.0
USB ports 4 USB 2.0 ports
Network connectors Ethernet ports
Monitor connectors External DVI-I
Security cable slots Add a locking cable (sold separately) to secure the docking station using the security cable slot
LED indicator Blue indicates power on and Green LED indicates a good connection to the notebook

If you have a VGA plug only for your monitor you can buy a converter plug for as little as $5.00. Here's one at Office Depot.


Summary
The HP USB 2.0 docking station, at less than $100.00, is a steal. It's solid, reliable and trouble-free.  Installation is a breeze. Highly recommmended.

By Peter Bromberg   Popularity  (9671 Views)