Whether you have a desktop with too few ports remaining, or, more likely, a laptop streamlined down to the barest possible external connectivity options, a good docking station can make a huge difference in productivity. Unfortunately, there are a lot of choices in available docking stations, with some being little more than fancy USB hubs, some being overpriced, and some being eyesores, with seemingly little care given to design. Fortunately, the Satechi Aluminum Mini Universal Docking Station suffers none of those issues, providing an incredible feature set at a reasonable price point, and looks good while doing it.
In the box you get the the compact aluminum dock itself, external power supply, USB cable to go from the docking station to your computer, instructions, and a CD-ROM with drivers. In regards to the CD-ROM and what to do if you lack an optical drive, you can also of course download the necessary drivers from the Web if your computer doesn’t automatically do so.
The Satechi Aluminum Mini Universal Docking Station offers four (4) USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port (supporting 10/100/1000Mbs networks), a 4K-capable HDMI port (up to 4096 x 2160p Ultra HD resolution), DVI port (up to 2650 x 1600 resolution), and a 3.5mm audio port for speakers or headphones. About the only thing this doesn’t do is power your computer, which may only be a concern if you’re using it exclusively with a laptop.
Naturally, you’ll want to plug the dock into a USB 3.0 port on your computer, although a USB 2.0 port will also work, just with reduced performance across the board. For testing purposes, I connected the dock to my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 through its single USB 3.0 port, and was thrilled with the overall performance, including minimal overhead on my processor. To say the least, there’s impressive power inside this dock.
Satechi’s docking station is a premium product and as such commands something of a premium price. Its single connection with your computer makes it well worth it, however, as your computer’s capabilities are so greatly enhanced for minimal effort. This is a definite recommendation.
Thanks to Satechi for the review unit.