Laptop Docks and Stands for Dorms
Heading back to school means you’re shopping around for quality gear you can use all year long. However, if you’re living in a cramped dorm, you’re probably interested in some worthwhile hardware for your laptop that specifically won’t take up too much space. Whether you need a dock for connecting peripherals or a stand to keep precious desk space intact, we’ve rounded up a bunch of the best stuff right here.
CalDigit’s TS3 Plus is our top pick for a Thunderbolt 3 dock thanks to 15 total ports, a durable and compact aluminum build, the ability to handle dual 4K displays at 60Hz, and power delivery up to 85W back to your laptop. You’ll be able to connect just about anything, all from a dock that measures in at just 5.15-by-1.57-by-3.87 inches. Just be sure your laptop has Thunderbolt 3 to connect.
$310 at Amazon
This stand is ideal for those who don’t have a monitor but want a separate keyboard and mouse for heavy productivity. You place your laptop on the durable aluminum stand and move a slider to adjust height and angle, resulting in a display that’s propped up at a comfortable viewing angle. You won’t be hunched over a laptop all night, and you won’t have to invest in a bulky monitor that takes up even more space.
$54 at Amazon
If your laptop is capped at USB-C or USB-A connectivity (no Thunderbolt 3), this dock from Dell should do the trick. It offers 65W of charging to your laptop when connected, it has plenty of ports, and it’s compact enough to sit at the back of your desk without taking up too much room. A Kensington lock slot is included so that you can secure it when you leave your dorm.
$171 at Dell
If we’re talking seriously compact, the GTD300 isn’t much larger than a bar of soap. It’s lightweight, too, meaning you can easily carry it with you when you head to a lecture, yet it has support for dual 4K displays at 60Hz and four total ports, including Ethernet. If you don’t need a full-blown desktop dock, this is a great pick as long as your PC has Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
$121 at Amazon
This Plugable option connects with USB-A (which most laptops have) and offers dual FHD display support, plenty of ports, and a vertical stand to save a lot of space on your desk. You won’t be able to charge your laptop with it when plugged in, but you will save a significant chunk of change by opting for this dock.
$89 at Amazon
For those with seriously limited space who’d like to prop up their laptop while using an external keyboard and mouse, there is the Roost stand. It’s a lightweight gadget that scissors out to securely hold your laptop at a comfortable angle, meaning you can use it as a regular external display. When you’re done, just fold it down and tuck it away under your desk or under your bed.
$75 at Amazon
This dock isn’t exactly compact and you will need quite a bit of space on your desk, but I had to include it for its robust security. First, you secure the dock in your dorm, then you secure your laptop to the dock with retractable arms. It only opens when you wave a fob near it, so you can be sure your laptop won’t walk off without you. Included are plenty of ports and up to 85W of charging for your PC.
$330 at Amazon
If you need to keep your dorm desk clear, the VIVO clamp stand attaches to an edge and extends out over your working area. It’s all adjustable so you can get a comfortable angle, and you’ll even be able to use your laptop as an external display with a keyboard and mouse connected. It’s made from steel and aluminum so it will put up with usual dorm wear and tear.
$50 at Amazon
If we’re making some suggestions
All of the above clamps and stands should be able to find a home in a certain dorm — you might want extra security or you might want something ultra-portable you can slip in your pocket — but if we’re making some suggestions, we can’t help but focus on the CalDigit TS3 Plus. As long as your laptop has a Thunderbolt 3 port to connect, you’re going to get a ton of functionality out of this compact dock, which offers 15 total ports, dual 4K display compatibility, 85W of charging, and durable aluminum construction. It is pricey, but it should last through your school years and beyond.
As for a quality stand, the Rain Design iLevel 2 is no doubt the best bet as long as you have some extra space to place it on your desk. It’s built strong from aluminum to put up with a beating, and its height is adjustable with a handy slider meaning you’ll get a comfortable laptop display angle to use with an external mouse and keyboard.
If you’re looking for more great docks, be sure to check out our roundup of Thunderbolt 3 docking stations, as well as our more generalized roundup of docking stations that don’t necessarily need the speedy port to connect.
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