Ep.049 – Kensington sd200v

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gadgetEpisode 049 – Dock It! :: The Kensington sd200v

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Looking like a micro-mini-tower, the sd200v is designed to give your notebook docking capabilities even if it does not have a dedicated docking station. It does this by connecting to your computer via a USB 2.0 port.

Essentially, the sd200v is a USB 2.0 hub with several components integrated into a single device.

It has 5 USB 2.0 ports — 4 in the back, and one at the front of the unit. It also has microphone in and stereo out ports for audio, as well as a single VGA port for video.

The video on the sd200v is powered by DisplayLink technology. You may remember DisplayLink from our CES coverage and review in episode 41 of ‘gadget’ — DisplayLink technology enables high-quality and high-framerate video over USB. — enough to show full-motion video over a single USB 2.0 connection.

On the Kensington sd200v, the DisplayLink chipset enables users to display up to 1440×1050 widescreen with full video support.

Setting up the sd200v is quite simple::: install the drivers, and plug in the device. The Kensington software was intuitive and simple to setup. It’s hot-swap enabled, so you are not forced to reboot or shut down when docking and undocking your system.

In our tests, the sd200v worked flawlessly and the driver support seemed very mature. When we plugged in the device, we were instantly rewarded with a second display, USB connectivity to our external keyboard and mouse, network connectivity through a connected USB-Ethernet adapter, and audio that was automatically switched to make the external sound card the primary device.

Undocking the sd200v undid all the changes without having to restart or change configuration.

Audio on the sd200v was crisp and clear, and video was sharp and smooth when displaying images or video.

One of the nice touches added by the Kensington engineers was a DualView Switch built into the front of the unit. Pressing this button automatically switches the sd200v between clone view and extended desktop view — very useful for those who want to use the sd200v for mobile presentations.

At the moment the sd200v works only with Windows XP and Vista, but I’m sure that Mac drivers are not too far in the future should the demand arise.

The sd200v is backed by Kensington’s 2-year warranty and is available now online for $100-$110.

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