Back-to-School Twofer: Kensington Notebook Expansion Dock and Ci600 Wireless Mouse ReviewedS

Listen up you dorm rats; I know you are coming back. I see you walking in flocks around my beloved town and overcrowding the good restaurants. With campuses around the nation getting loaded up with Wi-Fi internet access it is pretty important to have a notebook to keep you entertained in class with Facebook, Myspace and online poker. But taking the notebook back into your 5-foot by 5-foot dorm and plugging everything back in is a pain in the ass, so Kensington has the perfect solution for you with their Notebook Expansion Dock with Video. Hit the jump for the review along with a review of the Ci60 Wireless Optical Mouse.

The Notebook Expansion Dock with Video from Kensington is the perfect solution for anyone who lives off their laptop. One of the biggest perks is that it has video output, therefore a perfect candidate for my Dell Inspiron 700m with a measly 12-inch display.

Back-to-School Twofer: Kensington Notebook Expansion Dock and Ci600 Wireless Mouse Reviewed

The dock is roughly 10 inches long and has expansion for 1 ethernet port, 1 VGA display, 4 USB ports, 1 microphone port and 1 speaker port. It is powered by an AC adapter and connects to the laptop with a single USB connection. The form of the dock is built to actually elevate the laptop. There is a piece of gripping material on the topside of the dock that held my laptop in place.

Back-to-School Twofer: Kensington Notebook Expansion Dock and Ci600 Wireless Mouse Reviewed

As you can see from the above picture, I loaded up the dock with devices and began playing. I had it plugged into the network, going out to an LCD display, had a headset plugged into the audio and had a keyboard, Kensington Ci60 wireless mouse, SanDisk Titanium Cruzer and an iPod dock plugged into the device.

After the initial driver installation from Kensington, all of the plugged in devices worked seamlessly. Windows would discover a new device and install the drivers for it, this was only done the first time new devices were plugged in. The display also worked well. It supports resolution up to 1280 x 1024 in 24-bit color. I tried watching movies and they played back fine without any kind of lag frame skipping.

This dock did the job it was built to do. And it is universal, to boot. No need to order a custom dock for your laptop, all you need I a USB port. It does carry a bit of a high price tag ($180), but it may be worth it if you take your laptop goes everywhere with you.

Verdict: Get's the job done.
Product page [Kensington]

Kensington Ci60 Optical Wireless Mouse

Back-to-School Twofer: Kensington Notebook Expansion Dock and Ci600 Wireless Mouse Reviewed

Along with the Notebook Expansion Dock, I gave Kensington's latest wireless optical mouse a test run. This mouse optical mouse operates off of two AA batteries and communicates with a dongle-sized USB adapter. It has five buttons and a scroll wheel.

Surprisingly it had a quick response time, even wirelessly. Kensington said this is due to the QuickRF wireless technology. During my tests it had a wireless range of 4-6 feet, which is pretty unfortunate. But the QuickRF technology kept the mouse responding quickly all the way until it went out of range and stopped completely.

Also included in this mouse is "Diamond Eye Precision" technology. I'm not sure really what that means, but I guess I didn't do enough intense mousing to notice it. Preceision and accuracy was pretty average or below average. Maybe I was just not used to the quick RF response and "over-moused" my target.

The mouse fit the hand nicely and has soft honeycomb-style grips on the sides. The five buttons are programmable via Kensington's MouseWorks software. Overall the mouse was a bit to lightweight for my likings, but that preference just depends on the person. This mouse retails for $30, which isn't too bad for a decent wireless mouse.

Verdict: It's aight. Good wireless response time, but would like to see better range.

Product Page [Kensington]