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Toshiba dynadock V - USB Docking Station with Video Review

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Toshiba dynadock V

Toshiba dynadock V USB docking station with video

Photo © Toshiba

The Bottom Line

Connecting your laptop to a second monitor can tremendously increase your productivity and ability to multi-task. The Toshiba dynadock V can help you tap into that productivity with greater ease and simplicity by allowing you to connect an external HD monitor and all your other peripherals with one USB cable. It makes getting up and going with your laptop -- and reconnecting when you get back -- very convenient.

Despite a few initial glitches, I recommend the dynadock V -- sleeker and less expensive than previous dynadock models -- for Windows users looking to expand their desktop onto a second (or third) monitor.

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Pros

  • HD video support
  • Very small footprint
  • Sleep-and-Charge port charges a device even when the PC is not connected
  • Can expand number of USB ports with a hub
  • Relatively inexpensive (compared to other options available)

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Doesn't supply power, so you'll also need to connect your power adapter
  • Software notification pops up every time you reconnect to let you know it's on
  • Could use additional USB ports (dynadock U has 6 USB ports)
  • External display froze twice; easy to correct but hopefully not a recurring issue

Description

  • Front Ports/Indicators: Power LED, USB Activity LED, USB 2.0 port, Line In & Line Out
  • Back Ports/Indicators: 10/100 LAN, three USB 2.0 ports, DVI-I, USB In, and DC In
  • Side Panel: Cable lock slot
  • Dimensions & Weight: 3” D x 1.31” W x 6.13” H; 9.9 oz
  • One-year limited standard warranty
  • In the box: dynadock V, Base Plate, USB 2.0 Cable, AC Adapter, DVI-I to VGA adapter, CD, Quick Start Guide, warranty booklet
  • MRSP $119.99

Guide Review - Toshiba dynadock V - USB Docking Station with Video Review

Overview

Like most people who use computers regularly, I have a lot of peripherals, including a wireless mouse, a couple of external hard drives, printer, speakers, a portable scanner, and more. While most of these devices can be easily connected via an inexpensive USB hub, adding a second monitor to the mix makes the need for a docking station apparent. Plugging and unplugging a VGA cable was enough of an inconvenience for me to warrant buying a video-capable docking station.

The Toshiba dynadock V is both more compact (about half the size) and less expensive (about $30 less) than its predecessor, the best-selling dynadock U. Although it takes up almost no space on my desk, the dynadock V offers 4 USB ports (including one Sleep-and-Charge port), an Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio in and out, and a built-in HD card for connecting an external monitor.

Set Up

It took about 20 minutes to install the dynadock (your setup will likely be shorter if you don't have as many wires to untangle, and sudden impulse to rearrange your desk while you're at it). Although USB works out of the box, getting the video card to work correctly requires installing the dynadock Video Manager software, a fairly straightforward operation. The program includes utilities for placing and rotating the external monitor screen, as well as other common monitor settings adjustments.

Performance

USB port replication works well and as expected. In exchange for the smaller footprint, the dynadock V has two fewer USB ports than the dynadock U, however. If four ports aren't enough for you, you can connect a USB hub to expand the number available; I was able to use my wireless mouse off of a USB hub connected to the dynadock.

The main draw of the dynadock V, though, is its external HD video support. The dynadock V supports a monitor with up to 1920 x 1080 resolution via DVI or VGA (with the included DVI-to-VGA adapter); using DisplayLink technology, the video signal is carried over the dynadock's single USB connection.

The display on my external HD monitor was at least as clear and vivid as when it was connected directly to my laptop, and even HD video played smoothly.

There were a few issues with the dynadock V, however. The external display froze twice in the first week of use; I had to reset the dynadock's power to get it to work again. There was no obvious cause for the glitches (I was doing some light word processing both times), but the issues haven't recurred (so far).

Other minor quibbles: The dynadock only works on Windows and it doesn't provide power for your laptop, so you will have two cables to plug in: your power adapter and the dynadock's USB. This is still a great improvement, though, over having to plug in your power adapter, monitor, speakers, and USB cable(s).

All in all, I'm happy with the dynadock V purchase. Connected speakers play loud and crisp, there's no noticeable USB lag, and video performance is on the whole excellent.

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