Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lightning Review: Kensington's Wireless USB Universal Docking Station Is the World's First [Review]


The Gadget: Kensington's new docking station is the first to offer wireless USB connectivity. A DVI external monitor (DVI-to-VGA adapter included) and up to five peripherals spring to life when your WUSB-enabled laptop PC comes within a 15 foot range.

The Price: $219–$230

The Verdict: I'll be dammed—it works. If you are one of the few people out there running a WUSB-enabled notebook, Kensington's new docking station makes it fairly easy to wirelessly connect USB devices so you are not constantly plugging and unplugging them as you move in and out of your workspace.

First off, I was impressed with its size. The whole device was about as big as my hand, so it will not take up much desktop real estate. Getting things up and running was easy enough, although it took a little fiddling to get the settings the way I wanted them. However, once all of that was behind me, my external 20-inch monitor, speakers, keyboard and mouse all synced with a Lenovo T61 laptop fairly quickly when it was brought within range.

Don't expect miracles though—Kensington is very frank about what it's wireless docking station is and isn't capable of. For example: It is not designed to stream hi-res videos. YouTube quality is okay, but even launching WMP causes a bit of a lag. There are also some choppy transition issues with open applications. For example: if I open up a Word document when out of range, the document is minimized awkwardly in the tray on a cloned external monitor when I transition back in range. Still, these shortcomings are not significant enough for ! me to ov erride a recommendation. Just keep in mind that WUSB-enabled laptops are still pretty rare and I'm told that a WUSB adapter will work, but it won't give you the best "go" of the product. [Kensington]