How do docking stations work?

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary.  Now with pictures!

I'm looking around for ultraportable laptops and docking stations.
Unfortunately, info on docking stations is very scarce on manufacturers'
websites (e.g. Acer and Asus).

What I mostly wonder is:

1. does the laptop charge its battery through the dock? I mean, can you
get back to your office desk and connect the laptop to the dock, without
connecting any cable to the laptop, not even power?

2. When you connect the laptop to the dock, does it automatically switch
control to all dock connections, including video? I mean, do you e.g.
automatically get your video on the external monitor (connected through
the dock), and does the dock ethernet connection automatically start
working, without the need to activate anything via software?

Ideally, I should find a nice docking station for an Asus U5F which -
sigh - does not have an official dock from Asus (although I'm pretty
sure they listed one on their web site months ago, but now it appears as
not compatible, and now I'm framed).
I've noticed the new ExpressCard dock from Belkin, but I wonder if it
works flawlessly as I'd expect a dedicated unit to do (see question 2

Thanks for any info.


Site Timeline