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The StarTech USB to VGA 4 in 1 Docking Station is a new take on a laptop docking station. It is a combination of 4 port USB 2.0 hub, USB to VGA converter, 10/100 Ethernet connection, speaker jack, and microphone jack. And it’s all in a very attractive small package. So you ask, what does this mean to me?

This device can be used as a pure docking station. You can attach any USB peripherals you may have to the box. You connect your monitor to the built in VGA adapter that supports up to 1600 x 1200 @ 32 bits. You may connect a wired network and auxiliary speakers, and you’re good to go. All you have to do to use the docking station is plug in one USB cable from the docking station into your laptop.

While attached to the docking station I used the laptop’s monitor in extended window mode. I could move apps between the laptop monitor and the external monitor. The USB to VGA video connection is best used for productivity purposes. The video response is a bit jerky. I am a software developer. Attaching my laptop to my 21 inch LCD monitor makes a huge difference in being able to spread out all of my open windows. I opened a browser on the laptop monitor, while writing code on the external monitor I could write and test without losing my place in the code.

The StarTech USB to VGA docking station can also be used to easily switch a bunch of your USB peripherals and speakers between your workstation to your laptop. I plugged my USB card reader, Mobile PC cradle, and a web cam into the docking station. I also plugged my speakers into it. Everything works fine when switching from one computer to the other. My monitor has both digital and analog inputs, so I can use the big monitor for both computers at the same time simply by switching the monitor’s input between digital and analog.

The StarTech USB to VGA 4 in 1 Docking Station is not a solution for serious gamers who want to play on the bigger monitor. When you use the USB to VGA connection and the speaker output, you are using the docking station’s own devices. Your super sound card and galactic video card are bypassed. The video is perfectly adequate for more static activities such as browsing, email, word processing, and many other tasks. Watching videos works quite well. Music sounds very good through the built in sound card Gamers can still play the game full screen on their laptop’s monitor while using the external monitor for any the other apps they have running They’ll still be ready just in case Paris Hilton happens to IM them in the middle of a heated battle.

What’s Cool: A great way to add a docking station to your laptop You can easily switch USB peripherals between computers.

What’s a bit warmer: You must bypass your own video and sound cards This should only be an issue for gamers.

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Written by Jeff