Anyone who knows me will know that while I missed the Chromebox boom and craze, I’m addicted to the idea of daily driving my Chromebook as a desktop workstation. It can’t run Unreal Engine 5 just yet, and may not for quite a while, but I can do pretty much everything else on it and I believe in the power of Chromebooks replacing Windows machines for many people just like yourself.
The quest for a reliable Chromebook Docking Station
I’ve found it difficult to come across a reliable Type-C docking station for my laptop that’s specifically made for chromeOS, and there’s a good reason for that. Most accessory manufacturers don’t make and have never made Chromebook-specific tools for us, so most of my attempts to transform my dinky little laptop into a three monitor setup with an external mouse and keyboard, external hard drive, headphones and more were thwarted when I found out you needed Windows drivers to make many of the ports on these docking stations work.
With the introduction of Google’s “Works with Chromebook” program (Thanks, Kevin!), Google has worked hard to ensure a slew of peripherals like mice, keyboards, printers and more are uniquely fitted to your Chromebook. With these, a second wave of compatibility came, and this is where we started to see “WWCB (Works with Chromebook) docking stations break through. Lately, I’ve been test driving the StarTech USB-C Docking Station (DK31C3MNCR) and I have to say – I think we’ve arrived.
A seamless blend of form and function
Initially, I tried to get the Pluggable Type-C dock to work with my device, but I’ve faced a few years of constant frustration because of the reasons I previously stated with drivers and such. Not so with the StarTech. This thing was offers everything I’ve needed to feel at home in my computer chair instead of on the couch. On top of that, my desk isn’t cluttered with wires and those wires aren’t awkwardly positioned.
So long as you have a Type-C USB port on your Chromebook, you can connect it to the StarTech via the front-facing Type-C host connector that has screws. Immediately upon doing this and connecting a few HDMI or DisplayPort cables to the back, your screens will light up and the comfort of your apps, web apps, wallpaper, and personal data will be extended to your multi-monitor setup!
Multi-monitor support for Chromebooks
As I said, most docking stations I’ve considered buying or even those I’ve tried only support one or two displays. but this beast supports three. Well, most graphics cards can’t support four displays, but on the back of the dock, you have two DisplayPort connectors and two HDMI connectors, so if you have lets say two HDMI displays and one that’s DP, you can attack your work as a triple threat (You can connect one display via Type-C if you have it). Oh, I almost forgot to mention that this can display 4K at 30Hz for each monitor, and if you only have one hooked up, it will show off its crispy 60Hz since it need not be split.
More ports than a space station…probably
I know I’m speaking a lot about ports, but that’s because that’s really what a docking station is known for, and the StarTech is jam packed with enough ports to support many of your peripherals. It’s also rocking a Type-C port for charging (in addition to the video port and host connector ports which are the same type) two 3.0 Type-A USB ports and two 2.0 Type-A, an Ethernet port for stable internet, and even a 3.5mm headphone jack.
What I’m saying is that every time I felt I was running out of spots to plug in my stuff, I was wrong, and happily so. Paired with the fact that your Chromebook has Bluetooth for everything that doesn’t fit, like your Pixel Buds, a mouse and such, and you’re likely not going to want for space.
All of this for how much?
Inside of the docking station’s box, you’ll find the dock itself (of course), a 3 foot USB-C cable with a screw lock to connect it directly to your Chromebook, and a power adapter (60W). It will cost you just $188.99 USD, which is far less by comparison to other docking stations with similar ports and profiles. It’s also got a generous 3-year warranty as the cherry on top.
The Startech USB-C Docking Station is more than just an accessory; it’s the gateway to unlocking the full potential of your Chromebook, and I’m not being hyperbolic. Well, I suppose a bit, but as someone who’s obsessed with making my Chromebook the centerpiece of a much larger setup and who is not content with using it exclusively as a laptop, I truly believe this.
Whether you’re a professional, a creative, a gamer, or simply someone who enjoys a multi-monitor setup, this docking station is designed to elevate your Chromebook experience without overwhelming you with complexity. As stated, it’s simple out of the box and just works without the clutter. Just drape those cords behind your desk and you’re good to go. Consider this your green light to pick one up on StarTech’s website, but be sure to let me know in the comments how you like it once it ships to you!