on 12 October 2014
For a piece of equipment that is complex inside (I speak as an elec eng/software engineer), this product just worked. No special drivers, nothing to do.
It's attached to a Del XPS15 / Windows 8.1. I connected
- 1 x BENQ external monitor 1920x1080;
- 2 external disk drives (USB)
- VisTablet drawing tablet (USB)
- Bose PC surround sound system (USB)
- old style IBM keyboard via PS2 -> USB converter (Lindy cable)
- USB Logitech trackball
Everything worked, even the drawing tablet (this is actually due to Win 8.1 having proper drivers), without the slightest hiccup.
I almost feel let down. Where's the usual battle with hardware ? ;-)
on 10 November 2014
I recently upgraded my work laptop to a Dell Precision 3800, which unfortunately doesn't have any kind of interface for use with regular Dell port replicator, and as I use a dual monitor desktop setup I needed to find something else. After bit of research on the net and reading the reviews on here for various similar items, I decided to go for this one as I thought it offered a good balance of cost and capability, was well reviewed and looked to have decent backup.
It turned up on time as ever, is well packaged and is a nicely designed and built piece of kit. I downloaded the latest DisplayLink drivers from the Anker support page for my Windows 7 64-bit machine, installed them, then plugged the docking station in. It took a couple of minutes while windows installed all the relevant drivers, then it was good to go.
I set up my extended desktop initially across the two desktop monitors and the laptop screen and it works a treat, all running at 1920x1080 HD resolution. Perfect. I've since just got it set to the two desktop monitors so my laptop can just sit alongside with the lid closed.
As you can see from the specs, it has one HDMI output and one DVI output. Both my external monitors use DVI, so I also bought a cheap HDMI to DVI cable. All works perfectly for me.
Recommended piece of kit.
on 16 November 2013
The docking station does it all. Upon receiving the product I noticed how slim it was for all it can do, being just over an inch gives it room to vent and keep cool, as it never got any more than a luke-warm for me. It is smaller than any docking station that I have seen specifically built for a laptop whereas this can be used for any.
The finish on the product is flawless and if its like the other Anker products I have, it is durable & easy to clean. It is a hard, durable plastic shell that doesn't flex under pressure/weight versus other flimsy products I have seen from other manufacturers. The actual station is very lite as it is not even a pound w/o the base.
The Stand is exceptional, if you need it, it snaps in easily and stays there without wanting to fall/come out & it is a nice coated, heavy steel, with rubber footings so it isn't prone to tipping or sliding around on the desk. Otherwise the station lays flat and discrete on the desktop. The durable case means you can set decorations or other stuff on it without worrying about hurting the station.
The docking station is easy to install, the drivers from the CD take less than a minute to install and the same with the general USB drivers on the hub. The ports all work flawlessly from what I have used it for so far.
The power cable is just over 4 ft long & plenty enough for even the longest of desks. The head of the power adapter some might complain its big, but its smaller than most other adapters, on a wall plug it still allows for both plugs to be used and is only about 1.5 inches tall that protrudes from the wall so it doesn't catch or keep the desk from being slid up close to the wall. On a outlet strip if the other plug next to it is a small/regular sized plug you are putting in next to the adapter it will fit, otherwise it doesn't allow for other plugs side by side with it. The USB cable to connect to the PC is 3 ft long allowing for the docking station to be hidden on the back of the desk if desired.
This will be the last docking station you will ever need to buy! No need to buy laptop specific docking stations that have to be bought with every new laptop as you replace old ones. I had a dell workstation w/ docking and the docking station was big, clunky to use, and couldn't be connected till after the laptop was plugged in. After I got rid of it and got my new one, I have been just plugging in 3-4 cables every time I am at my workstation, but not anymore thanks to this product which saves time, your laptop connections, and space!
I am overly impressed with how functional, useful, time saving, easy this product is to use, & would definitely recommend this product, especially over manufacturer specific adapters.
The USB Ports are all spread out apart enough you can actually use them unlike some laptops that won't allow bigger USB plugs to be plugged in side by side w/o hitting and being pushed out sideways, the Anker Dock allows the 4 X USB 2.0 to all be used simultaneously together.
