Introduction and Design
StarTech’s latest USB 3.0 docking station pulls out all the stops. Should you hook up?
We’re always on the hunt for good docking stations, and sometimes it can be difficult to locate one when you aren’t afforded the luxury of a dedicated docking port. Fortunately, with the advent of USB 3.0 and the greatly improved bandwidth that comes along with it, the options have become considerably more robust.
Today, we’ll take a look at StarTech’s USB3SDOCKHDV, more specifically labeled the Universal USB 3.0 Laptop Docking Station – Dual Video HDMI DVI VGA with Audio and Ethernet (whew). This docking station carries an MSRP of $155 (currently selling for $123 on Amazon.com) and is well above other StarTech options (such as the $100 USBVGADOCK2, which offers just one video output—VGA—10/100 Ethernet, and four USB 2.0 ports). In terms of street price, it is currently available at resellers such as Amazon for around $125.
The big selling points of the USB3SDOCKHDV are its addition of three USB 3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet—but most enticingly, its purported ability to provide three total screens simultaneously (including the connected laptop’s LCD) by way of dual HD video output. This video output can be achieved by way of either HDMI + DVI-D or HDMI + VGA combinations (but not by VGA + DVI-D). We’ll be interested to see how well this functionality works, as well as what sort of toll it takes on the CPU of the connected machine.
Continue reading our review of the StarTech USB3SDOCKHDV USB 3.0 Docking Station!!!
From left to right, the rear of the unit features ports for DVI-D, HDMI, VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, headphones and microphone, and USB 3.0 (x2).
Meanwhile, the right side of the unit hides a third USB 3.0 port, while the left side has a Kensington Lock port, the USB 3.0 port to connect to the laptop, and a DC 5V port to power the docking station.
The unit is built entirely from plastic, but feels sturdy enough. The footprint is just 263 x 87 x 34 mm, with a weight of just 289 g. It’s nondescript enough for the typical business setting, featuring just a single StarTech logo on the top. The bottom of the device holds two large rubber feet on either side which do an adequate job of holding the dock in place (though once lots of cables are plugged in, the weight of the cables does tend to lift the unit off the table—a common problem with all docking stations that do not rest underneath the machine to which they are attached). StarTech’s two-year warranty covers the hardware in case of any issues.
The only thing you’ll find in the box, by the way, is the charging cable (with USA and Euro tips) along with a USB 3.0 cable for use in connecting to the PC.