updated 11:55 am EDT, Tue October 10, 2006
Belkin Notebook Dock
Attempting to use a laptop as the heart of a desktop system can be frustrating. Traveling with the computer often involves unplugging cables for displays, input, networking, and sound before you can leave. Docking stations have existing in the past, but eripheral maker Belkin has found a particularly elegant way to solve this problem with its Notebook Expansion Dock. Rather than plug into each individual port of the computer, the dock plugs only into a single ExpressCard slot. The 2Gbps bandwidth provided by the newer card format is enough to handle all the common add-ons for a laptop, according to Belkin. Five USB ports, analog and optical audio, Ethernet, and even a 1600x1200 DVI or VGA display can all be run at the same time without devices affecting each other's performance. The Notebook Expansion Dock is shipping in late November for $199 and currently requires Windows Vista or XP; a Mac equivalent has yet to be announced.