Subject: General Tech | August 21, 2014 - 08:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tablet, Surface Pro 3, peripherals, microsoft, docking station, dock
Earlier this year, Microsoft took the wraps off of its latest Surface tablet: the Surface Pro 3. The new tablet comes with several peripherals including a keyboard, stylus, and a docking station that was recently made available for purchase from the Microsoft Store for $199.99.
The docking station measures 12.9" x 3.8" x 4.4" and weighs 1.43 pounds. It acts as a stand for the Surface tablet and adds a number of full sized ports. Specifically, the dock includes the following I/O options.
- 3 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort
- 1 x 3.5mm audio jack
The docking station also has a security lock slot and power input port. Speaking of power, it is driven by a 48W power supply which Microsoft says provides ample power for charging the Surface Pro 3 and any USB attached devices.
With the dock in play, the Surface Pro 3 becomes much more business and productivity focused and may well replace desktops in some shops as supporting one device per worker should be bother easier and cheaper than supplying and supporting a desktop and laptop (and possibly a tablet). Users can attach up to two external displays by utilizing the daisy chaining feature and the single mini DisplayPort output. In total, users will have access to six USB ports (five on the dock and one available on the tablet itself).
The Surface Pro 3 Docking Station is available now from the Microsoft Store and retailers with a MSRP of $199.99.
The price does seem a bit steep, but is in line with other Surface accessories and is not likely to get much cheaper any time soon. Will you be picking up a dock for your Surface?
Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2013 - 04:00 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: wireless dock, wigig, dock, dell, computing, 802.11ad
Dell has launched a new docking station for its laptops. In an interesting twist, the dock connects to the computer over an 802.11ad “WiGig” link to provide up to 7Gbps bandwidth between the dock and laptop. The Dell Wireless D5000 docking station supports multi-display, USB 3.0, and audio output. According to Dell, it is the worlds first commercially available wireless dock.
The Wireless D5000 dock pairs with Dell's 1601 WiGig card, which is currently only available with Dell's Latitude 6430u laptop. Pairing is a simple matter of hitting the pairing button and hitting connect in Dell's Connection Manager software. A single USB 3.0 port and headphone jack are also available on the front of the device.
Rear IO on the Dell Wireless D5000 dock includes DC power jack, Ethernet jack, two USB 3.0 ports, a single HDMI port, and one DisplayPort output. Additionally, the D5000 uses a WiGig radio to provide the connectivitiy over a wireless link. WiGig, or 802.11ad, uses the 60GHz wireless spectrum to provide high bandwidth at short distances. The chip Dell is using in the dock is capable of falling back to 2.4GHz or 5GHz bands–you can expect significantly slower speeds in that situation though. You will be able to take your computer with you, set it on the desk and have two desktop monitors, a wired network connection, and USB 3.0 ports. Not bad, though Justin Kerr over at Maximum PC notes that wireless power for charging your laptop would have really ratcheted-up the dock's usefulness.
In terms of connectivity, there is nothing especially new here that Thunderbolt docks are not already providing (aside from the wireless nature, of course). I say this because the Dell D5000 dock's pricing is in line with many of the Thunderbolt options. If you can stand a wired connection to the dock and your laptop/ultrabook has a Thunderbolt port, you could grab a dock with similar port options, higher theoretical bandwith, and a Thunderbolt passthrough. The Dell D5000 is available for $270 at Dell's online store, but it is reportedly cheaper if purchased with the Dell Latitude 6430U laptop. In that scenario, the wireless dock is only $190 (which is, admittedly, pretty good even against Thunderbolt docks).
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 3, 2012 - 08:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: computex, thunderbolt, Matrox, macbook, dock, apple
Matrox has recently launched a new Thunderbolt dock aimed at adding desktop peripherals to Apple Macbooks and Ultrabooks. The dock connects via a single Thunderbolt cable (it does require a separate power source as well) and provides one USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a DVI video output, audio in/out jacks, and a Gigabit LAN port. It will be available for purchase in September with an MSRP of $249 USD.
