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Docking Station vs USB Hub: What are the Differences And Similarities

As we progress towards the mid 21st century, techno-gadgets have deeply penetrated many aspects of our lives. The fast-paced life that we are living currently demands high portability, where you can stay connected to the world on the go. You and I, just like any modern person, can hardly imagine ourselves without the need of portable devices like smartphones and laptops. Because of the said reason, stationary computers are becoming a thing of the past.

If you check the latest statistics, you will notice a drastic shift in the market where notebooks now lead the industry by a fair margin. Having said that, we also believe there is still a huge gap that a laptop needs to fill in order to replace a personal computer. The war of Docking station vs USB Hub is a step in the right direction that fills the void between a notebook and a PC by enabling users to convert a laptop into a PC-like workstation.

Striving for portability, many manufacturers companies are working day and night to make laptops smaller and smaller so users can carry them around easily. Two steps forward, one step back! The result is a small-portable laptop but with a fewer number of ports. In the past, this was a problem that limited the expansion of the notebook industry but with the invention of docs and hub, the dilemma is settled now. Despite looking similar, there are few distinct differences when it comes to the docking station vs USB hub.

Before we find out the similarities and differences between the two, let’s talk about what they are and which one is right for you?

What is a docking station?

Docking stations allow multiple types of connection to a single device. The number and type can differ from station to station, but you can expect to have more variety in ports than you will normally see at your laptop side. This is one of the best advantages of a docking station and is extremely handy for those who wish to convert their laptop into a professional workstation.

Docking station for laptop and desktop connects via the Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-A or USB-C port and provides additional ports for external devices.

What is a USB Hub?

It is like a mini version of a docking station. As the name suggests, a USB hub for laptop helps in expanding the USB ports enabling you to connect more devices through a single port. Some of the modern high-end USB hubs also have ethernet and power ports, but prominently you will find the USB-A ports and/or their upgrades.

Docking station vs USB Hub: What are the similarities?

Not only they both look similar, but they also offer some similar features which are described in detail below; 

Boasts multiple ports: Multitask like a pro!

One of the major reasons people wish to buy docking stations and USB hubs is to extend the available port and have a better connectivity experience. With the limited number of ports available on a laptop or pc, attaching and detaching different gadgets can be quite a hassle. That is where docs and hubs are a lifesaver. Just throw in either of the two, connect as many devices as you want and have a smooth unmatched multitasking experience like never before.

Organization: Keep your work space neat and elegant

This is another area where docs and hubs really shine. Both offer the luxury of connecting as many devices as the users want and keep them organized at the same time. You can simply connect them to your laptop and hide them in a drawer or under the table. Then connect your speakers, microphone etc. and get rid of all the ugly looking cables. As a clean freak myself, I simply love this feature and for me it is one of the major advantages of a docking station and a hub.

Power: Never run out of juice

USB Hubs and docking stations both have the ability to charge the external devices like smartphones, headphones, watch etc. However, the mechanism is different for each. USB Hubs will use your laptop’s battery to charge the devices that you connect. Whereas, docking stations can be powered through an electrical source which can even charge your laptop and other gadgets depending upon the port compatibility. In simple words, you don’t have to worry about charging your electronics separately. Just get a docking station or a USB hub and your devices will always have enough juice to get your work done.

Wired internet connectivity: Going old school

Despite having Wi-Fi internet available, many organizations and officers still prefer to use the wired connectivity. The main reason for that is the stability and reliability. Unfortunately, not all the modern-day laptops have a built-in Ethernet port. In such a situation, docking stations and USB hubs can be really helpful.

Keep in mind,  only the latest USB hub for laptop comes with an Ethernet port. Before buying one, make sure you know what your requirements are and choose the one accordingly.

Docking stations vs USB Hub: What are the differences?

There are some main distinguishing features between the two and knowing them is important as it will help you get an idea of which one to get.

Versatility and Diversity: More connections through a single port

In the race of docking station vs USB hub, the good thing is they both allow you to connect to multiple external devices. However, the number and type of device can vary between the two.

USB Hub holds a USB-A interface and all of its latest versions like USB 3.0, USB 3.1 and so on. Devices like keyboards, mic, webcam, mouse etc. that offer connectivity via USB port can easily be managed via the USB hub. This can be extremely handy for photographers as now they can take their laptop with a USB hub wherever they want and connect the camera and flash drive to it simultaneously.

Docking station, on the other hand, brings a lot more to the table. Along with the USB port, they also harbor HDMI, VGA, USB-C, DisplayPort etc.

Dual and triple monitor setup – Next level YouTube and Gaming experience

One vital difference between doc and hub is capability of multiple monitor setup. Dual and triple display docking station helps you load more screens to your laptop or computer. With additional monitors, you can ramp up your productivity to the next level.

Two screens effectively extend the visual real estate and make the workflow smoother. Gamers can play games on one screen and stream on the other. Coders who want to view code on one display and documentation on another also benefit massively from this type of set up.

High quality resolution: Enhanced visuals

When it comes to docking station vs USB hub, another major difference is the support of high definition external displays. Docking stations are so powerful that they can support HD, 3k, 4k and even 8k resolutions. You can simply connect your laptop to another screen and share high quality video with ease. Supported connectors include (from lowest to highest quality):

  •       VGA
  •       DVI
  •       HDMI
  •       DisplayPort

In short, almost all types of video outputs are available in docking station for laptop and desktop. Moreover, they further support various screen modes like extend and mirror. Extend mode expands your display onto the second display and mirror mode simply replicates your screen just as it is.

Auxiliary Support: Docking and Rocking!

Most modern laptops and computers have either a single aux port or none. For creative people like myself, I find it extremely annoying not being able to connect microphones and headsets separately. Docking stations are a blessing in such situations. Amongst the other advantages of a docking station, my favorite one is that it comes with a built-in auxiliary port to which you can connect your headphone or mics and have a top-quality sound experience. Musicians can record their voice in high quality while listening to it via a separate headset. Gamers can enjoy a great audio experience and also be able to communicate to their audience simultaneously while streaming.

Docking Station vs USB Hub: Choosing one is easy with the FireFold

With the new compact laptops, connectivity is a major problem and that is where you might require to plug in either of the two. The winner of the Docking Station vs USB Hub is solely dependent on the users and their requirements. Docking station for laptop and desktop is quite versatile in its applications and helps you to connect to a lot more through a single port. Whereas, a USB Hub for laptop is compact, minimal and can easily connect the basic devices. Through our detailed guide on similarities and differences, I am sure many of the doubts are clear now and you can easily choose the one that suits your usage. Once you have that sorted out, you can check out the huge list of USB hubs and docking stations at the Firefold store and simply buy one right away. All the products are of top quality and are unique in design, performance and durability.

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