Netbook Docking Station – best options on docks for mini laptops

Netbooks are meant for life on the go, being light and portable, thus easy to grab along. However, when you reach your home, you might want to use them at your desk and the best and most comfortable way to do that is to connect them to a docking station. Simply because this way you can get access to all your important content, but while using a bigger display, a proper sized keyboard or a better sound system. Plus, docking stations are a smart way to keep you important files always backed-up and safe.

In this post I’m going to tell you what you should know about these netbook hubs and what you should care for if you plan to buy one of them. So let’s see:

  • a good netbook docking system should be solid built, good looking and reliable
  • should provide a facile way to connect the mini-laptop to it
  • should come with height adjustments so you can fix it to the position you find most comfortable
  • should offer a variety of ports, like many USB Slots, audio and video output options, storage space, optical unit, etc
Proper position at you desk - one of the befits of netbook stands

Proper position at you desk - one of the befits of netbook stands

With all these in mind, let’s have a look at this list of products below. I have to tell you that they are here because they are the best and that’s based on my experience with some of them (I’m a tech editor for a couple of years and had the chance to play with all sorts of gadgets) and also on what regular people who bought these docking stations present here had to say about each of them.

They will work with nearly all kind of netbooks and mini-laptop, regardless of brand, size, etc. So, think about them as a long term investment you’re going to have for a couple of years, even if you plan changing your notebook during all this time.

Logitech Netbook Riser – $42.49 (10% discount)

This accessory is not actually a docking station, just a device meant to correct your posture while working on your mini-laptop at the desk. That position is most of the times not the right one, which results in back-pain, which can evolve after a couple of years in severe back problems. Thus, a device like this one is what i consider a must even if you spend only a couple of hours a day in front of your laptop at the desk.

Like i said, it doesn’t come with any ports, but it is solid built and reliable, as proven by the very good marks and reviews received from buyers. And it is also very affordable, as it goes right not for $42.99 (with a 10% discount) and Free Shipping. So, definitely a very good deal. For more details, pictures, reviews and the option to buy, see this link.

Logitech netbook Riser - cheap and just usefull

Logitech netbook Riser - cheap and just useful

Logitech Alto Connect Stand – $69.99 (12% discount – limited time)

This is right now the most popular notebook stand available on Amazon, one of the most trusted sites in the world. That speaks of how good it is.

First, you will notice the extravagant design. It’s very solid built also and has rubber feet so it won’t scratch the furniture. Also, the upper area where you would place the laptop is rubber covered, so your device won’t slip and move while using it. Last but not least, this stand elevates your laptop to a more ergonomic position, but it lacks any adjustments, thus, some of you might not find it fit (especially if you’re taller than the average).

Then, you’ll find it works with all kind of laptops, from 7 to 18 inch and is also compatible with MacBooks . On the back you have 3xUSB ports and another one is on the front, so you can easily connect your peripherals. However, while a mouse, keyboard or flash-drive would work just great, external hard-drives might not, although the stand has its own DC-IN connection.

All in all, this is a good dock, but has limitations. Managed to score some great marks from previous buyers and the fact that it only sells for $69.99 (with Shipping included) is definitely part of its success. The 3 years warranty bundled along is another one, for sure. However, if you need a dock with more features, you have better options.

Alto connect - brilliant design and good reviews

Alto connect - brilliant design and good reviews

Logitech Alto Cordless – $40.99 (60 bucks price cut)

Like the other Logitech docking stations, this one impresses in terms of build quality and looks, as you can see in the pictures below. But unlike it, does come with some extra features. Plus, besides the actual stand, the pack also contains a high-quality and ergonomic Logitech wireless keyboard. There’s no mouse included though, so you’ll have to choose one of those too. There’s a good list of pick for a netbook mouse in here.

On the back of the stand you get 3xUSB ports and the great thing is that you can use them for all kind of peripherals, including external hard-drives . In order for those to work you’ll need to connect the AC cable to your stand.

Overall, the Logitech Alto Cordless is perhaps the best affordable docking station for mini-laptops you’ll get these days, as it can be yours for only $40.99 on Amazon, with a big 60 bucks discount and Free Shipping. However, this one has 2 major flaws: it’s not height adjustable and when placing a laptop on it, you will no longer have access to any of the ports on its front part (that shouldn’t be too much of a problem for netbook owners, and these mini devices usually have nothing on the front side). But, if you can live with these two, this is for sure a great pick, especially since it also comes with 5 years warranty.