Matrox has released a new laptop dock called the Matrox DS1 that is designed to pair with Thunderbolt-equipped notebooks and provide several additional connectivity options. The aluminum chassis is reminiscent of a slimmer WD My Book drive because of the book like shape. The front of the DS1 dock is a Thunderbolt input and status LED. On the back of the dock is a DVI output, three USB ports (one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0), microphone input, headphone output, and a Gigabit LAN port. To the far right is a DC power input which means that the dock is a bit less portable than I would like but it is not clear how big of a “wall wart” it will come with.
The company has stated that the aluminum case should protect the dock in just about every use case, and the additional IO certainly adds much needed connectivity to Ultrabooks where available ports are at a premium. Senior Director of Sales and Marketing for Matrox, Alberto Cieri, has been quoted by Apple Insider in stating “The new Matrox DS1 docking station easily enables the creation of an ergonomic workspace and brings much-needed expandability for printers, scanners, storage, smartphones, optical drives, cameras, flash drives, and other peripherals.”
The Matrox DS1 will be shown off at Computex 2012 this week in Taipei, Taiwan at Intel’s booth (M0410 in the Nangang Exhibition Hall). After that, it will be shown off at WWDC in San Fransico and Infocomm in Las Vegas on June 12th and June 13th to June 15th respectively. In September of this year it will be available for purchase with an MSRP of $249 USD.
Situations like this are where Thunderbolt really shines, and I would not be surprised to see companies outfitting employees with Ultrabooks for mobile use and a larger monitor and peripherals for in-office use (eschewing a separate desktop machine altogether). The price, especially considering Thunderbolt cables themselves are expensive is going to be the most limiting factor for docks like these despite their usefulness.
Editor's Note: Although Tim didn't mention it, one kind of interesting drawback is that this device does NOT include a Thunderbolt pass through, basically preventing users from taking advantage of the daisy-chain capability TB can offer via a single port / connections on the laptop or computer.
StarTech has always had a rather large line of external USB and eSATA HDD docks, but up until now most have been limited to SATA connectivity. Now they have released a dock that's able to connect to IDE hard drives as well! It pulls off this trick by including a short IDE ribbon cable that can connect to the back of the unit (see pic below).
Introduction, Design, User Interface
Late in December of 2011 we received the Transformer Prime for review. What we did not recieve, however, was the keyboard dock. High demand by journalists for a look at the company's latest and greatest Transformer had left them short of docks, in turn leaving us short of a dock.
Now we've finally had our hands on one. Since it was shipped to us several weeks after the review Prime, we were able to give it our full attention. As with the original Transformer, the dock is one of the features that help the Prime stand out from the crowd - but that doesn't mean it is automatically destined for greatness. If the Prime wants to act like a laptop, it will have to be able to compete with laptops - and that's a tall order for a system without Windows or an x86 processor.
Besides a keyboard, the dock adds a few other specifications that are worth mentioning. Let's take a look at them.
So, as with the previous dock, you’re not just buying a keyboard. You’re also receiving an extended battery with impressive capacity and some additional connectivity. Given the MSRP of $150, however, you’d kind of expect there to be more than just a keyboard.
Introduction and Design
Tablets may be the darling of the tech industry, but they’ve also received their fair share of criticism as well. One of the most consistent barbs throw towards them is the tablet’s inability to serve as a competent platform for content creature. While it’s technically possible to write a document or edit an image on a tablet, it’s certainly not enjoyable.
Part of the problem is the lack of a keyboard and mouse. Touchscreens are beautiful and intuitive, but they’re not precise. While third-party cases and docks have tried to solve this issue, they’re often both clunky and expensive.
It’s little surprise that a tablet designed specifically to work in conjunction with a keyboard dock has hit the market, but it is surprising that the first such device comes from ASUS, a company with relatively little experience building mobile products. The Eee Pad Transformer is already the second-best selling tablet on the market (after the iPad, of course) and reports indicate sales are constrained by supply rather than demand. What is it that has made the Transformer a quick success?
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