I did some transfer testing (just reads for ease of understanding and not having to wipe 4 flash drives)
I wasn't hooked up to a monitor, but USB 3.0 can transfer 480 MB/s or 4-5 GB/s. The real factor for speed is the laptop specs, especially HD
I have an i7, 750GB HD 7200RPM, 16 GB RAM, ASUS laptop with 1 USB 3.0 port
The breakdown: I used 2 X ADATA 8GB USB 3.0, Generic (Free) USB 2.0, & a SanDisk 8GB USB 2
ASUS ADATA USB 3.0: 63 MB/s
ASUS ADATA USB 2.0: 32-33 MB/s
ASUS SanDisk USB 2.0: 21.5 MB/s
ASUS Generic USB 2.0: 14 MB/s
Anker USB 3.0, ADATA: 63 MB/s
Anker USB 2.0 Port, SanDisk: 22.3 MB/s --Notice the USB 2 is faster when run to the laptop through USB 3.0 (Cause: all about driver/hardware, its why USB 3 did better in the USB 2 port even on the laptop, it can handle/store the data faster than the 2.0 drive can)
Anker USB 3.0, Using both ADATA's in the 3.0 Slots together: 60 MB/s each. 3 MB/s loss each
Anker Same as above + a Generic USB 2.0 run simultaneously: 60 MB/s each & 7 MB/s
Anker 2 x USB 3.0 & SanDisk USB 2.0: 60 MB/s each & 18 MB/s
Anker Using all: 60 MB/s each & SanDisk 17 MB/s & Generic 4 MB/s (Sandisk down 1 MB/s & Generic down 3 MB/s)
Anker USB 3/2, ADATA & Generic: 63 MB/s & 14.5 MB/s (USB 2 is faster through USB 3)
Conclusion: Running all 6 ports might, might slow it down some, but mainly because you reach the limits of a laptops HD transfer capability. Since the display isn't run off the HD running all 6 ports shouldn't matter (I'll test it later by watching a movie and doing read cycles on Drives).
The real limiter of this dock is going to be your laptop/desktop.
on 15 January 2016
Plus's - This is a wonderful piece of kit. It looks great, feels great and the build quality is excellent. The foot has a nice weight to it and slots into the body at the bottom - a superb piece of design.
Even better, this kit works just as well when you run it from a USB2 port. I have LAN and 2 external displays,mouse and keyboard all connected to the docking station, with the one usb2 cable to my laptop, and I havn't seen anything slow about it at all. It is dead easy to set it up as well. It just works !
We bought one at the office - it was so good we bought another 4, and then I bought one for home - our IT chap saw it and bought one too! None of us have had any problems at all. Ran perfectly on a mixture of laptops,operating systems and USB2 or USB3 ports.Absolutely 5 stars for this, and of course it also means that I only have one usb connection to my laptop now on the desk so I've got rid of the need to plug in lots of pesky cables every time I set my laptop up.. Lots of happy engineers at work now working on 3 screens (laptop,and 2 external monitors)!
Minus's - none. If you wanted to be pedantic you might want 2 HDMI ports on the back rather than one HDMI and one DVI, and you might want an on/off switch on the front of the unit. However, since DVI to HDMI conversion cables only cost £2.99, and all our monitors featured both HDMI and DVI anyway, it wasn't a problem.
on 6 January 2016
I didn't want to post a review until I had a chance to test it out for a few days with my new Surface Pro 4 which I got during the Holidays. It is a terrific device that really complements and empowers the surface pro. My experience started with an excellent well packaged and weighty box. The contents were superbly and professionally laid out and wrapped. The dock unit came with lots of cellophane to protect it, so the dock arrived completely scratch and smudge free. When assembled (the stand is separate and very heavy which eliminates any fears that the device could topple) it is impressive how small it stands for such a powerful little unit.
