By PURPLELEC | 04 December 2023 | 0 Comments
USB Hubs vs Docks: Which Should I Buy?
What is a hub?
Hubs are mainly used to expand the number of interfaces on a device. Whether USB-A or USB-C, these hubs can be used as splitters to connect more devices through designated connectors. These hubs typically draw power from a laptop and are lightweight, small, and easy to carry.
Whether it’s a laptop or desktop, a hub is the ideal solution for expanding your device’s existing interfaces. They are plug-and-play, ensuring there are always ports available for connecting and/or charging other peripherals.
What is a docking station?
A docking station is used to extend the functionality of a portable device, turning it into a desktop device replacement. The dock connects via Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, or USB-A to provide workstation power to your overall setup.
Most docking stations offer 4 to 8 USB-A ports and 2 to 4 USB-C ports, each of which is independently fast-charging through the docking station itself (not the laptop). Unlike most hubs, docking stations connect to grounded power, so they can power both your laptop (up to 100W, depending on the model) and peripherals.
The video output of the docking station is in a standard format and usually supports one or more monitors. There are many types of video interfaces, including DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI or VGA, with resolutions up to three times that of 4K @ 60Hz. The dock also supports Gigabit Ethernet, various audio connections, an SD card reader, and more.
Hubs vs. Docks: Which Should I Buy?
Hubs and docking stations are both practical. You don’t have to choose one or the other. Everything depends on your needs.
The docking station can transform your laptop into a desktop power source, enabling full connectivity to the office or smart home. This way, you can use any screen in the building as a 4K extended display while still being connected to a reliable network, printer, and more. Here, the docking station is like adding a second engine to your computer.
We all have a lot of USB devices to connect to these days, from smart app-based power banks to external hard drives, SD card readers, smart home hubs, printers (2D and 3D), tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. All devices in between. Today's computers simply don't have enough interfaces to handle all of these devices, and a hub, like a computer's breakout strip, expands the number of devices you can connect.
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