Docking stations were designed to answer the lack of connectivity options users experience with their laptops. Because these devices have only few ports, most laptop users are unable to connect different hardware like scanners, printers, and monitors to their laptops. If you're an HP or Compaq laptop owner, you might want to get an HP dock.

The word "dock" has a lot of connotations. An example is the docking device that does not really have any connectors or inlets, but provides comfort for laptop users by holding the device in a position that keeps the laptop at an eye level. This is exactly what the HP Notebook Stand is for, and using it as a dock for your laptop makes computing so much easier.

There are also devices where laptops do not exactly dock, but they have the ports and connectivity options that a laptop user needs. These are called port replicators which are connected to the laptop and provide the functionality of a desktop simply by plugging them in. The HP USB Media Port Replicator is the perfect example of this device. It is connected to the laptop via USB cable and has all the necessary ports for audiovisual peripherals.

The HP Essential USB Port Replicator is a cylindrical tower of USB ports, with audio in and out inlets, and a LAN connector. It's only great for additional USB connectivity, for instance, if you want to use multiple USB devices at one time. You can also use it to connect your microphone and headset to your laptop.

One excellent dock is the HP USB Media Port, Notebook Stand, Audio Speaker, and Subwoofer Bundle. It has a notebook stand where you can place your laptop at an elevated position and keep it to a comfortable eye level; a USB media port with 4 USB ports, Ethernet, Audio in and out, and VGA port; and an integrated Altec Lansing 2.1 high def audio speaker and subwoofer.

But the real docking stations of HP are the basic and advanced docking stations. These devices are connected to the rear of your laptop and they have all the essential ports that are found in desks. These include multiple USB ports, audio in and out, modem connector, Ethernet connector, PS2, series, and parallel ports, VGA, DVI, S-video, and monitor stand ports. You can connect almost all hardware devices, drives, and removable storage machines on these gadgets.

The basic docking station has all these previously mentioned ports, while the advanced docking station has two additional USB ports, an optical drive or the MultiBay II, and an ExpressCard slot which has multiple memory card readers. What's even more excellent about these devices is that they have a Kensington security lock which needs a key to be operated.

To make your laptop computing more comfortable, I suggest you use a Monitor Stand to keep your laptop at eye level. If you need additional USB ports and sometimes a VGA inlet, I would recommend you get a port replicator. For me, I prefer getting the advanced docking station because it's the ultimate HP dock that gives a complete desktop feel. But I would have to say that you are free to choose whichever model you want, just make sure that it's HP.

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