I had read online before purchasing that it is best to skip the included driver CD and download the latest Windows 10 driver from Display Link (version 7.9 or later.) I then plugged in the unit via the included USB 3 cable into the single USB 3 port of the MS Surface Pro 4. Afterwards, I literally plugged in everything to check it out. The HDMI port mirrored the device fantastic on my HDTV (I later tried it on a PC monitor and both were great experiences) All of the ports were functioning well and the Ethernet port was a God send. Amazed how much power just a little dock has unlocked for me when docked at home; the best part is that it is more powerful yet half of the price of the original MS Dock.
on 22 December 2013
This in a well made slim device that I have attached to a Dell Laptop running Windows 8.1. Before unboxing I connected all the peripherals to the laptop and checked they were working. Disconnected everything and unboxed this docking station.
First niggle - but my mistake - there is not converter from HDMI to VGA. I has seen another docking station with this included and didn't check before ordering this one. Given that PC World quotes £13.00 for one any price difference for this hub soon disappears.
Apart from that it is a nice piece of kit. No manual in the box - but how difficult could it be?
Niggle 2 - The software supplied will not install on Windows 8.1. Not a problem - quick Google and the right software is there to download. Installed and then shutdown.
Connected up the network cable Monitor and then 2 printers. Everything ready to go - powered up and then connected using the supplier USB 3 cable.
The on screen warning do not lie - the screen does flicker on and off a few times but it soon sorts itself out. Everything working with just a small video problem (screen sizes).
This is a great add on if you have a laptop and want to run it with the lid shut. It lets you use a monitor - which IMHO is better for photo editing than a laptop screen. It also reduces the wear and tear on the ports on the laptop if you regularly plug and unplug.
on 11 October 2015
i got this for my dual screen setup specifically for a surface pro 3 and mac book retina pro
there are a few things to remember
as said before im using this for a dual monitor setup, i dont use the mac or surface pro screen, just relying on 2 Benq monitors
for Surface Pro(my setup):
* you need a minidisplay to hdmi or dvi or vga cable
* anker display dock
* display link driver
*hdmi cable(i prefer this)
I connect a mini-display-hdmi cable to 1 monitor
USB cable to display link dock
HDMI from display link dock to 2nd monitor
*note: with mysetup , the display dock drives1 monitor while the surface pro drives the other. Havent really tried using the display dock for both monitors together
downside of this setup is that sound can be played only from one output(like monitor one etc) unless you are using a USB speaker or bluetooth setup etc
For the Macbook pro:
* there is a bug with the display link driver(OS issue) which causes the 2nd monitor to crash quite often due to OSX UI crash, so I bypass the display link to connect the 1st monitor to mini display/thunderbolt on the mac and the 2nd display to the HDMI on the mac
* i have downloaded a software called "Soundflower" which allows me to create a aggregated output device using the 2 HDMI connections on the monitors, hence I get to use sound from the 2 monitors simultaneously
And since this is also a USB dock, you can use it as for normal use as well
on 29 May 2015
I recently got this docking station for my work, which is increasingly from home (I have been a road warrior for a long time, living out of a suitcase with a laptop, an iPad and a mobile). I previously had a docking station for my older Lenovo X220 which needed to be replaced with a new X240 - but infuriatingly the new laptop needs a different docking station! So, doing a bit of research on Amazon, I stumbled across the new breed of docking stations which work off the USB 3/SS ports available on modern laptops, provide connectivity to additional monitors, ethernet LAN (faster than wifi), and additional USB ports - and all at a very attractive price point for a device that can work with any laptop, not just dedicated to a particular brand and model like Lenovo - jackpot indeed!
I checked out a few different brands - like Belkin, Plugable, etc - but settled on this Anker docking station mainly because it had the smallest form factor and looked tidier than the others. I have also used other Anker products, and like their quality and reliability. Also, most of these docking stations seem to be based on the open source DisplayLink software, so form factor and reliability were the deciding factors. It was also a bonus that it was the cheapest!
Delivery was absolutely top class - which is what we have come to expect from Amazon - having ordered in the afternoon, it was with me the following morning. A very straight forward installation - just plug in the various gizmos and go. I also downloaded the latest core software from the DisplayLink website and installed on my laptop, which was immediately recognised by the docking station. BTW, I still have Windows 7 on my laptop.
== Monitors ==
This story turned out great! I already had two monitors - An LG E2251 for use with the laptop, and an Asus PB287Q UHD monitor connected to a tower PC that I use for my hobbies. Both monitors had free ports, and I connected the E2251 to the DVI port and the PB287Q monster to the HDMI port of the docking station.
