Best docking stations for Dell XPS laptops

The best docking stations are built to turn any laptop into a desktop replacement. From providing your laptop upwards of ten extra ports to powering all kinds of different peripherals at once, a dock can unlock the true potential of your laptop (and clean up desks riddled with wires).

Some laptops need docking stations more than others, even if they are rightfully the best laptops on the market. If you happen to own a Dell XPS 13, or any other Ultrabook with a limited port variety, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about. To expand that selection of ports, you’re going to want the right docking station.

For those who own a MacBook and are looking for extra ports, check out the best USB-C hubs for MacBook and the best docking stations for MacBook. You’ll find that Dell’s XPS line and other recently announced laptops now come with Thunderbolt 4 connectivity, and if you’re looking to make the most of the new connection, we’ve put together a brief explainer about the latest charging standard below.

There are always new docking stations releasing, including Dell’s very own “world’s first modular Thunderbolt 4 Dock” and a Dual Charge Dock that offers wireless charging and an HDMI 2.1 port. Stay tuned for those reviews. 

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What is Thunderbolt 4? 

Thunderbolt 4 is an upgraded cable connection interface from Intel capable of powering your devices, transferring data, and transferring video to an external monitor all at once — all with just one port.

Thunderbolt 4 is compatible with plenty of connections including DisplayPort, PCle and USB 4.0. Better yet, it is backward compatible with previous versions of Thunderbolt and connects via USB Type-C. 

(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to speed, Thunderbolt 4 ports have a 40Gbps bidirectional bandwidth. You’ll find that Thunderbolt 3 delivers the same speeds, which allows data to be moved to and from external drives at high speeds and up to five Thunderbolt devices to be connected. However, Thunderbolt 4 stands out by increasing Thunderbolt 3’s minimum PCIe data requirements from 16Gbps to 32Gbps. What does this mean? More room for higher transfer rates and better performance.

For example, those looking to connect to external monitors and get dual 4K resolution at a refresh rate of 60Hz, or up to a single 8K-resolution input at a refresh rate of 60 Hz, will want to seek out Thunderbolt 4-compatible laptops.

As an additional perk, Thunderbolt 4 allows a laptop to be brought out of hibernation with peripherals, such as a mouse or keyboard, that are connected through a docking station. It’s hardly a game-changer, but it’s the little things that make using a laptop all the more efficient.

Thunderbolt 4 is relatively new, so there are still those who may not have monitors or peripherals with Thunderbolt 4, Thunderbolt 3, or USB-C connectivity. That said, those with laptops like the Dell XPS 13 9310, or anyone looking at getting upcoming releases such as Dell’s refreshed XPS 15 and XPS 17, Asus ROG Zephyrus M16, or MSI’s new Creator Z16, will find that Thunderbolt 4 connectivity is here to stay.

The good news is Thunderbolt 4 docking stations have arrived, but the better news is you don’t necessarily need one for your Dell XPS laptop, as Thunderbolt 4 ports are compatible with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C devices. It all depends on what ports your setup requires. For more details, check out our Thunderbolt 4 guide.

With this in mind, check out the best docking stations for Dell XPS laptops. 

The best docking stations for Dell XPS laptops

(Image credit: Future)

1. Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock

The best docking station for Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and beyond

Specifications

Ports: 4 x Thunderbolt 4, 3 x USB-A 3.2 Gen2, 1 x USB-A 2.0 Gen1, 1 x UHS-II SD 4.0 Card Reader, 3.5mm mic/audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port

Reasons to buy+

Multiple Thunderbolt 4 ports

+

Single 8K 30Hz or Dual 4K 60Hz

+

90W power delivery
 

Reasons to avoid-

Pricey 

No other video output ports 

The Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 Dock is made for ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 9310. Not only does it vastly expand the number of ports and slots on one of the best laptops on the market, but it gives it the 90W power for charging and additional perks the notebook requires.

No docking station is perfect, but the SD5700T dock does a stellar job of turning a laptop into a desktop powerhouse. Thunderbolt 4 connectivity is here to stay, and the SD5700T makes for a fantastic portable companion that will future-proof your setup for years to come. 

