As great of laptops as the ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 Gen 2 are, they can only do so much without any dedicated video ports
The second generation of the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 brings updated specs to these stunning laptop designs, making them some of the more enticing ThinkPads if you’re not a fan of the company’s classic laptops. But like with most modern notebooks, the port selection on both of these models is lacking. The Z13 Gen 2 has just two USB 4 ports, and the Z16 Gen 2 has two USB 4 ports plus one USB 3.2 Gen 2 port. This means that a docking station is required to connect an external display or a large suite of USB accessories. Here are the best ThinkPad Z13 and Z16 Gen 2 docking stations for using these laptops to their full potential.
Anker 568 USB-C Docking Station
The Anker 568 USB-C Docking Station offers everything the average user may require of a laptop dock. It adds 11 ports in total to your workstation and connects via a 100W max USB4 upstream port that ensures you can get the max charge speed and data transfer rate of even the best laptops. The dock has one HDMI port and two DisplayPorts to support 4K@30Hz across three displays, 4K@60Hz across two displays, or 8K@30Hz on one display.
Plugable TBT4-UDZ Quad Display Dock
The Plugable TBT4-UDZ has most of the same features as our top picks, but its standout feature is its ability to support four displays running 4K@60Hz simultaneously. Between the quad display setup, the 100W max USB4 upstream port, and the upgraded 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, this is the go-to docking station for power users.
B3 USB-C Docking Station
$19 $23 Save
If you have relatively simple needs for your docking station, you could save some serious cash by opting for a value pick like the B3 USB-C Docking Station. Though it is the size of a simple USB hub, this device does offer USB-C power delivery up to 55W (which is enough to match the Z13 Gen 2’s stock power cable but not the Z16 Gen 2’s). It only supports one additional monitor (HDMI) and two USB ports, but that is plenty for some.
Mokin USB-C Docking Station
Best for 120Hz displays
$53 $70 Save
If you need a docking station that supports a high-framerate gaming display, the Mokin is a solid option. It supports a single monitor at 4K@120Hz (or 5K@60Hz, or 8K@30Hz) via DP1.4 or HDMI. It also supports up to three monitors at once, albeit at a lower refresh rate. It doesn’t support the full 40Gbps data rate of the Z13/Z16’s USB4 port, but it does offer sufficient power delivery to charge either laptop.
Plugable UD-CUBE UBS-C Docking Station
$50 $60 Save
If you need a travel-friendly docking station for your Lenovo ThinkPad Z13/Z16 Gen 2, consider the Plugable UD-CUBE. At only 2.5 x 2.3 x 1.4 inches, this docking station tucks easily into a travel bag for on-the-go productivity. It offers one HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, and one gigabit ethernet port. It does not support host charging, but this is a fair tradeoff for both portability and affordability.
Lenovo ThinkPad Universal USB-C Dock v2
The ThinkPad Universal USB-C Dock v2 is a great docking station that is as feature-packed as the ThinkPad laptops themselves. Not only does it offer essential features like multi-display support and host charging but it also includes a suite of advanced features like PXE boot and silent firmware updates that are a dream come true for an IT manager. The best part is that most of the features are plug-and-play with all of the best ThinkPads, including the Z13/Z16 Gen 2.
Iviin USB-C Docking Station
$200 $240 Save
If you value the flexibility of being able to switch between many different monitor configurations, then consider the Iviin dock. This USB-C docking station adds a whopping 19 new ports to your setup when connected to your Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 or Z16 Gen 2. This includes three HDMI ports and three DisplayPorts, which can be mixed and matched to achieve a quad-display setup without having to resort to adapters. It also connects via a 100W max USB4 upstream port for optimal performance.
The Dell WD19S is a powerful docking station that offers a wide selection of ports and a USB 3.2 Gen 2 upstream with host charging support. On top of this, the Dell WD19S is part of a modular system that allows you to swap out modules with different port configurations when you upgrade your monitor setup. In practice, buying a new module isn’t all that different from just buying a new docking station, but there are still practical applications for this dock.
The best Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 & Z16 Gen 2 docking stations: the bottom line
Ultimately, the details of your personal setup are the most crucial factor in choosing the right docking station. Because of that, there is not a one-size-fits-all solution, even if you narrow things down to the best options for the Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 & Z16 Gen 2. For example, our top pick, the Anker 568 docking station, may be the perfect choice for someone with two DisplayPort monitors and one HDMI monitor. However, someone with a different three-monitor setup would need to either use adapters or go with a different option. Someone with four external monitors would need to instead consider our premium pick, the Plugable TBT4-UDZ.
At the same time, someone who only wants to connect a single external monitor would be overspending on either of these choices. Instead, they would probably prefer our budget pick, the B3 USB-C docking station. And there are plenty of other deal-breaker situations lurking in every spec sheet. So keep your personal needs in mind when shopping for docking stations, and your ideal candidate will be far more apparent.