Docking Station

After a long road trip, nothing says "Welcome home!" like the convenience of plugging your notebook into a docking station in order to consolidate all its connections into one device. The latest crop of universal docks can connect your laptop to a variety of devices and do it with USB 3.0, which offers a 10-fold speed advantage over older docks.

Here are six docks that rely on a single USB cable to make a variety of connections, from the mundane (mouse, keyboard and external hard drive) to the multimedia (external monitors and surround-sound audio). But while they are called universal, these docks only work with Windows laptops and none can charge the computer's battery the way a dedicated dock can.

Still, they make connecting quicker and easier.