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Hardware focus: Will 2020 be the year of the dongle?

Published by Phoebe | Blog | 13 February, 2020

Sometimes a new gadget arrives on the scene and immediately takes the world by storm. But this isn’t always the case. A piece of kit can be ignored for years only to be suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Thanks to some fundamental changes in the way computers are made, this could be the year that the dongle finally gets its chance to shine. 

What is a dongle?

A dongle is an adapter that plugs into a computer’s port and allows it to perform an extra function. It usually contains one or more ports of its own, letting the user connect a device such as a set of headphones or a mouse. There didn’t used to be much need for dongles as most laptops and computers came with multiple ports. But this is changing fast with the arrival of the USB-C port.

One port to rule them all

Computer manufacturers are increasingly taking the view that, when it comes to ports, less is more. The new USB-C port can charge computers and laptops directly without a distinct charging cable as well as performing high speed data transfer. Apple has placed a great deal of faith in USB-C (in its computers at least).

It is the only port included on the latest MacBook and, as we all know, where Apple goes, the rest of the industry tends to follow. USB-Cs are currently less common on Windows devices, but this seems to be changing with Samsung, Dell and HP devices all sporting USB-C ports. 

While a single port may be simpler, it raises compatibility issues. Anybody who wants to connect an HDMI cable or an old fashioned USB device will need a dongle. If you need to connect several devices at once, a dock might be your best option. Luckily, the increased demand for such devices has led to a big price drop. For example, a Dell docking station that would have set you back at least £200 a couple of years ago can now be picked up for as little as about £50. 

Finding the right kit for you

We take great care to find out exactly what a client needs when we are procuring computer kit. We will always check if you require any additional gear such as dongles, a mouse, and carry cases so that, when you receive your equipment, you can get to work right away. 

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