The Lanq PCDock is a competent monitor stand with RGB lights, a fingerprint reader, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and some USB ports. But I can't quite figure out ... why?
- All-in-one desktop hub
- Brand: Lanq
- Connection: USB-A
- Ports: 2 x USB3.1, 2 x USB-C, Fingerprint reader, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0
- As a monitor stand, it's solidly built
- Qi charging pad is convenient
- Drivers requires for the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and fingerprint reader
- RGB lighting doesn't integrate with anything
The Lanq PCDock claims to be the new standard of monitor stand. With a built-in USB hub, fingerprint sensor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip, Qi charger, and RGB lights—everything except a kitchen sink, in fact—is it everything you could want from a monitor stand? Probably not.
The Lanq PCDock is currently seeking backers on IndieGogo, with about a week left on the campaign. Back it now to save around 40-50% off the eventual RRP. Or don't.
The usual disclaimer applies here: crowdfunding is not a pre-order system, and there's no legal responsibility for the company to deliver anything to backers. Lanq—or Langqun Yunchang (Shenzhen) Electronics Co—appears to be a new company, with no previous products or crowdfunding history.
PCDock As a Monitor Stand
Two sizes of Lanq PCDock monitor stand are available—the Pro and Max—and they only differ by width. The largest Max size (as tested) measures 43.5W x 8.62D x 3.27H inches (1105W x 219H x 83D mm), while the smaller Pro measures 24.8 inches (631mm) wide.
One benefit of a monitor stand is that it frees up desktop space, allowing you to store a keyboard, mouse, and other bits underneath it when they're not in use. Both sizes of the Lanq PCDock offer 2.24 inches (57mm) of clearance underneath. That's just about enough for a mouse, but just shy of what's needed for an Xbox controller. It's deceptively small, in fact.
The PCDock Max size is designed to accommodate dual monitors, side-by-side, though I "only" have a 55-inch TV to test with on my gaming desk. It handled that fine, thankfully not collapsing at any point during testing. With ABS plastic legs on the side, the main frame is made of an unspecified metal (probably steel), and certainly feels sturdy.
If I did have two, or three monitors, I suspect I'd rather attach them to adjustable VESA mounting arms, so as to give me more control over the angle and tilt.
Lanq claims the PCDock stand will raise the monitor to the correct viewing height, thereby easing neck strain. I can't help but think monitor manufacturers have already considered this rather fundamental design aspect into their products, so this statement may be a little presumptuous. My work monitor actually includes a height-adjustable stand, as do many designed for use in an office.
RGB lighting is not to everyone's taste, but it's a key feature of the Lanq PCDock. Offering either 60 or 120 LEDs depending on the size of the dock, these are pixel LEDs rather than a single color strip. A remote control is included, and a variety of attractive, if somewhat distracting, animations are pre-programmed.
You can also choose static colors, or you can change the speed of the animations to be less annoying. It really does look quite impressive, if you're into that sort of thing, which I am. I want all the RGBs.
Unfortunately, there's no integration here between the lights and desktop controller software. Your only method to choose how the lights behave is through that small remote control, so don't lose it.
Keen gamers who already have a lot of RGB kit will likely have already bought into a specific system, such as Razer Chroma, Corsair iCue, or even Philips Hue. This is therefore not going to appeal to them.
As a Hub
The Lanq PCDock is also a generic hub, offering two USB-A 3.0 ports, and two USB-C 3.2 ports, which have fast charging capability. However, these aren't Thunderbolt, so don't expect to be running a monitor off of them.
The exterior right-hand side of the dock feels like a sub-optimal placement. I'd much rather hide my keyboard and mouse cable underneath the monitor stand, and keep the cables off the desk. Useful as quick access for plugging in a USB stick perhaps; but my Razer keyboard also does that.
Ultimately, you wouldn't be purchasing the Lanq PCDock for the USB hub alone, so I'm not going to dwell on it; it's an ancillary feature that's useful to have.
10W Qi Charger
Also on the right-hand side you'll find a smartphone-sized rubber pad embedded into the top surface; this indicates the location of the 10W Qi charger.
This functioned much as expected, reliable triggering a wireless charge when my phone was placed onto it. But I can't say I found it all that useful. Modern smartphones tend to last me the entire day if I'm sat at my desk. It's only when heading out and about, using GPS, or taking videos that the battery doesn't last a whole day. In which case, I'm not at my desk.
Fingerprint Reader, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi
I've grouped these features together because they all require a separate driver download. The drivers come as a RAR file, and extract to reveal a bunch of DLLs, as well as a INF file, which you should locate and right-click on, then select "Install" in order to add them to your system. In 2021, I expect much better. A single driver package with an install executable should be an absolute minimum. But moreover, the fact you even need to install drivers for such generic features is almost unheard of nowadays.
It seems even more curious when you consider that in order to activate the Wi-Fi functionality, you either need to already have Wi-Fi, or an Ethernet cable plugged in. Are you going to unplug your faster, Gigabit Ethernet, to replace it with a less reliable and potentially laggy Wi-Fi connection? I doubt it. The only reason to use this Wi-Fi adaptor is if your existing one is a decade old, and only capable of 2.4Ghz. The Lanq dual-band Wi-Fi apparently goes up to 5.8Ghz.
The Bluetooth chip (BlueSoleil), worked briefly after a lot of fiddling and allowed me to connect to an Xbox controller. Until Windows decided something was wrong and disabled the driver. Fixing it required a restart and USB dance each time, which seemed like far more effort than it was worth.
I was unable to test the fingerprint reader, but in fairness, I don't think this is Lanq's fault. I disabled Windows login years ago, and now it won't let me re-enable it again. As a gaming-only Windows user, I don't need to secure my desktop in any way. Supposedly it can be used for Windows Hello, but there doesn't seem to be any deeper integration such as web payments, as I'm accustomed to on my Macbook Pro. That said, this might be the one killer feature for you, and if it is, you can probably justify the rest of the package too.
Should You Buy the Lanq PCDock?
The sales page seems to be aiming the Lanq PCDock at professionals and office workers, but the inclusion of RGB lighting would suggest gamers. Yet, the RGB lighting isn't integrated into any existing RGB system, which means gamers won't be interested in it unless this is their first foray into this kind of lighting system.
If the lighting was exposed to the connected PC system through the third-party "works with Razer Chroma" plugin or similar, it'd be a whole lot more useful. As it is, the reliance on a single point of failure (a tiny remote control) makes this aspect of the dock difficult to recommend.
Then there's the fact that the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and fingerprint reader require separate driver downloads. I can't remember the last time I had to install drivers for such basic features. My experience with Bluetooth dongles thus far on Windows 10 has been "plug and play". And even if the Lanq Bluetooth had worked reliably for me, which it didn't, a plug-and-play dongle from Pluggable is less than $10, and only a fraction bigger than the USB port it plugs into.
The whole thing feels like it was thrown together as part of a "design your ultimate monitor stand" competition. It's a mish-mash of nice-to-have features (if they worked), but none of them are individually compelling, and the whole is, well, less than the sum of its parts.
The Lanq PCDock is a sturdy monitor stand with some cool lighting and a USB hub, but at $200, the value for money simply isn't there.
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