I now have 3 displays in effect - the laptop + the two monitors. The LG E2251 is running at 1920x1080 and the Asus at a very respectable 2048x1152. The Asus can run at 3840x2160 (which is what I use it at with the directly connected tower PC), but DisplayLink put out a message indicating that it had to drop the resolution with two monitors going. But I have absolutely no complaints, as I had the bonus of 3 monitors at pretty high resolutions.
I now work with my email and calendar showing on the LG, my Word and PowerPoint work on the Asus, and odds and bits running on the laptop monitor - just great! The software gives me full flexibility on how the displays are laid out - horizontal, vertical or a combination. The mouse just smoothly moves across the screens.
== Ethernet Port ==
Another success here. I have a gigabit ethernet powerline adapter running from the Sky fibre broadband router downstairs. just connected the the docking station to the adapter and my laptop just automatically joins up the normal wifi and the ethernet connection into one channel. When I unplug the laptop from the docking station, it just continues with the wifi connectivity - smooth!
== USB ports ==
There are two USB3 ports on the front and 4 USB2 ports on the back of the docking station. I connected a wireless keyboard through one of the USB2 ports (I know some reviewers have complained about a lag in keystrokes, but I have had no such issues - may be the latest software has fixed it).
I connected a Jabra conference speakerphone to another USB port for my work meetings using Lync - it works like a dream. I also used an external CD drive (the laptop is a lightweight configuration - so no optical drive - keeps the weight low). No problems with the CD drive, or flash memory sticks!
== Audio Port ==
Just for a good measure (and for lack of better things to do), I connected one of those dinky little speakers that you use with iPads for good audio. That worked well too.
== In conclusion ==
This is the best £89 that I have spent - it tidied up my desk, eliminated repeated swapping of cables, provided a huge working surface in displays, and gave me a greater freedom and flexibility in how I work through the day. And I can use it it with any PC or laptop with USB.
I fully recommend this miracle of modern technology - a very useful one at that and a good investment.
on 4 April 2015
Ok, let me just say that I buy frequently from amazon and never found a product I have been this compelled to review (my first time on here).
Quick overview: I have been using this for about a month now, came fast and extremely well built. It was pretty much just plug and play (windows 7). No issues yet and incredibly happy with my purchase.
Unboxing and setup
I received by delivery the following day. When I unboxed it, I was pleasantly surprised by the build quality, it just felt so premium. Didn't take much time at all to get everything up and running. I did have to download the driver but it only took a couple mins to install and then after a quick reboot, my two screens lit up.
My setup: I have my printer/scanner plugged in, hdmi and dvi monitor, keyboard, mouse, ethernet, speakers and a microphone plugged in. Even with all of this, everything runs lag free and I have plenty of spare ports to plug in other usb's etc. I am a Computer Science student at the University of Birmingham so I do get a fair amount of use out of it (gaming, editing etc)
After a month of pretty much constant use, I am yet to find a fault with this and I cannot recommend it enough. Would certainly buy this and any other product by this manufacturer!
Keep up the great work!
on 18 June 2014
I contacted Anker, and they have sent a replacement, which works fine. They were very helpful. It was just over a year since the original purpose, but the device has an 18 month warranty. Excellent customer service, but a remaining small question mark over reliability - 4 stars.
11 months after writing this review... Pffft. It suddenly failed, and no longer works at all.
I'm a contractor and have a big expensive computer on loan from a client. The computer is very well specced but in practice has been rather unstable - overheating graphics causing blue-screens and driver restarts several times per day. By feeding everything through a single USB3 cable, I've solved the instability, and turned it into a dockable system. I have 3 screens (including an AOC 21.5 inch E2251FWU USB Powered Monitor) keyboard, mouse, ethernet and speakers, and by moving a single cable, I can change the host system from the client machine to my laptop.
I expected that there would be some downside - slow refreshes, instabilities etc. - but in a month's use, I've not seen any problems. I wouldn't want to use it for gaming, but for day to day programming and Office stuff - even video - I forget it's there. If I look for it in Task Manager, I can see that a bit of CPU usage, but nothing huge.