Business laptops are sleek, portable, and pack enough power for us to get most of our work done every day. But there are natural limitations in the laptop form factor. Overcoming those limitations is what this article is about.
The single most obvious limitation for all laptops is screen size. For those of us who like working on ultrawide displays or with multiple monitors, the display on a laptop can seem constraining. As we've discussed before, more screen real estate translates directly into more productivity.
Ports are another limitation in some laptops. While laptops like the Dell Latitude 5521 come chock full of ports (two USB 3 Type A, two USB C/Thunderbolt, HDMI, SD card, RJ-45 Ethernet, and audio), others, like the XPS 13, come only with USB C/Thunderbolt ports – and no USB 3.x, video, or Ethernet ports.
Storage is another limitation of laptops. While you can equip the XPS 13 with a terabyte of super-fast SSD storage, that's still somewhat limiting for those producing large videos or doing other data-intensive work.
Even on laptops with enough ports to get everything done, there's a bit of a pain point in disconnecting and reconnecting everything every time you leave your desk to go mobile with your laptop.
Before I started using a dock, I wound up plugging and unplugging six cables (seven if you count power) every time I needed to use my laptop away from my desk. The cables got tangled, and I always found myself fighting with the thick HDMI cable to get it to lay flat on my desk without getting in the way of everything else.
Fortunately, all these limitations can be overcome using a dock.
Dock to the future
A good docking solution can help you overcome many of these inconveniences. It's a lot more convenient to unplug one cable from a laptop than wrangle seven.
It's also much easier to cable-manage and keep your desk organized and clutter-free. With a dock, cables can be tucked out of sight.
And, of course, with a really good dock, you can add capabilities your laptop doesn't include natively.
Dell D6000 Universal Dock
All this brings us to Dell's powerhouse D6000 Universal Dock. Its biggest standout feature is the ability to support three 4K (3840x2160) monitors. With one cable connection to your laptop, you can transform your mobile machine to a four-screen juggernaut. I regularly use three or four screens on my computers, and I find them to be an incredible boon to my productivity.
To use all these screens, the D6000 supports one monitor over HDMI and two more over DisplayPort. Even if you have three HDMI monitors (or TVs), you can still use this dock. You'll just need to pick up a few HDMI to DisplayPort cables.
And if you need super-high resolution, you can replace the 4K monitors with a single 5K monitor at a whopping 5120x2880 pixel resolution.
Just be aware that you also need a laptop robust enough to support that much video; definitely double-check your specs.
Most docks connect to laptops via either USB C (or Thunderbolt) or USB 3 Type A. It can be expensive to replace the dock every time you upgrade laptops, but the D6000 provides a future-proof solution by offering both USB C and USB 3 connections.
Rounding out the features of this dock are a gigabit Ethernet port (much more robust for video editing than Wi-Fi), four USB 3.0 ports, and a headphone audio-combo jack.
A necessary solution in our hybrid work world
Hybrid work is probably here to stay. That means you're likely to find yourself shuttling between working at home and at the office, with the situation changing based on whatever new, unpredictable strain hits at any given time.
A laptop allows you to bring your entire work environment anywhere, but it's the D6000 dock that makes your work environment powerful and productive. If your business budget allows for it, consider cloning all of your peripherals at both locations using two D6000 docks.
While duplicating environments is an expense, consider that consistency and continuity of your work environment may have a substantial net positive effect on your productivity. It also may reduce frustration and help you weather the ups and downs of an unpredictable hybrid work environment.
Whether you clone the environment or not, the D6000 can up your game, giving your laptop desktop-level features while affording you the flexibility to thrive in an unpredictable world.