Situation: you have a laptop/netbook and are forever plugging external devices in and out. Perhaps a hard drive, extra monitor, internet cable and so on. Solution: a USB docking station or port replicator. Better solution: a Targus ACP51AUZ USB 2.0 Docking Station with Video.
Result: Situation under control. Seems simple enough but how does it work in reality?
Let’s have a look at this latest product from Targus who have been in this business of providing that extra functionality and ease of use for your workstation a long, long time. So they know what works best. First the features of this docking station:
The Targus USB 2.0 Docking Station with Video is a USB based docking station with video output capability.
The "One Touch" interface enables users to quickly connect to an external monitor, keyboard, mouse, printer, speakers or other peripherals often used at home or in the office.
If you want to put your notebook on top, the docking station provides an ergonomic tilt for a comfortable typing angle and also keeps the laptop elevated, providing ventilation while in use. The device features two high-power USB ports which allow users to power or charge peripherals such as a Blackberry, iPhone®/iPod® or digital cameras.
Plus another two USB ports for keyboard , mouse or printer attachments as well as a speakers and microphone jack.
The monitor port is DVI, not HDMI or VGA. DVI will suit most monitors I would imagine but a HDMI option would have been great as well. This Targus unit supports monitor resolutions up to 2048 x 1152. A network port complements the array of ports on the back and sides of the device.
Important here is that you install the drivers before attaching anything to your computer. I found this process a bit tedious and it took about 10 minutes or so before I could hook up the device. However, most of this setup time is due to the installation of DisplayLink software.
As you know, DisplayLink lets you quickly and easily connect multiple monitors to your computer with a simple USB connection. Studies conducted on multimonitor computing have reported productivity gains of up to 42 percent. Compared to single-monitor users, dual-monitor users performed more work in less time with fewer errors.Just to be able to have many windows or applications open at the same time saves a lot of hassle. In my case one monitor is dedicated to email and MSN messenger/Skype. The other is for web browsing. A third for projects I’m working on.
The only problem is lack of eyeballs... only have two of them with a one track mind...
Everything works as advertised with this Targus unit and the beauty of the whole system is that you only need to connect it with one USB cable.
Most folks who use their laptop as their main workstation will find some sort of port replication absolutely necessary. One click and a whole gamut of devices is connected.
The DisplayLink connectivity works a treat. We can highly recommend the Targus ACP51AUZ – even at the relatively steep price of $299 (Australian RRP). But, here’s the good news: lots of places sell this device and you can get it for well under 200 bucks Aussie.
Recommended with a solid 8 out of 10 rating.
Product Features and Specifications:
Functionality: USB 2.0 single connection to numerous peripherals including a monitor (DVI), network, audio and up to four USB devices
Features: Two USB ports enable you to keep charging USB devices such as a Blackberry, iPhone®/iPod® or camera.
Compatibility: Supports monitor resolutions up to 2048 x 1152; Windows XP, Windows Vista 32-Bit/64Bit and Windows 7 32-Bit/64-Bit compatible; AC adapter required
Ergonomics & Cooling: Raised laptop platform provides typing comfort and improves airflow for cooling
Exterior Dimensions 27 x 8 x 3 cm
Model Number ACP51AUZ
Supports monitor resolutions up to 2048 x 1152, including 1680 x 1200.
Warranty Limited One Year
Colour Black Weight 279 g (excluding adaptor)
Compatibility Windows 7 - 32 bit and 64 bit, Windows XP - 32 bit and 64 bit, USB port
Features, specifications and price are subject to change without notification.
Bonus Mini Review: Targus Chromatic Laptop Messenger Bag
While we’re on target with Targus let’s have a quick look at the 16 inch notebook bag they sent me earlier. It’s a chromatic. one, they say. What’s that, you ask? Sounds like a chameleon changing colours but all it is it has a light green colour on the inside... They say it makes it easier to see what’s in the polyester bag. I say: why not go all the way and make it white! It looks cool though and it might make it a little bit easier to see what you’re grabbing but my advice: don’t put anything in your bag that might bite back...
There’s plenty of protection for your notebook and plenty of room for other bits in segmented compartments and flaps. Good point: big rubberised zipper handles! Handy too: big locking clasp for the flap. Not so handy: only one handle which causes the bag with notebook to not hang straight down but at an angle! What were they thinking?! Funny thing: lots of other brands have the same design. Oh well, if it really bothers you there’s a strap you can use as well.
On the whole my verdict is that it’s the best bag I’ve ever had but I don’t particularly care for that handle that makes the bag angle uncomfortably.
We give it a 7 out of 10. Shop around for the best price as we’ve seen a variation between AUD45 and AUD80 with this bag.
Exterior dimensions: 42.2 x 11.1 x 34.3 cm
Interior dimensions: 38.7 x 4.2 x 26.7 cm