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Review: The ThinkPad Workstation Dock
Community SeniorMod

This review brief discussion of the Lenovo Workstation Dock (part number 40A50230US) and a comparison to “normal” dock, used on the “T” and “W” series machines.  For many years, I have used larger portable computers as if they were portable versions of my desktop computer.  When I have had to keep offices in multiple locations, it was always easiest to have multiple docking stations and plug into them as needed.  I have used docks from several generations with at least ten different ThinkPads, starting with the T30.  Currently, I am using a ThinkPad P70, and before that, a W540.  The W540 could be used with 3 different docks: the ThinkPad Basic Dock (model 40A0), the Pro Dock (40A1) and the Ultra Dock (40A2).  The 3 docks differ in the number of output ports, and they are sold with different power supplies, depending on the requirements of whatever machine is being connected.  I used a model 40A1 dock and a 170W power supply with my W540.  The W540 and P70 have identical docking port connectors; the P70 mounted on the 40A1 dock and worked fine with the 170W power supply.  (I don’t have a configuration that needs 230W.)  The Workstation Dock comes with a 230W power supply. 


It seemed that when the P70 was docked in the Pro Dock and I rested my hand on the right side of the palmrest, there wasn’t enough support and there might be some strain on the docking port connection.   The workstation dock is longer and provides more support than the dock I used before.  From the picture, you can see the difference.



The Workstation Dock was a little heavier than the Pro Dock 1016 gm. (35.8 oz.) vs. 904 gm (31.9 oz.).  The weights include the keys, but do not include power supplies.


If the docks are attached to the P70, you can see the difference in the way the computer is supported. 


rich2.jpgFigure 2: P70 on Pro Dock

rich3.jpgFigure 3Smiley Tongue70 on Workstation dock

With the P50, there is still more support on the right side (looking from above) with the workstation dock, but the difference is less striking.

rich4.jpgFigure 4: P50 on Pro Dock

rich5.jpgFigure 5: P50 on Workstation Dock

In order to have a complete picture, this is the way the previous workstation computer (W540) fits on the Pro Dock:

rich6.jpgFigure 6: W540 on Pro Dock

The Workstation Dock has more ports than the Pro Dock, but both have plenty for my use.

rich7.jpgFig 7: A comparison of ports

As the dock connectors are identical and the P50 and P70 workstations will mount on the Pro dock, I expected the other laptops would mount onto the workstation dock, but that was not the case.  The design is such that the docking connectors cannot be connected.  I wondered why, so I took the base cover from a T450 and set it onto the 2 docks.  When the T450 base is set onto the Pro Dock, everything sits flat and the connectors line up.

rich8.jpgFigure 8: T450 on Pro dock

With the workstation dock, the T450 base will not sit flat and the connectors cannot meet.  The dock’s connector is more than one cm. from the opening on the base cover.

rich9.jpgFigure 9:T450 on Workstation Dock

I checked and there are two places on the workstation dock that preclude its being used with models other than the P50 and P70. 


rich10.jpgFigure 10: High points

This incompatibility is not a problem for me, but it might be for someone who wants a dock to work with multiple machines.


There is, however, one issue for me.  I have been using a Lenovo Adjustable Laptop Stand (PN 4XF0H70605).  This stand will not attach to the Workstation Dock.   I will need to find a replacement or simply do without it.


Overall, the Workstation Dock seems well designed and provides the physical support needed for the larger machines.


Want to find out more about the Docking Station? Check out our accessories section or if you have questions, do pop by in our board!

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Thank you for the deep insight.

Community SuperMod
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