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A laptop user expects a full-sized display and keyboard, as well as an external hard drive and speakers, at their desk. Which accessory can they buy to avoid plugging each of these devices into their laptop separately every time they return to their desk?

A Docking station.

A docking station frequently replicates the functions of a laptop's ports on the back so that peripherals such as displays, keyboards, printers, and so on that do not travel with the laptop can remain connected to the dock and do not all have to be physically unplugged each time the laptop is removed. Docking stations effectively turn a laptop into a desktop computer, and the docking station may include its own devices, such as an optical drive and speakers. It could have a generic connector, such as USB-C, or it could have a proprietary connector. A docking station can also refer to a vertically plugged-in charging cradle for a smartphone or tablet that includes additional functions such as built-in speakers for music playback or a clock. Android Radio and Music Dock are two examples, as is Apple's Universal Dock. This differs from a port replicator, which allows the user to connect multiple devices at once and does not require the laptop to be connected to provide connectivity between the devices. A KVM switch allows you to share a single keyboard, video device, and mouse (hence the name, KVM) between two or more system units. The term "desktop station" does not exist.

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