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This discreet dock transforms my laptop into a fully featured desktop PC

The Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station is up there with the best of the best.
Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station on wooden surface

Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Laptops have changed a lot over the past decade. Once seen as a lowly replacement for a desktop PC when you were away from your desk, the laptop is now powerful enough to act as your main system.

Except for the fact that you're usually very limited as to the ports you have available.

But fear not, a huge market in docks has sprung up to accommodate this new demand.

Big docks. Small docks. Tiny dongles.

But the easiest kind of dock to use when you're out and about is one that fits under your laptop, acting like a little stand underneath the back of it (very handy if you have a laptop that gets a bit hot in use, as it dramatically improves airflow).

Also: I survived using my iPad Pro as my main desktop PC for a day (mostly)

For the past few weeks, I've been using the Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station on my trips out, and it's been a real productivity booster. 

Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station specs

  • Aluminum construction
  • USB-C connectivity
  • 1 x USB-C (power supporting up to 100W), 1 x HDMI, 1 Mini DisplayPort, 1 x VGA female, 3 x USB 3.0 A, 1 x RJ45, 1 x audio output, 1 x security lock slot
  • 1 x SD card reader slot supporting SD/SDHC/SDXC/MMC
  • Micro SD/TF card reader slot
  • RJ45 connector supporting 10/100/1000 Mbps
  • HDMI Resolution up to max 4K/2K @ 30Hz (1920 x 1080P @ 60Hz)
  • DisplayPort resolution up to 4K/2K @ 30Hz (1920 x 1080P @ 60Hz)
  • VGA resolution up to 1920 x 1080P @ 60Hz
  • Supports simultaneous output at DisplayPort+HDMI and DisplayPort+VGA
  • Automatic recognition of monitor type, resolution, and features
  • Supports audio sample rate at 192KHz/24bit
  • 329g
  • 27.5 x 7.3 x 2.1 cm

My biggest worry about using this docking station was that I have the jumbo 16-inch MacBook Pro, and the dock itself is quite a bit smaller. However, this turned out to be a non-issue as the laptop sits atop the dock and is very stable.

Closeup of ports

All the ports I could need.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The dock also tilts the keyboard toward me, making longer typing sessions a lot less strain on my wrists. This type of dock, as I mentioned above, would also help to cool off the laptop if it were running hot by allowing better airflow (this is not a problem with the M1 MacBook Pro).

As for ports, there's everything I could need, with three USB-A ports, HDMI, VGA, Ethernet, and even a mini DisplayPort (there's an adapter if you want to use a full-size DisplayPort).

Adapter next to laptop ports

Adapter to convert the mini DisplayPort to a full-sized DisplayPort.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Oh, and for the creatives out there, there are even separate SD and microSD card slots to allow you to ingest photos and video for editing.

A really nice touch.

I really like the Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station, in part because it lives up to its specs.

It does everything it claims to do, and in a world where there are a lot of bold claims being made about products that fall short, this is refreshing.

Review: Ugreen USB-C Multifunction docking station

My biggest gripe about this dock -- and it's a small one -- is that I'd have preferred this USB-C connector to be smaller or a right-angled design, so it didn't stick out so much.

USB-C connector plugged into port

I wish this USB-C connector didn't stick out as much.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

And this brings me to a caveat -- there seem to be a lot of docks out there that look like the Sandberg docking station selling for a lot less. I've come across these before and found the quality to be quite inferior. 

Also: This is the best way to add more ports to your MacBook or iPad Pro

My testing of these other docks has shown their 100W charging capability to be intermittent or even non-existent, and the support for multiple displays to be sketchy.

Buyers, beware!

This particular dock is not cheap, and you can no doubt find cheaper ones. But in terms of its quality and performance, this is up there with the best of the best. 

It works as described (something that you just can't take for granted anymore), it's robust and doesn't look out of place holding up high-end laptops, and it's got every port that you could need, whether you want to connect to a wired network, hook up two displays to your laptop, or use a blizzard of USB devices.

The Sandberg USB-C All-in-1 docking station has you covered. 

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