How To Create the Perfect Mobile Docking Desk Setup

How To Create the Perfect Mobile Docking Desk Setup

Jason Rodway
Oct 14, 2011

Some of us are always on the move, while others thrive by staying in one place. It used to be desktops offered distinct performance advantages, but nowadays portables offer a bountiful of performance thanks to breakthroughs in shrinking hardware, and now laptops have become increasingly both our travel and home computers. Here's how to optimize your docking station at home so your laptop is just as every bit useful as most desktop machines...

Stand + Mouse + Keyboard
The height of this stand raises your laptop up to the same height of monitors to equalize visual presence, improve ergonomics. Laptop keyboards and trackpads are constantly manhandled so the natural way to work with them is to affix your gaze as far as your arms reach at a downward angle. Another plus is an elevated laptop tends to run cooler and stands often help keep wires and cables off the table.

Henge Dock + Mouse + Keyboard + Monitor
Designed for the Mac user on the go, the Henge Dock is reminiscent of docking an iPod, iPhone or iPad when sitting at the desk. Just place the MacBook Pro in the Henge Dock and all the pre-placed plugs are automatically inserted for the quick transition from laptop to desktop. This works for both home entertainment or productive purposes, turning your MacBook Pro into a plug in, take anywhere computer.

Desktop Chair + Mouse + Keyboard + Monitor
The Desktop Chair is a work of art sculpted from a piece of wood. It effectively turns your laptop or iPad into a sculpture that you prop up at your desk, plug-in to and set aside for other desktop items, converting your portable into something like a Mac Mini. It supports all tablets, MacBooks and goes as far back as the Powerbook G4 (any laptop that isn't thicker than 1.2").

iPad + Keyboard Dock + Speakers
This one is for the writers out there. A modern take on the typewriter with the added bonus of a sound system to create the perfect writing ambiance (complete the effect by adding an extension like Typewriter Keyboard for mechanical effect). To deny the temptation of this simple setup is impossible because of how inviting it looks. Not pictured: A glass of red wine and impending inspiration.

There are occasions when more screen real estate is required in the home office. On top of having the stand and using the laptops own screen as its own monitor, it can be coupled with its own monitor to provide a broader home experience. The spectrum changes with the range of monitors to choose from that have various functions. The Samsung Central Station LED provides the additional hubs that laptops require without an extra add on. It can be as easy as setting the laptop down and off you go. Some like the Asus VW266H have their own built in speakers to save space and wire clutter. The beauty of HDMI means one plug for both audio and video, making everything simpler if you really have to have cables.

Docking Station
Chances are one of the more convincing aspects of the laptop in the first place was cutting down on cables. The problem unfortunately is the desktop set up will inevitably contain this same problem. Where there's a will there's a way. One solution to nip the cable problem is by leading it through to a docking station like the Targus Universal Docking Station. Monitor, webcam, mouse, keyboard and whatever desktop necessity that fits your stationary dream can remain attached to the dock, making set up as easy as one input for the laptop. A bonus about this particular docking station is the compatibility with 7.1 surround sound so hardcore music aficionados have something special to come home to.

Laptop speakers were built for good use but let's face it, a good sound system with the right track can make that desk the perfect sanctuary. When docked, the option is still there to use the provided laptop speakers and a good pair of headphones should there exist irritable neighbours.

Optional: USB Hub
This helpful little number is best used for saving time and adding more inputs when absolutely necessary. A neat little bonus is it doesn't make my MacBook look like it's on life support anymore. If the mouse and keyboard of your choice doesn't support Bluetooth, then it'll most likely have a USB dongle (or isn't wireless and plugs in directly into the computer). Then there are also additional wires such as iPod sync cables, printers, tablets, external hard drives or external disc drives. A USB hub can eat all these up and turn your input into one simple USB plug.

It's all a matter of personal preference but making a space for the laptop to come home to is worth it for an integrated tech experience. It opens up all sorts of doors and avenues to take your existing laptop and turn it into a workhorse power station that would otherwise be difficult to grasp by itself.

(Image: Flickr member mugfaker licensed for use under Creative Commons)

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