Alto Wireless - docking station with wireless keyboard and 5 years Warranty

Logitech Alto Wireless - docking station with wireless keyboard and 5 years Warranty

Toshiba Dynadock V universal docking station – $71.99 (35% price cut)

With the Toshiba Dynadock V we enter a superior class of notebook docking hubs. Unlike the above, this is not a stand, but a stand-alone unit you’ll place next to your laptop. Thus, it won’t be able to handle the ergonomic concerns of using a netbook at the desk, but will take care of all your other problems.

First, the device is small and compact. It has to be connected to the AC line and offers 4xUSB ports (3 on the back, 3 on the front), able to handle all kind of peripherals. On the front you also get Audio/Mic ports and on the back there’s an Ethernet Lan slot, so this device can be connected to your network (this comes with quite a lot of benefits, as it can be used to deliver Internet to multiple devices simultaneously, like a laptop and a TV).

Because, unlike the other docking stations above, this one can be used to stream content to a Full-HD external display via DVI output. And don’t worry if your netbook is not powerful enough to do that on its own, the Dynadock has its own integrated HD graphic chip capable of dealing with 1080p content.

The Dynadock V is compatible with any Windows operated laptop and notebook. You just have to connect it to your device via an USB cable and you’re good to go.

This universal Toshiba hub has a list price of around 120 bucks, but you can get it from here for only $71.99 , which is definitely a deal you should take. Because, if you’re looking for such a device, you’ll hardly find anything better. See more details, reviews or have the option to buy it by clicking this link.

Toshiba Dynadock V - lots of features, still good price

Toshiba Dynadock V - lots of features, still good price

NU Dock Station – $72.99

This is the last of this list of recommended docking stations for netbooks and mini laptops, but definitely not the least. The name will surely not tell you much, but the device is very good and comes with some features the other stations above lacked.

First of all , it is a stand, so you place the laptop on it, thus providing a better position. It is not height adjustable though.

The device is built especially for netbooks though, and will only work with devices between 7 and 12 inch in size. It’s very easy to set-up, you just have to plug it in via and USB cable. It provides 3xUSB slots that will handle all kind of peripherals and also has an integrated DVD-RW unit and 2.5″ enclosure. That can be used for a 2.5″ HDD (that you’ll have to buy afterward) which will come in handy, especially since netbooks don’t excel in terms of storage space. Also, the upper part of the stand has a 10 inch fan (which can be easily switched On/Off from a button on the side), great for keeping your netbook cool.

Still, unlike the Dynadock, this stand can’t be used to output content on a bigger display (although you can always do that by connecting a display directly to your mini-laptop). But it comes with some nice extra-goodies and if you think you need them, you should check out more details and pictures about this NU Dock Station via this link. Also, you’ll be able to get it from there. It sells for $72.99, a fair price in my eyes.

NU Docking for netbooks, with DVD and HDD units

NU Docking for netbooks, with DVD and HDD units

Conclusions

All in all, docking stations are a great way to improve your experience with a netbook while at home, at your desk. I for one would get one for my 11.6 inch or bigger mini laptop and right now, i would choose the Toshiba Dynadock V for its features and the Logitech adjustable laptop stand to deal with my correct posture at the desk. They would get me to around 100 bucks, but since this combo could live for 2-3 years at least, I believe these are money smart spent, as an investment in my good health and comfort.

Now that’s about it. I hope i helped you guys with this post and you managed to find more about docking stations for netbooks. Of course, your views and opinions are much appreciated, so don’t hesitate to post a comment if you have anything to say.

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  3. Best netbook cases and bags for 10 to 12 inch mini laptops
  4. ION netbooks and mini laptops – best options and technology explained
  5. Best mini laptops for children- how to buy a netbook for kids

Last updated: April 13, 2011 | Tags: , , ,

Andrew is a longtime fan of portable laptops. Working as a tech journalist since 2004, he's had the chance to see these become better and better and now he's the Editor-in-Chief here at allabouteeepc.com. The site is mainly focused on Asus netbooks, tablets and mini laptops, but you can always find more about these devices over at netbooklive.com , where Andrew spends most of its time. More on the About page. See all posts by .

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