See our full Kensington SD5700T Thunderbolt 4 docking station review 

(Image credit: Future)

2. Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station

The best docking station with versatile connectivity

Specifications

Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen2, 2 x USB-A 3.1 Gen2, 2 x USB-A 2.0 Gen1, 2 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x UHS II SD 4.0 Card Reader, 3.5mm audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port

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Reasons to buy+

12-in-1 hub

+

Thunderbolt 4 ports

+

Single 8K 30Hz and dual 4K 60Hz

+

90W power delivery

+

Distinct design

Reasons to avoid-

Expensive

Limited compatibility

Is the Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station too ahead of the curve? Yes, but it’s also a versatile hub that can improve your current work setup while helping you prepare for the next generation of laptops set to become the norm. Its Thunderbolt 4 ports are convenient and speedy, while the 12-in-1 hub’s other ports allow you to charge and connect plenty of PC accessories and monitors.

Anker’s dock is let down by an expensive $300 price point for a device that can’t be fully utilized without a Thunderbolt 4-supported laptop. However, give this suitcase imposter some time and it’s sure to shine.

See our full Anker Apex Thunderbolt 4 Docking Station review

(Image credit: Future)

3. Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best premium docking station to buy

Specifications

Ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Type-C ports, 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A input, 2 x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1 x Thunderbolt 3 port, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port, 1 x headset jack, 1 x SD card reader

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Reasons to buy+

Premium, durable design

+

Plenty of ports

+

Supports two 4K, 60Hz displays 

The Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock can accommodate a lot of different equipment. Its premium design screams office-ready, but it’ll look just as good manning a gaming station. Plus, it’s got a plethora of ports just waiting to connect to several monitors, a couple of headsets, and a laptop.

However, at $259, the TBT100 has a steep entry price which might give many home office workers and gamers pause. But if you can look past the cost, the Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock is an essential piece of tech.

See our full Corsair TBT100 Thunderbolt 3 Dock review

4. Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock

The best overall docking station you can buy

Specifications

Ports: 4x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-C, 1x HDMI 1.4, 1x HDMI 1.3, 1x DVI/VGA, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm mic/audio jack

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Reasons to buy+

4K output

+

Supports three monitors

+

Charges USB Type-C laptops 

Reasons to avoid-

Vertical-only design

Fewer ports than competitors 

Using the Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock (UD-ULTCD) feels a bit like living in the future. It works with all of the newest standards, including USB Type-C for charging (at 60W) and external displays, along with support for a 4K monitor.

It’s oriented in a vertical position, so you can’t keep the dock under your Dell XPS or other monitors, but its performance and support for three displays simultaneously make the Triple Display Dock a top choice.

See our full Plugable USB-C Triple Display Dock review 

5. Dell D6000 Universal Dock

A fantastic docking station for 4K monitors

Specifications

Ports: 4x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, 2 x DisplayPort, Gigabit Ethernet, 3.5mm mic/audio jack

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Reasons to buy+

Supports both USB-A 3.0 and USB Type-C

+

Powers up to three 4K monitors 

Reasons to avoid-

Cable isn’t removable

Adapter is clumsy 

Look no further than Dell’s very own D6000 universal dock for a Dell XPS, which has a built-in adapter to easily switch between the standards, so you can connect it to just about any laptop (most importantly a Dell XPS laptop). It can go up to 5K on a single screen or handle up to three 4K screens over USB Type-C. Better yet, it has four USB-A ports that are more than enough for USB-A devices such as a mouse, keyboard, or USB stick.

See our full Dell D6000 Universal Dock review 

(Image credit: Future)

6. Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub

A charging station for high-speed data transfers and powerful charging

Specifications

Ports: 7 x USB-A 3.0, 1 x USB-B, Power Input

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Reasons to buy+

7 ports

+

USB-A and USB-C connectivity

+

Data transfer through all ports

+

Stackable charging

Reasons to avoid-

Limited to USB-A ports

Niche usage

Plugable’s 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub (USBC-HUB7BC) acts as a fantastic docking station to free up ports on your laptop and adds even more PC peripherals such as keyboards and mice. It also acts as a standalone charging hub to juice up devices such as your smartphone. It stands out for bringing dual functionality to each of its seven ports, an enviable feature a majority of USB-C hubs and other docking stations don’t completely provide.

