When it comes to your home office, workstation, or dorm room, the less clutter the better. That's why a docking station for your laptop allows you to utilize a plethora of peripherals without creating a rat's nest of cords and cables on and around your desk. With a price tag that's substantially lower than some of the competition, Toshiba's $79.99 Dynadock V sports a sleek, glossy design and several connectivity options.
Design and Features
At 6.1 x 3 x 1.3 inches and 9.9 ounces, the Dynadock V is similar in size to the Kensington Universal Docking Station with Ethernet sd120 (6.6 x 4.2 x 1.1 inches; 9.2 ounces). However, its glossy black exterior and rounded edges give the dock a more premium look. Like the sd120, it too stands upright, and could at first glance be mistaken for a wireless router.
Identical to the sd120, on the front of the Dynadock V you'll find headphone and mic connections, in addition to a Sleep-and-Charge USB 2.0 port (which can power devices even if your notebook is shut down) and an LED power indicator; there's also a Kensington lock slot on the side. The back of the dock has three more USB ports and an Ethernet connection, in addition to the AC adapter and USB-to-laptop connector.
What really sets the Dynadock V apart from Kensington's offering is the inclusion of a DVI video port, which allows you to connect your laptop to an external VGA or DVI monitor (a VGA-to-DVI adapter is included). Toshiba also includes a built-in HD Digital Video card that supports displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1080.
Setup and Performance
Setting up the Dynadock V is relatively simple, but it takes a little patience (thankfully, you only need to do it once per machine). Upon popping in the included CD, which also houses the user manual, it took about 10 minutes to install the Dynadock Utility, as well as network and video drivers. This process also involved restarting the computer twice (we didn't have to restart our machine at all with the Kensington sd120 dock). The Apricorn Aegis Netdock, on the other hand, doesn't require installing any drivers at all.
Once the drivers were properly installed, we plugged the Dynadock V into our HP Pavilion dv5t, which recognized the device immediately. We then attached a wireless mouse, USB flash drive, and external speaker to the dock; each peripheral was quickly recognized by the notebook. The Dynadock V is also hot pluggable, meaning you can connect to the dock and swap out devices without shutting your computer down.
We tested out the DVI video port and VGA adapter by connecting the Dynadock V to a 17-inch (1280 x 1024) external monitor; the dock mirrored our notebook screen flawlessly within a few seconds. If your notebook also has other video-out ports, its possible to utilize three screens at once, which is useful if you're doing a lot of multitasking or comparing documents side by side.
At $79.99, the Toshiba Dynadock V is a pleasantly affordable notebook accessory. For $20 less, Kensington's Universal Docking Station with Ethernet sd120 packs most of the same functionality and an additional USB port (for a total of five), but it lacks any video-out options. Still, if you use multiple monitors at your desk and prefer to minimize clutter, the Dynadock V is a great option.