I have been using this Inspiron 8600 with the dedicated docking station for about four years and have been very pleased. I've had no problems whatsoever with the system or the docking station. This laptop is very sturdy and has been dragged through airports all over the United States and even to Hawaii three or four times and has always come through without a scratch. The internal modem is very handy for those times when an ethernet connection is not available and the built-in external ports for VGA, mouse and keyboard are very handy for use away from the docking station. I have a mini mouse and a roll-up keyboard that I carry in the bag when traveling. There is also a real 9-pin d-sub serial port that most laptops do not have. It's not used very often but it's sure nice to have on occasion. The display is bright and crisp and does not reflect back like some of the newer screens. This allows a very viewable screen even outdoors in bright sunlight. The docking station is designed by Dell for this model and connects directly to a pin strip on the bottom of the laptop. This allows all of the ports in the laptop to "carry-through" to the docking station including the serial port. A very solid and well built machine.
San Antonio, TX