Docking stations

Who needs them, who doesn't, and how to support them.

Most people don't need them

Docking stations are an unnecessary expense in most corporate settings. For office-related paperwork, the benefit is negligible and they are prone to issues. Most users simply need an extra laptop charger at their desk and a Thunderbolt USB-C to HDMI adapter with additional USB-A ports, a solution that costs a fraction the price of a Lenovo dock. 
  • Most users use Wi-Fi
    • Docking stations have an Ethernet port, something missing from modern laptops, but they throttle network data transfer speed and MAC address passthrough functions are not common. That port will not be used if they use Wi-Fi.
  • Most users need only 3 displays at most
    • Modern laptops can show three displays. The laptops' onboard display, one additional external monitor by HDMI, and another additional external monitor by Thunderbolt USB-C. Two additional external monitors usually suffice.
  • Most users need additional USB-A ports
    • Adding USB-A ports does not require a device powered by 170 watts with driver updates. Modern displays offer additional USB-A ports, too.
And so, a USB-C dongle and an extra charger will meet the needs in the majority of situations, cost significantly less and relieve IT of troubleshooting dock issues such as display flickering and peripheral disconnections.

Some power users do need them

Docking stations are needed to display 4 monitors and supplement an ethernet port. You could reach 4K resolution and 60Hz refresh rates on your external monitors while balancing some of the graphic load onto the dock.

How to support Lenovo docks

Docking stations are meant to be plug-and-play. After connecting laptop and dock the only thing left should be rearranging displays in display settings. However they are prone to the issues listed in my dock troubleshooting guide and you may need to update dock firmware and verify display configurations. The docks reference guide will give you an overview of each dock model and the direct downloads to their drivers and firmware. There are different limitations to the video output capabilities of docks and it specified in the display and video output configurations.