For those who require a hub with more than enough USB-A ports to charge multiple accessories at once, all while transferring files between different devices, the Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub is a great choice. 

See our full Plugable 7-in-1 USB Charging Hub review

(Image credit: CalDigit )

7. CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock

The best docking station for port variety

Specifications

Ports: 5 x USB-A 3.1 Gen1, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen1, 1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen2, 2 x Thunderbolt 3, 1 x UHS-II SD Card Reader, 1 x DisplayPort 1.2, 1 x Digital Optical, 3.5mm mic/audio jack, Gigabit Ethernet Port

Reasons to buy+

15 ports

+

Dual 4K support 

+

87W power delivery 

Reasons to avoid-

Expensive

Bulky design 

With a whopping 15 ports, including five USB-A 3.1, two USB-C 3.1, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and virtually every other port you’d need for your Dell XPS, the TS3 Plus Thunderbolt 3 Dock is a beast. While its design is on the bulky side and there is no HDMI output, its plentiful selection of ports more than make up for that. It also delivers 87W power delivery, which will sufficiently power all devices connected to it.  

(Image credit: Future)

8. Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station

Best docking station for multiple displays

Specifications

Ports: 4 x DisplayPort 1.2++ (3840 x 2160), 4 x HDMI 2.0 (3840 x 2160), 4 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x 3.5mm audio/mic jack

Reasons to buy+

Quad-screen connection

+

Strong port selection

+

100W Power Delivery

+

4K support

Reasons to avoid-

Expensive

Chunky, tank-like design

No SD card readers

No Thunderbolt 4

The Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station, also known as the Four Head 4K Dock, doesn’t just offer the standard two or three video outputs to transform your laptop into a multi-screen setup, but eight different ports. With four DisplayPort 1.2 on top of another four HDMI 2.0 outputs, the docking station can support a single 5K and four 4K displays — plus your laptop screen.

Targus’ screen hoarder also comes with a mix of noteworthy USB-A 3.2 and USB-C 3.2 ports to connect all the peripherals any laptop user would need and charge other devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Oh, and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack and Ethernet slot for good measure. What it doesn’t offer is the latest generation of connectivity, Thunderbolt 4, along with a worthwhile price tag. Regardless, if you’re after maximum screen real estate, Targus’s docking station delivers the plots of visual land.  

See our full Targus USB-C Universal Quad 4K Docking Station review

(Image credit: Future)

9. Targus USB-C Dual HDMI 4K Docking Station

A stellar hybrid USB-C hub in disguise

Specifications

Ports: 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 Alt Mode, 2 x HDMI 2.0 output, 1 x SD card reader, 1 x Micro SD card reader, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet

Reasons to buy+

Support for multiple devices

+

Travel-friendly

+

Dual 4K support at 60Hz

+

Dual SD card readers

+

100W power delivery

Reasons to avoid-

Odd port placement

One USB-A for charging

Pricey

It’s unfair to call Targus’ USB-C Dual 4K Docking Station an actual “docking station,” as it doesn’t have nearly enough ports to contend with those formidable accessories. But I can see why Targus has called it one. It boasts 100W Power Delivery and two HDMI 2.0 outputs with 4K capabilities at 60Hz — that’s not something many USB-C hubs can do.

MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 owners are due an awakening for port expansion, but any laptop user will get a kick out of how simple yet handy Targus’ dock can be in most circumstances.

The USB-C Dual 4K Docking Station is a hybrid USB-C hub in disguise. It could have benefitted from an extra USB-A port, (as well as better port management), but it’s still an incredibly handy accessory any laptop and tablet user will get great use out of.

See our full Targus USB-C Dual HDMI 4K Docking Station review

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