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Toshiba Dynadock U10 review

David Ludlow
18 May 2010
Toshiba Dynadock U10
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
115
inc VAT

It works well, looks great and has tons of features, but it's quite expensive.

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The problem with docking stations is that they typically only work with a limited number of laptops, making them an expensive purchase that could get out of date if you upgrade your portable computer. A USB model, such as Toshiba's Dynadock U10, is an alternative that will work with all laptops.

It's similar to the HP USB 2.0 Docking Station we reviewed recently. The main difference is that the Dynadock U10 has a DisplayLink graphics adaptor capable of driving displays of up to 1,920x1,080 via the DVI or VGA output; HP's dock was capable of a maximum resolution of 1,680x1,050.

Otherwise, there's as similar range of features, and the Dynadock U10 connects to your PC via a single USB cable and provides six USB ports (four rear and two front), allowing you to you leave all of your peripherals, such as a printer, keyboard and mouse, plugged in. There's also headphone, microphone, line-out of optical S/PDIF audio outputs, and a 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet port.

It's fair to say that Toshiba has put more effort into its dock than HP, and the Dynadock looks pretty stylish standing vertically on its stand. This design also means that it takes up very little desk space.

Performance from the Dynadock really depends on the type of computer that you plug it into. With a netbook, the graphics card isn't fast enough to play video, although other applications are fine to use. Using a more powerful laptop or desktop computer improves things immensely and we found that HD video played smoothly. With the HP dock, we noticed the odd stutter, so this is a definite improvement.

Response times from the display connected to the dock aren't quite as good as from a 'real' graphics card. In particular you can just notice that Windows don't move quite as smoothly; it's a close run thing, though, and we ran into no problems using a monitor attached to the Dynadock.

One of the limitations of this product, and others like it, is that you end up running a lot of devices over a single USB connection. In most circumstances this is fine, but we found that copying large files over the network connection eat up a lot of the available bandwidth and full-screen video got a little bit jerky at times. As such, we recommend that you use a display connected to a physical graphics card for graphically intensive tasks while you're heavily using the network connection.

The power of the network adaptor, as with the display driver, really seems to depend on the power of your computer, too. Using our desktop computer, we managed to copy 500MB of files using the DynaDock's Ethernet connection in 1m 05s; using our netbook it took 1m 45s.

The DynaDock U10 is a bit more expensive than HP's dock, but it's much more accomplished. It's more stylish, has more USB ports and the display adaptor supports Full HD resolutions. This makes it a better choice. That said, you have to really need its features in order to want to pay more than £100; for most people a cheaper and easier alternative is a simple USB hub and a bit more cable plugging.

Details

Price£115
Rating****

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