REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station

Ed Steele October 9, 2004 1



REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
For more than 20 years, Kensington Technology Group has been creating innovative products that make the connection between you and your computer more enjoyable and productive. Their new Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station is evidence of Kensington’s innovation – why spend more on a manufacturer specific docking station for your laptop when you can buy a universal dock with USB for under $80?


REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
(All picures in this review can be clicked on for larger resolution photos)

Laptop Desktop USB Specs

  • Space-saving, money-saving solution eliminates the need for extra monitors.
  • Built-in 4-port USB 2.0 hub provides one-time connection for computer accessories.
  • Adjustable screen height, tilt and swivel for optimal viewing and ergonomic comfort.
  • Curved back and padded insert ensure constant ventilation and secure fit, while enclosure offers protection from spills.
  • Built-in copyholder positions documents in line with the screen for easier viewing.
  • VESA mounting plate can attach to monitor arms, wall mounts and cubicle hangers.
  • For all laptops 16 inches and smaller.
  • 1-year warranty and free technical support.

Dimensions

  • 15.0″L X 4.5″H X 12.25″W
  • Lowest position 14.6″L X 5.0″H X 11.6″W
  • Highest position 11.6″L X 9.5″H X 11.6″W

What’s in the Box?

REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
The Laptop Desktop, the AC adaptor, and the instructions.

What’s Good About It?

REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
The blue cushion that cradles the bottom of your laptop is soft and two blue “buttons” on the top sleeve help prevent any scratches or damage to your laptop as well.
We were able to slide our laptop (a Compaq Evo N800w) in and out of the Laptop Desktop with ease. The large round button on the side lets you adjust the height of your laptop display and the construction of the unit is solid (we were able to move the plastic sleeves back and forth and the plastic did not creak or seem like it would break easily.) Per the instructions we plugged the AC adaptor into the back and connected the USB cable to our laptop running Windows XP Pro SP2. Windows did “its thing” and recognized a “Generic USB 2.0 Hub” and away we went. (In our version of Windows XP, the drivers needed are a part of the operating system – no extra drivers needed to be loaded to make the Laptop Desktop work! Woo hoo!)
REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
Once installed (we only had one minor glitch during install which we will cover in a bit) we connected our USB hard drives, mouse and keyboard to the Laptop Desktop and ran a few performance tests:
Copying a 1.5GB file from an external USB HD to the Laptop hard drive: 3 minutes, 15 seconds
Copying a 1.5GB file from an external USB HD to another external USB HD (both connected via the Laptop Desktop): 3 minutes, 23 seconds
Some other nice features of this unit? It has a swiveling base (pure genius that) and a built-in Copy Holder on the front. We left our laptop in the dock overnight and did not experience any heat issues, our laptop felt just as warm as it does when we leave it on overnight propped up on our desk.

What Could Be Improved?

If Kensington were to ask us (and they did) we would change just three things about the Laptop Desktop:
First, we would include the “2.0″ in USB in the name. The full name of the product on the Kensington website is “Laptop Desktop USB” which instantly made us wonder if it was a USB 2.0 device or not. The Laptop Desktop IS USB 2.0 and it handles the faster USB spec quite well as our tests demonstrate. The inclusion of “2.0″ in the name would eliminate any doubt of the speed of the USB hub.
Secondly, we ran into one little glitch during the install. We followed the installation instructions to the letter – we slid the laptop in, positioned the height, connected our USB keyboard, mouse, and accessories to the hub, and connected the USB cable on the unit to our laptop’s USB port. Windows then promptly informed us of the new hardware, but guess what – we were unable to use the newly attached external keyboard and mouse because Windows hadn’t installed them yet. With the laptop slid into the dock, we could also not access the touchpad or keyboard to continue with the installation. This meant we had to remove our laptop from the dock, precariously hold it and click on the prompts using our touchpad to continue with the installation of the new hardware. The USB cable on the Laptop Desktop is long enough to be connected to the USB port on your laptop prior to sliding the laptop into the dock sleeve – with a few minor enhancements to their instructions, this installation problem could be easily eliminated.
We also tested the Laptop Desktop with our 17″ G4 PowerBook running Mac OS X version 10.3.5, and did not run into the same installation problem – keyboard, mouse, and accessories were instantly recognized with no prompts. (Steve Jobs, we love you and we love Apple too. Smootchie wootchies!!)
Thirdly, why include only 4 USB ports? After we connected our mouse, keyboard, and a few accessories, our USB ports were full. We would suggest offering an 8 port version for power users out there who have USB Bluetooth, two USB memory sticks, USB hard drives, USB input devices, USB InfraRed Dongle, USB PDA Cradle, etc. We could easily fill 8 USB ports and we dare to wager we aren’t the only ones.
The Laptop Desktop is a fantastic idea and a well-designed universal dock. We think it’s the best docking solution for those of you (like us) that use a laptop on a regular basis for long periods of time.
REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station
REVIEW: Kensington Laptop Desktop USB 2.0 Docking Station

Buy the Kensington Laptop Desktop USB at Kensington.com

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One Comment »

  1. Patrick October 25, 2004 at 7:16 am - Reply

    Does anyone know how this laptop stand compares with the one from Sherpaq called the Oyster (http://www.sherpaq.com/oyster_home.html)? The latter costs quite a bit more – I’ve seen it advertised for $150+ and Amazon had it for $99 for a while.

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